Meet the People

Our team are
what makes us

If you would like to get in touch with a member of the team please email and your enquiry will be forwarded on to the appropriate person.

WM5G Board

Mark Stansfeld

Chair WM5G Board

As co-founder and former chairman of Giffgaff, Mark has 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications sector. Mark has a background in board advisory roles with a number of mobile network operators and spent nearly a decade as Commercial Director at O2 UK. He chairs both the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire 5G – the testbed focussing on advanced manufacturing output and new applications and business models within the Industry 4.0 sector. Mark also holds a strategic role as an advisory board member of Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) funded innovation network UK5G.

Melissa Giordano

Board Director, Deputy Director of Mobile Infrastructure and Spectrum at DCMS

Melissa has 10 years’ experience in the Civil Service including the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Treasury and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). She is currently deputy director of mobile infrastructure and spectrum at DCMS. She has experience working with Ministers and senior executives in the financial services and technology sectors and has particular experience in government, mobile communications, international relations, pensions and tax. Melissa works as a lay magistrate and was born in Birmingham.

Ian Smith

Observer, Programme Director for the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme

Ian is the programme director for the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, which will deliver the Government’s ambition to be a world leader in 5G. He has spent more than 20 years in the telecoms industry, with a wide range of experience in designing, building and operating fixed and mobile networks. His knowledge and strategic view have been built up through work across the market, for both operators and vendors. Ian joined DCMS from Ericsson, where he was head of UK network design & optimisation team delivering infrastructure and services for all UK operators.

Ninder Johal

Non-Executive Director, CEO Nachural Group of Companies

Ninder has been running a record label for over 25 years, the company has now ventured into creative services including film and video production and event production. Outside of his day job – Ninder is the Vice Chair of Sandwell College, Board member of the Black Country LEP,  Board Governor of the University of Wolverhampton, Elected member of the West Midlands CBI, NED at Accord Housing, Trustee of Albion Foundation (part of WBA), Trustee of Victoria Academy (set of primary schools). He is also a Board member of the West Midlands Growth Company and deputises at the West Midlands Combined Authority. He is also a Patron of UKEmployability. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands in Feb 2019 in recognition of his work for the region.

Tracy Westall

Non-Executive Director

Tracy is a non-executive director for the Department for Transport – sitting on its Future of Mobility advisory board. She also supports Bruntwood SciTech – a joint venture to connect the UK’s most ambitious cities, regions and science and technology communities. Tracy is a governor of Birmingham City University as well Chair of Curium Solution, a Birmingham based change and people development business. Tracy spent several years on the main board of techUK – the trade association for the UK technology sector and was recognised as the Digital Leaders West Midlands Champion in 2018.

Ian Martin

Director of Investment and Commercial Activities

Ian Martin is the Investment and Commercial Activities Director for West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Leading the development of the WMCA’s investment strategy ensuring its capital investment programme is on track to deliver the £8bn worth of benefits to the region over the next 30 years.  This investment package consists of flagship projects such as HS2, extensions to the Midland Metro, devolved transport schemes and the regeneration of Coventry City Centre.  WM5G is an addition to this portfolio, Ian’s experience dealing with investments and considering the commercial attractiveness of proposals will help join the private and public sectors to best advantage and assist to deliver the new possibilities that 5G technology opens up for the region.

Leadership Team

Robert Franks

Managing Director

Robert is Managing Director of West Midlands 5G Limited.  Prior to leading WM5G, he held senior general management and strategy positions at O2, T-Mobile and Orange. At O2, Robert led the company’s new business portfolio where he launched and scaled a number of new businesses in sectors including WiFi, internet of things, payments, messaging, data analytics, advertising and fintech. Robert also led O2’s start-up accelerator.

Chris Holmes

Transport Programme Director

Chris is the Director for Mobility and the Application Accelerator. The Mobility workstream is focussed on transport with 3 key objectives.  Firstly, to explore operational efficiencies on road and rail to improve service, reduce costs and improve environmental impact.  Secondly, to provide better connection between transport services, support transport expansion and encourage use of public transport. Last but not least to improve the travel experience. The Application Accelerator really is about being 5G Innovation Ready – enabling organisations of all sizes to experience 5G and create new business opportunities and innovations. Chris has worked in the automotive industry for over 30 years in product development and research having worked for Ford, Ricardo Consulting Engineers and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). His most recent time in JLR saw him heading autonomous and connected car research.

Rhys Enfield

Director of Infrastructure Acceleration

Rhys is an expert in mobile network deployment, previously working for both operators and vendors in the telecoms sector since the mid-90s. Rhys is our Head of Infrastructure Acceleration and has the primary role of accelerating 5G across the region by removing barriers, improving processes and facilitating relationships between the mobile operators and the local councils. A key focus for Rhys and the team is to act as an ‘honest broker’, fostering a more collaborative and cooperative approach, working to ensure citizens of the West Midlands are the first to benefit from the socioeconomic improvements that 5G will bring.

Lesley Holt

Accelerator & Communications Director

Lesley’s prior private and public sector experience, operating both within local authority organisations and outsourced services contracts, gives a breadth of knowledge across a variety of sectors.  Lesley’s background has covered account management, stakeholder engagement, business development and business transformation. Her key strengths have been in the development of successful relationships with colleagues and clients, establishing credibility and ensuring achievement of shared goals – these attributes align well with the aims and ambitions of WM5G.

Michel Sabatier

Business Development Director

Michel beings a wealth of industry knowledge to the WM5G team, Michel boasts over 30 years’ experience working for large tech companies such as Atos and Nokia, both in the UK and abroad. Michel has also been heavily involved in the development of emerging technologies through both his work as co-founder of several software start-ups and his role as investor and advisor to several national and international tech scale-ups.

Suvo Datta

Finance Director

Suvo has more than 15 years of experience spanning across senior leadership roles in finance, sales and general management in large multinationals, including Telefónica UK (O2), Vodafone and Deloitte.  In his role as Financial Director, Suvo has responsibility for leading and developing WM5G’s strategic business plan, annual budget and liaising with public and private funders as the testbed takes its next step along an exciting journey.

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