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29th July 2019


Nicola Arrow, head of food category management, Maria Franklin, head of HR business partnering, Amelia Cree, head of marketing (Pubs and Bars), Sharon Singh, head of operations (Pubs and Bars)

The first WeQual awards have been launched this year to recognise women one level below Executive Committee in FTSE 350 companies.

Helping to drive equality in the hospitality industry, Marston’s has seen four of its female senior managers named as finalists in the first ever WeQual Awards, recognising the contribution that women make at ‘ExCo minus one’ levels in businesses and aimed at tackling slow progress in appointing women in FTSE 100 and 250.

The four Midland based finalists all work in senior management roles across different areas of the FTSE 350 business and include:

Nicola Arrow, head of food category management

Sharon Singh, head of operations (Pubs and Bars)

Amelia Cree, head of marketing (Pubs and Bars)

Maria Franklin, head of HR business partnering

Combined, the Marston’s finalists oversee; 1,000 pubs and 12,500 employees across the UK.

Maria Franklin, Head of HR Business Partnering, said: “It is such an honour to be named alongside three of my colleagues as finalists in the WeQual awards. This is a great opportunity to be at the forefront of change and I am so proud to be standing amongst some amazing women doing incredible things in business.”

Ralph Findlay, CEO of Marston’s added: “Marston’s has always strived to push the boundaries in not only business but also in cultural change. We are really proud to be one of two companies to have four finalists – that is a real testament to the work and commitment shown by Nicola, Maria, Sharon and Amelia and I wish them all the luck at the awards.”

Judged against six attributes: drive, leadership, integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability and knowledge of the business, the finalists have shown not only a personal career commitment but also an invested interest to grow the representation of women at executive level. Their entries were also marked blind with no name or company revealed.

As revealed by the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review, the need for change is still apparent as despite growing calls for change, women still only represent 25% of the Combined Executive Committee and Direct Reports across the FTSE 250. A majority (60%) of new appointments to senior roles continues to be men*. Whilst the Review is a birds-eye view of the entire corporate industry, Marston’s continue to be one of the key drivers in the industry that champion the equality of women and are proud of where the company stands following ongoing internal reviews and a public deep analysis of Gender Pay Reporting.

The winners will be announced at the award’s dinner on the 26th September. Hosted by Sandi Toksvig OBE and with Dame Inga Beale as guest speaker the awards will host 300 senior executives and will be the first awards of its kind to be held.


Notes to editors


  • Marston’s is a leading pub operator and independent brewer.
  • It has an estate of 1,551 pubs situated nationally, comprising managed, franchised and leased pubs.
  • It is the UK’s leading brewer of premium cask and packaged ales, including Marston’s Pedigree, Wainwright, Lancaster Bomber and Hobgoblin. The beer portfolio also includes Banks’s, Jennings, Wychwood, Ringwood, Brakspear and Mansfield beers as well as a range of licensed brands including Young’s, Founders and Estrella Damm.
  • Marston’s employs around 14,500 people.

More information on Marston’s Gender Pay Reporting can be found –

*Hampton-Alexander Review, 2018

For more information on the finalists or for more information on Marston’s, please contact Lauren Hagan at Vital on or 01926 338811.


Founder and CEO, Katie Litchfield, launched the WeQual Awards to help aspiring women in business make that final step to the ExCo, and plans to bring the awards to other markets.

Having worked alongside FTSE 100 senior leaders throughout her 18-year career at the Financial Times, Katie has witnessed first-hand the challenges companies are facing in developing people into senior roles.

The WeQual Awards have been created to identify and recognise world-class female executives one level below the executive committees (ExCo) in businesses across the FTSE.

The awards aim to go further than current targets for female representation at the top of businesses, driving a change in the ExCo appointment rate from 30% to 50% women, recognising women reporting into the Executive Committee and proving to the business world that they can make at least as important a contribution as the man next to them.

WeQual Award Judges:

Dame Inga Beale, Former CEO, Lloyd’s of London*

Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK*

Charlotte Hogg, Chief Executive Officer, Visa Europe*

Rita Clifton CBE, Chairman, BrandCap and NED of Nationwide, ASOS & Ascential plc

Maria da Cunha, Non-Executive Director, De La Rue and Royal Mail plc Amanda Cusdin, Chief People Officer, Sage

Yasmin Diamond, EVP Global Corporate Affairs, InterContinental Hotels Group

Sharon Doherty, Chief People Officer, Finastra

Peter Flavel, Chief Executive, Coutts

Sarah Gregory, Inclusion & Diversity Partner, Baker McKenzie

Rob Guyler, Chief Financial Officer, EDF Energy

Karen Hubbard, Chief Executive Officer, Card Factory

Rachael Legg, Group Chief Procurement Officer, Johnson Matthey

Ron Kalifa OBE, Vice Chairman, Worldpay*

Shahzad Saleem, CEO, Cost Transformation Consultancy

Dame Cilla Snowball, Former CEO & Chair of AMV BBDO and Chair, Women’s Business Council*

Allyson Stewart-Allen, Chief Executive, International Marketing Partners Ltd

Roger Whiteside OBE, Chief Executive, Greggs

(* member of the WeQual Advisory Board)