Our Team

We have brought together talent from across the travel, food and other complimentary industries to deliver world-leading operational and business excellence.

From our operations managers on the ground to our board directors, our management includes some of the most experienced specialists in the business; a team of true food travel experts.

Simon Smith CEO - SSP UK & Ireland

Simon joins SSP as CEO of the UK and Ireland region. Previously, Simon was managing director of WHSmith’s Travel division and has over 20 years of experience in retail.

He began his career with Fenwicks before moving to Allders Department Stores and then Safeway, where he worked in both commercial and marketing roles. Simon joined the travel division of WHSmith in 2004 as trading director before being promoted to chief operating officer and, more recently, managing director. During his tenure, WHSmith Travel doubled the number of its stores and sales for the division grew to £460 million as a result of openings in new channels, and the development of the franchise model in the UK and overseas.

Simon holds a degree from Leeds Metropolitan University Business School.

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Mark Rainbow Chief Operations Officer - SSP UK

Mark joined SSP in 2004, working in Group Finance, and was heavily involved in the sale of SSP from Compass to EQT. In October 2008, he was appointed as Chief Financial Officer for the UK business, including Rail Gourmet. In more recent years, Mark took control of IT, where he spearheaded the move to Micros tills which has been successfully rolled out across the business, allowing us to better report and understand our trading patterns.

In September 2012, Mark was appointed the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of all our operational divisions. As a member of the UK Board, Mark has been heavily involved in the UK strategy, securing new business across all locations through a detailed knowledge of each site and unit we run.

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Lucy Knowles Chief Marketing Officer

Lucy joined SSP UK on May 2013 as Chief Marketing Officer to oversee the development of SSP’s brands, playing a significant role in implementing the company’s long-term strategic plan, including developing new products, acquisitions and joint ventures and other growth initiatives.

She joined from Corney & Barrow Bars where she was Managing Director, and where she started her career as a general manager of one of their flagship bars, quickly working her way up through the business in operational roles before becoming MD there in 2003.

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Julie Holdaway HR Director – SSP UK

After catering college Julie started her career in hotels working in food and beverage service. In 1993 she joined Compass Group working for SSP in the UK. Since then Julie has held numerous roles within the UK and Group. In 1999 she became HR Director for the UK business. Around the time of the sale of SSP in 2005 Julie joined the Group HR team and was responsible for setting up new reward and benefit programmes for managers and the talent management of the senior executives across the Group.

In 2008 Julie returned to the UK as HR Director. In 2010 she established the UK Internal Communications department and set up the Operational Support Services function comprising of the Operational Excellence Team, Fire, Health and Safety and more recently the Commercial Process.

During her time with SSP, Julie has been a key player in all major organisation structure changes and led the HR team in the design and implementation of many key people initiatives including: HR Advisory Line, ON-line learning solutions, Apprenticeship programme, On-line Resourcing, Celebrate! SSP UK’s employee recognition platform.

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Andy Webb Business Development Director

Andy joined SSP in March 2013. He previously enjoyed four years with Compass Group as the Business Director in Healthcare, with the challenge of growing Compass’ food and services presence in the senior living market and acute care sector. He also worked for LA Fitness as Commercial Director and a Board member driving the development and progression of a high profile £120m turnover business.

Andy has a Degree in English and History and a Certificate in Management Studies from the University of Bedfordshire.

Away from the office, Andy is a keen sportsman a cyclist, windsurfer and snowboarder.

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Angela Morrison UK Commercial Director

Angela joined SSP UK and Ireland as Trading Director in July 2013 with the remit to commercialise marketing focussing on generating value from pricing, promotions and range. Angela was promoted to UK Marketing Director in May 2014 adding responsibility for all UK brands.

Angela joined SSP from PizzaExpress where she was Commercial Director and prior to that was Commercial Director for Greene King PLC Locals Managed Estate.

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Luke Tait Chief Financial Officer - SSP UK

Luke has been with SSP since 2004. He joined the Compass Group Strategy and Development Team in 2001 and then became SSP Group Development Director in 2004. After 2 years in this role, Luke moved to the USA to be CFO of SSP America and support its integration into SSP. Luke returned to the UK in 2009 when he rejoined the Group Finance team.

Luke was responsible for managing the Investment Committee where larger projects are reviewed and authorised, and post-investment reviews conducted to assess the performance of investments. He has been instrumental in various mergers and acquisitions, such as the sale of Harry Ramsden’s and O’Learys.

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Skilled in understanding global food and travel trends and adapting them to distinctive UK and Ireland local market needs .


Developing talented people is an essential part of being the Food Travel Experts .

Recruitment Centre

© SSP Group plc The Food Travel Experts 2008 - 2016