JON SMITH – Chairman
Jon is one of the UK’s most successful and well-known sport influencers. During his time in the industry he has been the agent for the entire England national football team, developed the Team England vehicle that the FA still uses to this day and was tasked with introducing American favourites NBA, NFL, NHL and others to this country.
A charity patron and former CEO of a London Stock Exchange company, Jon has worked with many sporting superstars including Diego Maradona and Lord Sebastian Coe. He was also the chairman of the London Monarchs during their inaugural World Bowl winning season.
In his role as a promoter, in the past Jon has promoted Mikhail Gorbachev’s UK Lecture Tour and a host of other major events both in the UK and in the USA
He once owned the largest theatre marketing business in New York and London, and his autobiography, The Deal, topped the ratings as number 1 best-seller in both soft and hardback formats.
PHIL SMITH – COO
One of the most experienced agents in world football, Phil was a former co-owner of First Artist and is widely considered one of the most well-connected people in the industry.
In a career spanning more than thirty years, Phil has been involved in countless multi-million pound transfers and remains one of the most-trusted names in the sport, by players, managers and owners alike. Phil prides himself in knowing everything about his clients and their needs, and works closely with them in all aspects of their development.
Aside from football player representation, Phil is highly experienced in all forms of football consultancy and also specialises in other services such as arranging friendlies, tournaments and pre-season tours.
Phil started his career in the music industry and was Head of Promotion of several agencies, before launching his own label, Double Impact, where he worked regularly with the likes of Simon Cowell and Pete Waterman.
ROB JONES – Financial Director
Rob is a fully qualified chartered accountant with the ACCA and AAT. He is a skilled Senior Financial Management Professional with excellent experience gained managing the finance of large global organisations and SME types of businesses. He is highly focused in the development of financial services and controls, utilising technology and leveraging country specific taxation regulations to optimise returns.
He has been responsible for successfully introducing structured control and operational management, defining corporate strategies, establishing and managing complex financial departments. He has written articles for the Association of Accounting Technicians and featured in their November 2015 Magazine.
He is also a Mentor for the Business Growth Hub in helping small business owners with their fundraising and financial planning. He also mentors AAT students at the FutureSkills College in Media City and speaks at the KPMG annual graduate program meeting in promoting the AAT qualification.
In addition to being a Finance Director and Business Owner, Rob is a session drummer and performs with bands live and in recording studios.
BEN HORTOP – Commercial Director
Ben has spent of 20 years at either end of professional sport, as business owner of a Sport & Business consultancy and a qualified PGA Golf Professional. He helped raise sponsorship for the likes of Justin Rose and Nick Dougherty among others, and ran events at all the Golfing Majors between 2000-2009.
He has since specialised in raising finance in the start-up / SME space. Successfully structuring & raising multi-millions via the government backed SEIS & EIS schemes, clients include Bobby Moore the Movie, one of the UK’s largest Start-Up Funds, Children’s animation projects, Automotive Social Networks and a Family education business among others.
This has been conducted alongside raising private equity, loan & debt finance and utilising a select few of the many crowdfunding platforms that exist.
Ben continues to be a fully qualified golf professional, helping run a series of high profile Celebrity & Charity Golf Days for Help4Heroes, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and TreeAID.
ZHENG ZHANG – Finance
Having spent a decade in the financial industry in her native China, Zheng graduated from Exeter University in MSC Finance and Investment in 2010 and has since worked at several global organisations both in the UK and abroad. Most recently, she managed the financial department of China Beijing Bioengineering & Pharmaceutical Industrial Park (CBP), a State-owned company in China, and before that at BDO over here in the UK.
She started her career at fashion outlet Uniqlo, after graduating from Renmin University of China in accounting, before taking up the role at Bensa Ltd in the accounting department.