Skip to main content

Meet the Board

Amanda Cottrell OBE, Patron, Visit Kent

Amanda was educated in this country and in Europe, followed by the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. Her early career was as an artist, working for Walt Disney briefly in California! She married in 1967 and moved to Challock in Kent. During the next twenty years, as well as working as an artist and farming, she brought up her four children. Amanda was widowed in 1996, and now has ten grandchildren. She was made High Sheriff of Kent in 2006 and was awarded the OBE for services to Kent in 2011. Amanda was a magistrate for 23 years, as well as Chairman of her Parish Council. She holds an Honorary Fellowship of Canterbury Christ Church University and an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from the University of Kent. She also served for three years as a Director of VisitEngland.

Patron of Visit Kent, Amanda Cottrell is a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, a Kent Ambassador as well as a Trustee of Canterbury Cathedral and the Godinton House Preservation Trust. She is Chairman of both the Diocese of Canterbury Communities and Partnerships Framework and the Churches Working Together Partnership. Amanda is Patron of Produced in Kent and the Caldecott Foundation, co-Patron of the Strode Park Foundation and of the Maidstone Museum as well as the Director of a small bus company which serves the rural areas of Kent. She is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, and a Freeman of the City of London and the City of Canterbury. She is also Patron of the Ellenor Foundation and a Medway Champion.

Amanda has worked closely over many years with the rural and agricultural sector in Kent, and this remains extremely important to her.

Adam Bryan, Director of Place, Medway Council

Adam joined Medway Council on 14 August 2023, becoming the Director of Place, having been the Chief Executive at the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, overseeing significant regeneration projects across the region. Adam has previous experience working in regional development and in Local Government, having held a number of roles at Essex County Council, including the Head of Place Partnership Integration.

Adam studied a degree in German at University of Nottingham, has a Masters in Management from the Nottingham Business School and is a committed Nottingham Forest fan. Adam also enjoys cricket and exploring the UK on family holidays with their dog.

As Director of Place, Adam Bryan has responsibility for Frontline Services, Culture and Community and Regeneration.

The Directorate’s aim is to establish Medway as a great place to live, to work, to learn and to visit, drawing on our rich heritage to deliver a great future for Medway.​​​​​​ Adam is a Board Member for Locate in Kent, Visit Kent, Kent Chamber of Commerce and Medway Place Board.

Deirdre Wells OBE, Chief Executive, Visit Kent

Deirdre Wells OBE was appointed as CEO of Visit Kent in September 2018. Deirdre is also CEO of Go to Places, an organisation created by the company, to deliver services to partners outside, and in partnership with Kent, including setting up the new Destination Management Organisation Visit Hertfordshire, the Big Weekend and a number of national tourism projects under the Government’s Discover England Fund.  

Prior to her appointment to Visit Kent, Deirdre was Chief Executive of UKinbound, representing nearly 400 UK inbound tourism businesses. During her tenure at UKinbound, Deirdre was a passionate advocate on behalf of the industry on a broad range of issues including the impact of BREXIT,  Visas, Air Passenger Duty and skills.  

Deirdre joined UKinbound following 20 years in Government at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport working on a variety of high-profile projects including the Millennium Dome, Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Deirdre was awarded an OBE in 2007 in recognition of her work in leading the team behind the national memorial services for the UK victims of the 9/11 attacks, the Bali bombings, the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the London 7/7 attacks.

Appointed the Government’s Head of Tourism in 2010, Deirdre was instrumental in the delivery of the GREAT campaign – an ambitious and far-reaching marketing campaign aimed to help the world discover why Britain is such a great place to visit, study, work, invest, and do business.

Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover (Visit Kent Chair)

Appointed in January 2019, Doug is the CEO of the Port of Dover, the busiest port in Europe.  Prior to joining the Port of Dover, Doug was Group CEO for Ports of Jersey.

In addition to Ports of Jersey, Doug has had over 25 years’ experience in leading international businesses.  This experience included Managing Director of Maersk Line UK, as well as various executive roles managing shipping businesses in North America, Europe, Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Doug is skilled at turnaround, restructuring and transformation of capital intensive transportation businesses.

He holds an MBA in International Marketing (Seton Hall University, New Jersey 1997) and a B.A in Economics (St Lawrence University, New York 1988).  In 2016 Doug was awarded the Institute of Directors Jersey Director of the Year for large businesses.

Born in Summit, New Jersey, USA, Doug holds dual British and American citizenship. 

Jonathon Swaine, Managing Director (Pubs), Shepherd Neame

Jonathon joined Shepherd Neame in June 2022. He was Managing Director, Retail at the Rank Group Plc from 2019. Prior to that, he spent the majority of his career in the pub industry, initially at Bass from 1997, before joining Fuller, Smith and Turner plc in 2005. During his 14 years at Fuller’s he had various roles, latterly as Managing Director, Fuller’s Inns, (the largest division of Fuller’s) from 2012 to 2019, developing and growing the business significantly in that time. He is an Advisory Board Member at the UK’s leading fintech charity, Pennies.

John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, GetLink

Originally a Geologist by education, John is currently Director of Public Affairs for GetLink spending much of his time working with National and local government to promote the economic importance of the Channel Tunnel and to ensuring the resilience of the transport infrastructure connecting it to the rest of the UK, as well as its vital role linking the UK to Europe. 

He has worked on the Eurotunnel project for 23 years, having been involved since the construction phase and subsequently through the start-up and the critical financial restructuring and, most recently, in developing solutions to protect the vital Tunnel infrastructure from illegal migrant incursions and to reducing the impact of Operation Stack on Kent businesses.

John is originally from our neighbouring county, Essex, but has been working in Kent and on Kent issues since joining Eurotunnel. He is married with one son currently at University in Exeter, two dogs and two horses and, working for Eurotunnel, naturally divides his time between the UK and France.

Nadeem Aziz, Chief Executive Officer, Dover District Council

Nadeem Aziz is the Chief Executive of Dover District Council. He attended Woolverstone Hall School in Suffolk before studying Civil Engineering at the City University London.  He is a Chartered Civil Engineer with a Masters in Business Administration from the City University Business School.

Local Government roles at both Lewisham and Tower Hamlets Borough Councils in the 1980’s and 90’s ensured that Nadeem developed a real understanding of community engagement and the need for regeneration in areas of deprivation and exclusion.  He is committed to the delivery of value for money services through innovation and putting the customer first.

He has been the Council’s Chief Executive for over almost 20 years taking up the post in April 2002.  Prior to this he was the Council's Director of Planning and Technical Services for two years.

A commitment to partnership working with both community and business interests is evidenced by Board memberships of various multi agency partnerships.

He is committed to ensuring the Council continues to deliver excellent services that provide value for money.  He is also determined that the prosperity of the District will be transformed by the delivery of a range of regeneration projects in the District.

Outside the office Nadeem has a wide range of interests, with a particular passion for sailing.  He is a qualified skipper and is working towards his Yacht master exams.

Richard Morsley, Chief Executive, Historic Dockyard Chatham

Richard is Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and has worked at The Historic Dockyard Chatham since September 2019.  The Dockyard is a large and complex mixed-use heritage site and Richard has responsibility for ensuring the effective balance of uses.  Today the Historic Dockyard is a vibrant community, with up to 1000 people working on site, 800 full and part time students, 400 residents and up to 180,000 visitors per annum.

Richard has 15 years experience working within the cultural sector.  Richard was formerly Director at Betteshanger Parks and Deputy Director at Turner Contemporary. He is also a Trustee of Open School East, Margate and a member of Medway Place Board.

Stephen Russell, Founder and Managing Director, Copper Rivet Distillery

Stephen started Copper Rivet Distillery in 2016 with his father, brother and Head Distiller Abhishek Banik.

One of just a couple of multidisciplinary, farm to glass distilleries in the UK, their mission is to make whisky, gin and vodka so good that it puts their hometown, Chatham, and Kent on the map as global centre of excellence for distilling – with several awards and growing industry and consumer recognition, they are well on their way. In 2021 they added The Pumproom Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, making Copper Rivet one of the UK’s only distilleries to house a casual fine dining restaurant. Today they welcome c. 20,000 visitors to tour the distillery, enjoy cocktail masterclasses, whisky blending classes and to relax in the restaurant.

Prior to starting Copper Rivet Distillery, Stephen spent 20 years in global banking for firms including UBS and HSBC. During his career he worked in the UK, across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia and developed corporate strategy, executed and integrated acquisitions, designed investment products, implemented corporate governance frameworks and ran sales and marketing functions.

Stephen holds a MSc in Quantitative Economics from the University of Bristol and is a Kent Ambassador, Member of the Employment Advisory Board for HM Prison Elmley, Member of the Finance & Investment Committee for The Worshipful Company of Distillers & Distillers Charity and he is a founder and Board Member of The English Whisky Guild. 

William Benson, Chief Executive, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

William has been Chief Executive at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council since 2010. Before that, he held a number of senior roles in local government with a particular emphasis on performance, transformation and customer care. William’s original background is in international development and he worked for the International Development Select Committee in the House of Commons leading on a range of inquiries and reports.

William sits on a number of national boards and committees that shape and influence national policy towards local government and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Visit Kent Business
For all general enquiries, please contact the team via email

Postal Address:
10 Best Lane,
Visit Kent is dedicated to supporting tourism businesses across Kent