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Executive Board

The role of the Executive Board is to the lead the operational management of DWF.

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Sir Nigel Knowles

CEO
 
Sir Nigel Knowles

Sir Nigel is Group CEO (having previously served as Chairman of the Group from September 2017 to May 2020). He spent over 38 years at DLA Piper, a global law firm, where he was Global Co-Chairman and Senior Partner, and, previously, Global Co-CEO and Managing Partner from 1996 to 2015. During his tenure as leader of DLA Piper and its legacy firms, revenues of DLA Piper grew from £52 million to in excess of £1.5 billion.

Sir Nigel received a knighthood in 2009 in recognition of his services to the legal industry. In 2015, he was awarded the Legal Business “Outstanding Individual Achievement Award” and in 2016 the Financial News “Editor’s Choice” award.

Sir Nigel holds an LLB degree from the University of Sheffield and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, Chester. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Sheffield and is a Fellow of Harris Manchester College Oxford.

Sir Nigel was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1980 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Matthew Doughty

Group Chief Operating Officer

 
Matthew Doughty

Matthew is Group Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Executive Board.

Background and experience

Matthew is Group Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for our Group's operations, corporate development activities, and post-acquisition integration projects.

As a director of DWF Group plc, Matthew also fulfils the role of Partner Director representing the interests of DWF partners on that board.

Matthew is a corporate lawyer by background with 25 years' experience in M&A and equity capital markets transactions.  He led the project team which delivered DWF's ground breaking IPO on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange in March 2019.

Matthew holds an LLB degree from the University of Birmingham and completed the Law Society Final Examination in 1993 from the College of Law, Chester.

He was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1996 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Chris Stefani

Chief Financial Officer
 
Chris Stefani

Chris joined the management team of DWF LLP in April 2016 and was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in September 2018. 

Background and experience 
Chris has around 20 years of experience in the professional services sector. 

He was previously the Finance Director of Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Advisory business (2014 to 2016), the Global Service Line reporting lead of Ernst & Young London (2013 to 2014), a director in the UK Core Business Services Finance team of Ernst & Young London (2012 to 2013) and the CFO of Ernst & Young Republic of Ireland (2010 to 2011). 

Chris has extensive experience in advising executive boards on all aspects of financial management, control, and performance and profitability improvement, as well as a track record of business optimisation to drive profit improvements and/or cost savings while also supporting revenue growth. 

Chris holds an LLB degree from the University of Strathclyde and was admitted to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2001.

 

Glyn Jones

CEO Insurance Division
 
Glyn Jones

Glyn joined the group in 2007, following the DWF merger with Ricksons where he was a partner since 2003. He became CEO of the Insurance Services division in May 2018. Glyn is responsible for executing the Group’s Insurance Services division strategy, driving forward its activities and co-ordinating the practice groups within the division.

Background and experience
Glyn specialises in dealing with complex catastrophic injury claims, as well as other serious injury and fatal claims. He also advises on insurance policy issues.

 

In 2018, Glyn was ranked by the legal directory Chambers and Partners Guide UK as a leader in his field for defendant work. Previously, Glyn was the Practice group Partner for DWF’s Catastrophic Personal Injury, Large Loss, Occupational Health and Casualty team for six years. He holds a BA Law Languages degree from Manchester Metropolitan University and passed the Solicitors Final Examination course in 1980. Glyn was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1983 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Stephen Miles

CEO Commercial Services Division
 
Stephen Miles

Stephen joined the Group in August 2014 as a partner and the CEO of the Commercial Services division. He is responsible for executing the Group’s Commercial Services division strategy, driving forward its activities and co-ordinating the practice groups within the division.

 

Background and experience

Stephen has acted for both financial institutions and corporate borrowers with particular expertise in private equity and leveraged finance transactions.

 

Previously, he was a partner at Pinsent Masons LLP, leading their financial services, banking and restructuring, and employment and pensions practices.

 

Stephen holds an LLB degree from Reading University and a postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, Guildford.

 

He was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1991 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Stefan Paciorek

CEO International Division
 
Stefan Paciorek

Stefan joined the Group in January 2015 and became CEO of the International division in October 2017. He is responsible for delivering the Group’s international strategy and leading the development of its international business.

 

Background and experience

Stefan has more than 20 years' experience in international dispute resolution and project renegotiation particularly within the technology and energy sectors.

 

He has acted for major corporations, governments and not-for-profit organisations, often in high-profile disputes, across jurisdictions. Previously, Stefan was a partner at Pinsent Masons LLP for 13 years.

He holds an LLB degree from Buckingham University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, London.

Stefan was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1992 and admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland

Jason Ford

Head of Connected Services
 
Jason Ford

Jason joined the Group in January 2017 as a partner and became head of the Group’s Connected Services division in July 2017. He is responsible for delivering the Group’s suite of connected services to clients.

 

Background and experience

Previously, Jason was the Chief Operating Officer at Triton Global Ltd (2013 to 2017), a multi-disciplinary alternative business structure and one of the first businesses to be granted a licence following the implementation of the Legal Services Act. Prior to that, he worked as a partner at Robin Simon LLP.

 

Jason holds an LLB degree from the University of Sheffield and a postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, Chester.

 

He was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1991 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Mark St John Qualter

CEO Managed Services
 
Mark St John Qualter

Mark joined the Group in June 2019 as the CEO of our Managed Services. He leads the development and delivery of our strategy to build a global Managed Services platform.

 

Background and experience
During 18 years within RBS Group plc, Mark held several strategy and business transformation roles. Prior to joining DWF, he was Head of Artificial Intelligence for RBS Group plc’s Commercial and Private Banking business.

 

Mark is also a governor and chairs the audit committee at the Manchester Metropolitan University. He was previously a Council Member of the CBI’s Regional Council for Yorkshire and Humberside.

 

Mark has an MBA from Manchester Business School and a BA (Hons) in Hindi and Sinhalese from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

 

Daniel Pollick

Chief Information Officer
 
Daniel Pollick

Daniel joined the Group in August 2018 as the Group’s Chief Information Officer. He oversees the strategic and operational application of the Group’s IT infrastructure, as well as the development of the business’s data strategy and the Group’s business transformation function.

 

Background and experience

Daniel has over 30 years' of experience in the IT industry. Previously, he served as DLA Piper LLP’s Chief Information Officer, a position he held for more than two decades.

 

Daniel has been a non-executive director on the board of Thongsbridge Tennis Club Ltd since 2015 and holds a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford. He is currently studying for an MSc at the University of Manchester.

Helen Hill

Director of Human Resources
 
Helen Hill

Helen joined the Group in November 2016 as the Group’s Director of Human Resources. She is focused on developing the Group’s HR team’s contribution to business growth, performance and profitability by aligning the team’s strategic and operational goals to the Group’s business plans.

 

Background and experience

Helen has more than 20 years' of experience in generalist HR positions across multiple sectors. Previously, she was the HR director at Princes Limited (2012 to 2016) and, prior to that, HR consultant at Townhouse Consulting Ltd (2006 to 2012).

 

Helen holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an HR Specialism from Teesside University and a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualification from the Manchester Metropolitan University.

Mollie Stoker

Group General Counsel & Company Secretary
 
Mollie Stoker

Mollie joined the Group as Group General Counsel and Company Secretary in January 2019. She is responsible for providing senior management with strategic legal advice, while overseeing legal compliance, corporate governance and limiting risk.

 

Background and experience

Mollie has more than 18 years of private practice and in-house legal experience. Previously, Mollie worked for the Suntory Beverage and Food Group, where she was the Director of Business Development at Suntory Beverage and Food Europe and the General Counsel and Company Secretary at Lucozade Ribena Suntory.

 

She also practised as a corporate/ commercial lawyer at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, K&L Gates LLP, and at Slaughter and May, where she trained and qualified.

Mollie holds a master’s degree in Classics from Cambridge University, and a postgraduate diploma in Law and a postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, London. Mollie is a member of the Law Society of England.

Zelinda Bennett

Marketing & Client Development Director
 
Zelinda Bennett

Zelinda joined the Group in January 2019 as Marketing and Client Development Director. She is responsible for shaping our global business development, client engagement, and marketing strategy, across the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and America.

 

Background and experience

Zelinda has more than 20 years' experience in law firm marketing and business development. Previously, she was the International Marketing Director at DLA Piper (2008 to 2018) and the Marketing Director of Eversheds Sutherland (2005 to 2007).

 

Zelinda holds a bachelor’s degree in French and German Languages and Literature from Manchester Metropolitan University, a diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a postgraduate certificate in marketing management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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