"Individuals can do and make a difference, but it takes a team to really get things moving"
Charles William Holroyd CBE
Bill joined the Board as Chairman in 2015, and acts as the highest company representative in all financial and business matters. He is responsible for the smooth management and running of the company, and has a close business relationship with Andy Gatcliffe, which has spanned several years.
The first step in Bill’s career began when he took a step back from hotel management – which he had studied from a young age – to join the supply division within Trusthouse Forte. The move proved profitable for him, as Bill later went on to set up and run their national distribution network.
Now with the tools he needed to start out on his own, Bill left the business to set up his own foodservice distribution company, Holroyd Meek. From a standing start, by 1994 the company had a turnover of £190m – serving over 7,000 restaurants across the UK. In 1995 Booker acquired the company and Bill turned his hand to investment – starting up his own investment company.
Between 1995 and 2015 Bill made investments in over 20 start-up and second stage companies. Many household names, such as Millies Cookies, Positive Solutions, and AO World, were major success stories for him.
Outside of Sofology, Bill is passionate about improving social cultures and opportunities for young people. He is responsible for the growing and innovative charity, OnSide Youthzones – which provides fun, inspiring communities in a safe and exciting environment. Currently over 20,000 young people are regular users of the facilities – with more Youth Zones in the pipeline.
Bill has been awarded several titles in honour of his charity work. In 2013 he was declared CBE for his services to Young People in the North West; and in 2015 he became High Sheriff for Cheshire – his role officially confirmed by the Queen. Bill was also recently awarded a Beacon Fellowship for Philanthropy – as a result of the ongoing OnSide project.
Immersed in the business for over twenty years, CEO Jason Tyldesley is the embodiment of the Sofology brand. At a young age, he joined the family business – formally CS Lounge Suites – where he had spent much of his time growing up; involved in the delivery, sales and manufacturing of furniture.
Jason integrated fast. He started on the build of bespoke software systems, and took the reins at just 24 as MD – and later, as CEO. In the period since, Jason has taken the business nationally, with 33 retail stores to date, and more growth in the pipeline. The business has gone through many exciting changes and developments, becoming Sofology in early 2016.
Under Jason’s innovative and creative influence as CEO, the business has set the bar for the industry. We were the first to implement tablet and iPad based ‘on-the-sofa’ sales transactions, and the first to remove ‘sale-ends-Sunday’ deadlines – in favour of a more honest and transparent pricing policy. We were the first to end commission-based sales teams – instead focusing on the learning and development of our teams, for a more relaxed customer experience and an empowered customer choice.
In 2010, Jason was invited into Insider Magazine’s ‘42 under 42’ – the same year the business was announced Runner Up in the Northwest Business of the Year Awards. Jason also took the brave step of going head-to-head with Mary Portas, and allowed the cameras into our stores for Channels 4’s Secret Shopper – confident in our relaxed and no-pressure sales environment.
Jason has two children, and lives with his partner Sophie. He is a qualified helicopter pilot and formation skydiver, and enjoys water skiing, karting and motor racing. He joins Sophie and the family on the snow, enjoying a ski break whenever possible.
Andy joined the Board in 2015 and manages high level financial matters within the business. He is a trusted presence within the financial world, and has managed the books of many large and successful companies in his career; including Burger King, pub group Pernickety and Gray Dunn biscuit manufacturers – alongside business partner Bill Holroyd.
Andy spent 16 years at Cadbury Schweppes – before the company later demerged in 2008 – formerly within the Catering Services Division and latterly the Retail Division as National Account Manager. He later went on to join Bill Holroyd at Holroyd Meek Ltd – a food distribution company based in Oldham, as Sales & Marketing Director. The business went on to sell to Booker plc, where Andy remained for a further 2 years.
Andy was well loved during his 15 years at the top of Warrington Wolves RLFC. He was appointed CEO of the club in 2000, and has since been hailed as a great sporting entrepreneur – moving the club from close to relegation, to a major force in the world of rugby league.
Andy went on to re-join the business partnership with Bill Holroyd in 2015. Outside of Sofology, Andy has a passion for Holroyd’s fresh and innovative charity, OnSide Youthzone. He is fundamental to the growth and development of this project, and is steaming ahead with a goal to deliver 20 youth zones within the UK by 2020. With his wealth of experience, we are privileged to have him on board.
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer
Mark is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has a BA (Hons) in Management. He joined the Board in November 2014 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was promoted to a combined role of Chief Operating Office / Chief Financial Officer in October 2015.
As CFO Mark is responsible for the financial affairs and performance of the company, ensuring appropriate financial controls are in place and that all departments are adding value and performing in line with the strategic plan. He also manages external relationships with our shareholders and the bank, keeping them informed on the company’s performance. He is also responsible for the commercial relationships and has been instrumental in driving forward the profitability of the business. Following nomination by Lloyds Bank, Mark’s success was recognised in 2015 when he won both Young Finance Director of the Year and Large Company Finance Director of the Year at the North West Finance Awards.
In Mark’s broader role as Chief Operating Officer he is responsible for ensuring all the key operating departments across Retail, Warehousing, Logistics, Customer Service, Merchandising and Property operate collaboratively and in the most effective and efficient way to ensure the business delivers an exceptional experience to the customer at every touch point.
Outside of Sofology, Mark enjoys investing in property and the stock market – he is also Non Executive Director and shareholder at Compare52, a mobile technology business based in Manchester. Mark loves spending time with his family and two young children. To relax he spends his time swimming or playing golf, badminton and squash. He is also a season ticket holder at Everton Football Club.
Aly is a Fellow Member of the CIPD and joined the Board in 2012. She is responsible for driving and developing a people strategy in conjunction with our business goals – and to make Sofology a great place to work. During Aly’s time on the Board, Sofology has been named ‘Ones to Watch’ in the Sunday Times Best Companies consensus, and received a ‘Gold Standard’ in employee engagement. Aly is passionate about people. She heads up the People Team, who attract new talent into the Sofology family; and in turn inspires and develops each Sofologist to achieve our business goals.
When she’s not inspiring Sofologists, Aly has a keen interest in mentoring young school leavers, embarking in the world of work. She is a volunteer for nationwide school and college organisation, Inspiring the Future; and is a well-respected keynote speaker and HR blogger, having presented at a variety of conferences – including the CIPD – across the UK. Aly is also a North West Employee Engagement ambassador, championing the North West as the best place to work in the UK, and has been selected to Judge the Employee Experience Awards 2016.
Chief Technical Officer
Jon joined the Board as CTO in 2015, and is responsible for the company’s network, software and data services. This involves leading 3 teams in software development of approximately 35 people.
Jon leads the team with an Agile strategy – using lean techniques and encouraging self-development, continuous improvement and delivery of quality products.
In his early career, Jon trained in a number of technology and programming areas; and holds qualifications in Managing Successful Programmes, PRINCE 2 Practitioner, Microsoft Certified Practitioner, NLP Coach Practitioner and also holds a HNC in Business Information Technology.
Jon enjoys the problem solving aspect of digital programming, which he used to develop intuitive, bespoke enterprise systems at Time Technology, shortly after leaving education. He then went on to work for Carcraft, and spent 8 years immersed in software development – and was consequently involved in the formation of We Buy Any Car.com, which set the standard in internet retailing for cars.
Outside of the office, Jon is a keen runner, and trains at his local club in Clayton-Le-Moors – keen to challenge himself by tackling a marathon or triathlon whenever possible. He keeps his mind active too, and has a particular interest in business audiobooks which help develop his skills on his daily commute.
Joe joined the Board in 2016 and is responsible for the planning and management of the company’s budgets and financial matters. He has a fundamental role within the business, and is key to our financial strategy – supporting the growth of the company and maximising shareholder value.
Joe is a trusted member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and obtained his qualification through the TOPP’s scheme, which operated between Saga and PwC.
As part of his career, Joe has been crucial to the development of a number of new business ventures. He’s been able to share his experience using innovative business mentoring, and has allowed a number of start-up businesses to reach their potential.
Before Sofology, Joe worked in senior finance and commercial roles within Capita Plc. He holds a Bsc. from the University of Leeds, which held him in good stead to improve the financial position of a number of private equity backed businesses – such as Phones 4U and Saga.
Outside of the office, Joe keeps himself busy supporting his wife and two children.
Customer Experience Manager
Roxy joined Sofology in 2006, as a part time sales administrator. She soon went on to develop her role and made the transition to sales assistant in 2009 – becoming a key player in two of the north-west stores.
After a positive year, Roxy joined the management programme, where she developed her skills as a people manager. She was extremely successful within this programme, signing off at our Stoke store within six months.
From there, Roxy managed a number of stores – her most successful being in Speke, Liverpool – where she built a highly motivated and fully engaged team. Roxy then moved to support the opening of our Solihull branch, during the company’s nationwide expansion.
Inspired by her own potential, Roxy relocated to Slough in 2013, where she opened her own store and recruited a brand new team. The store was a great success, and after eight months, Roxy made the move to other stores in the south, in a bid to enforce the brand values and inspire other Sofologists.
After taking some time out to start a family, Roxy continued her career at Head Office in Warrington – joining the customer service team and embedding the company values. With the support of the CEO, Roxy was given the opportunity to manage customer services in 2015.
The customer service department has since undergone a huge transition; and Roxy has created a stronger team by promoting within and searching the talent pool for exciting new faces. Customer services now includes almost 98% new recruits – who bring a new lease of life into the office.
The drive, passion, and determination Roxy has for Sofology, means that we have already achieved a long list of great things – and will continue to achieve many more. Outside of the office, Roxy enjoys keeping fit and spending time with her family.