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Meet the team

John Allbrook Chairman

John was appointed as Chairman of Franchise Finance in April 2016. John is an experienced leader in global corporations, private equity and AIM-listed businesses across the financial services, business services and technology sectors. During John’s executive career he enjoyed successful spells as Chairman of Syscap, one of the UK’s leading independent providers of technology and business finance, and as the global CEO of GoIndustry plc, the AIM listed marketplace for asset sales and valuations. Additionally John spent many years leading several commercial finance businesses at GE Capital.

Stuart Walsh – QFP Managing Director

Stuart started his career as an accountant and company secretary before moving into the Asset Finance industry. Initially he specialised in the financing of hi-tech medical equipment before joining GE (General Electric) to manage their customer finance business in Europe for the medical systems division.

Stuart then moved to GE Capital where he set up and managed several European vendor leasing programs for worldwide suppliers of equipment such as large Printing Presses, Access Platform equipment and Digital TV and Film Editing equipment. He then moved into financing IT for Sun Microsystems, firstly looking after their top global customers and then as Director of the UK financing program. His final role at GE was Director of their equipment leasing business in the UK before leaving to join Franchise Finance.

Chris Roberts – ACIB QFP Business Development Director

Chris started his career with NatWest and after completing his professional qualifications became an Associate of the Institute of Bankers in 1980. He had a successful and varied career which at managerial level saw him as a Corporate Lender, an Underwriter, also heading up the Bank’s Lending courses in London and then taking on various consultancy roles working with seconded accountants from the major UK accountancy firms.

He left the Bank in 2000 to set up his own business consultancy with the aim of helping banks to better understand businesses and businesses to better understand banks. Since then, and acting as a ‘middle-man’, broker and consultant, he has successfully helped many hundreds of people start up or grow their businesses. He has specialised in the franchise market since 2004 and is now co-owner of Franchise Finance Limited, with his colleague Stuart Walsh.

Chris Hughes – QFP Head of Business Planning and Funding

Chris started his career with NatWest in 1988 where he undertook a variety of roles before joining the Premium Banking Team which specialised in personal banking for high net-worth customers. In 1998 he moved into business banking and as a Business Manager, built and maintained a portfolio of small and medium sized companies.

In 2004 Chris joined the Bank’s central Franchise Team and, following a successful year, was nominated for a NatWest Specialist Sectors Achievers Award. Chris continued to specialise in Franchising and has helped hundreds of Franchisees, and a number of Franchisors, obtain the finance they required to either start or expand their businesses. During this time he attained the Relationship Manager Certificate in Credit and also the NatWest/RBS Franchise Accreditation.

Kevin Noble – QFP Head of the Business Training Academy

Kevin started his career with NatWest and enjoyed a number of successful and varied Managerial roles for over 20 years within the start-up and SME business sector. He also worked directly with the Princes Trust and Business Link for 2 years, during which time he qualified as a Business Advisor and became an Associate of Institute of Business Advisors in 1999. He has successfully helped many people start up or develop their business from both inside and outside of NatWest.

In 2009 Kevin joined the National Franchise Team as one of three Directors, tasked with assisting Franchisors and Franchisees start up and grow their businesses and supporting ethical franchising. He became one of the first franchise professionals to obtain Qualified Franchise Professional status in 2011.

Kevin joined Franchise Finance at the beginning of 2015 taking up the role of Training Manager working with Director Chris Roberts delivering bespoke and generic business and financial training courses.

Phillip Archer Head of the Leasing Centre

Phillip began his career with a few years in the Insurance industry before joining Lombard North Central Plc. as a Business Development Manager specialising in transport assets. During his seven years in Lombard Phillip enjoyed different roles for Lombard’s various franchise connections and moved across into commercial Marketing.

Following a move to the Nissan Finance company and its subsequent purchase by Renault Banque a year later Phillip became the UK Marketing Director and after a few years moved to Paris where he spent three years working on Nissan Finance’s European finance business. After nearly 10 years with Renault Banque Phillip was offered an opportunity to move into rail asset leasing and moved to a role with the French Rail operator SNCF. During his time there he fine-tuned designs of rail freight wagons and their leasing packages. Phillip now joins Franchise Finance to specialise in supplying Asset Finance solutions to the Franchise industry.


Paul Hansen  Head of Sales and Marketing

Paul began his career in the motor industry working in sales and fleet management for a number of contract hire companies including Hartwell Motor Contracts, Hertz Leasing, NatWest and Lombard.  Paul moved into the Asset Finance arena when he joined Key Finance Group (KFG), an independent leasing company specialising in the provision of operating leases of Hi Tech equipment to small businesses, corporate clients and large multinational organisations including Total Oil and Rolls Royce.  

After 5 years with KFG, Paul joined Key Equipment Finance (KEF), the global leasing business of Key Corp.  Paul Spent 11 years with KEF as a Sales Manager and was responsible for sourcing and managing a number of key relationships in the UK and Nordics including Sun Microsystems, StorageTek NetApp and Econocom.  After a successful career with KEF, Paul held a number of senior sales management roles within Aldermore Bank and Wesleyan Bank where he and his team provided funding solutions to small businesses, new start enterprises as well as large corporate clients .  During his time at Aldermore Bank, Paul established a successful funding relationship with Franchise Finance and began his journey into the Franchise sector.

Keith Cawkwell – BSc (Hons) ACIB Senior Consultant

Keith started his career with NatWest in 1980 and working within the branch network he advanced to become a Branch Manager, ultimately controlling groups of branches. During this time he completed his professional qualifications to become an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and in 2001 he also achieved a 1st class honours degree in Financial Services.

In 2002 Keith joined the Bank’s Franchise Team and for the next 8 years he worked as a Regional Franchise Development Manager covering the Midlands and the North of England. This role involved Keith in daily contact with franchisors and franchisees and the completion of finance applications. His success was rewarded with a nomination for a NatWest Specialist Sectors Achievers Award.

After further business development and management roles within the Bank, Keith joined Franchise Finance in April 2014.

Keith is also involved with the Princes Trust, acting as a Business Mentor and Business Launch Group Panel Member. He has previously been nominated as East Midlands Business Mentor of the Year.

Glyn Jones Consultant

Glyn Jones

Glyn started his career with Midland Bank (now HSBC) in 1979, and after working within the branch network where he completed his professional qualifications to become an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, he has enjoyed a varied management career.

He initially stayed within the retail sector undertaking roles as an Operation/Process Manager and Branch Manager. In 2000 he moved into the commercial sector where he had responsibility for the management and growth of a portfolio of SME businesses, and latterly with businesses that represented a ‘higher risk’ of default and required the implementation of a turnaround strategy.

Glyn joined Franchise Finance in March 2015.

Claire Shankland Leasing Centre Assistant Manager

Claire Shankland joined us in October 2013. Claire has considerable experience across a variety of sectors including franchises, independent SME’s and large corporates. Her skills in managing retail outlets and in working in technically demanding roles where diligence and accuracy were critical to a business made her the ideal candidate to join Franchise Finance.

Claire’s past employers include, Holland & Barratt, Boots & Tesco Pharmacy and the NHS. As the manager of the sales support side of the Leasing Centre here at Franchise Finance Claire is a vital part of the smooth running of the leasing centre and its administration, documentation and deal processing requirements. Claire is also responsible for supplier and customer liaison and for ensuring that deals are paid out on time every time.

Rob Orme BA (Hons) QFP  Marketing Manager

Rob first joined Franchise Finance in 2014 as Assistant Manager to complete his placement year of a sandwich degree at University. Having successfully completed his degree in Business Management, achieving First Class Honours, he has returned to Franchise Finance as Marketing Manager.

His role includes the creation, dissemination and management of marketing materials relating to the business and business activities.

Tony Marsh Consultant

Tony was employed in 1980 by Forward Trust a division of The Midland Bank (now HSBC) as a Finance Sales Executive working with consumers and small businesses in all aspects of asset based funding. Tony then moved on to working with a small family owned company that quickly grew into a listed business. His roles over 17 years included sales, sales management & business relationship management. In 2003 Tony joined Signs Express a leading UK based franchise in the B2B sector and the main role was to recruit new franchisees for new start businesses and resales. A large part of his role was to help new franchisees produce their business plans and liaise with banks and other lenders to ensure that finance was in place for the initial years of either a new start or business resale. Tony took part in a management buy-out in 2007 becoming a shareholder at that time before selling his equity in late 2015. Tony joined Franchise Finance as a consultant in January 2016.

Denise Aitchison Consultant

Denise commenced her professional career with Nat West back in 1987 in Manchester City Centre, where she remained for 10 years. Leaving only to produce 2 awesome children, she then spent 2 years with Latham, Crossley and Davis accountants and 2 years with Euro Sales Finance plc before returning to Nat West in 2001 on Merseyside.

She enjoyed a successful time with Nat West spanning 25 years, the last 15 years working at both Area and Regional Director level, leading teams specialising in the SME sector of Business Banking, with one of those roles being Head of Franchise North.

She left the bank in mid-2016 and joined Franchise Finance in October as a trainer, delivering finance training courses as well as undertaking business health checks and working with selected business planning and financing clients.

She is based in Northamptonshire, is an avid golfer (13 handicap) and gin drinker (no handicap), who loves dogs and holidays. 

Jeff Wood Consultant

Jeff started his career in Manchester in the early 1970’s. He completed his professional qualifications in 1976 and became an Associate of the Institute of Bankers.

In 1986 he moved to Leighton Buzzard to work in various Head Office Departments in London before becoming a Branch Manager at NatWest Hanover Square.

He subsequently moved to Aylesbury and High Wycome to work with Medium sized businesses before leaving NatWest in Mid 2016. He is a trained Business Mentor and commenced work with Franchise Finance in November 2016.

Penny Cox Leasing Centre Sales Support

Penny has experience across several industries where she has acquired skills in administration, accounts, marketing, data entry and customer services.  She has worked in the lighting industry, travel industry, care sector and the beauty industry.

Past employers include BLV Licht-und Vakuumtechnik GMBH, Z&S International, Fremantle Court and Body & Soul Sanctuary.

At Franchise Finance, Penny provides vital support to the leasing team and is essential to the success within this area of the business.



Helen Mackellar Assistant Manager, Business Planning and Funding

Helen graduated with a BA(Hons) in French and Business Studies and has spent her career to date focusing in the areas of Business Improvement, Lean and Six Sigma.  She spent several years working as a Lean Consultant with Unipart Logistics, working in diverse industries from Central Government to Healthcare to IT.  She set up her own small business in 2010, which continues to grow and prosper.  Her business was awarded Buckinghamshire’s Rural Business of the Year in 2012.


She joined Franchise Finance in 2017, in the Business Planning and Funding team, bringing her expertise in running a small business, customer service and data analysis to the team.


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