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Header image for the current page Executive Team

Executive Team

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John Parkes

Managing Director

John is the Managing Director of Arden & GEM and has led the Commissioning Support Unit since its creation in 2013. He has extensive NHS experience, including over 25 years’ as a Chief Executive of commissioning organisations and hospitals in a number of locations across England.

John also brings a unique insight into the challenges facing major reconfigurations, having been a Board Member of the National Independent Reconfiguration Panel established to provide advice to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on disputed or controversial service reconfigurations. He has also been a visiting professor in healthcare management at Northampton University.

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Mark Smith

Director of Finance

Mark is responsible for all areas of Arden & GEM’s corporate finance function and ensures that our organisation maintains strong financial controls and grows its customer base. He also leads on the development of our commercial strategy and oversees all partnership activities.

Mark has over 20 years of senior financial leadership experience within healthcare spanning both the NHS and private sector. This includes: Director of Finance LPF for Optum, Chief Finance Officer and Acting Chief Officer roles for North Derbyshire CCG, as well as numerous senior positions within primary care trusts (PCT) and Health Authorities.

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Mike Walker

Director of Business Services

Mike provides senior leadership support to customers across all business services including Human Resources (HR), Corporate Governance, Finance and Engagement, Communications and Marketing.

Mike joined Arden & GEM from NHS Nottinghamshire County where he was Director of Workforce and Organisational Development and was host Director of the Nottinghamshire Health and Social Care Workforce Team. During 2012, he was seconded to the NHS Commissioning Board Authority as HR Lead for Commissioning Support Units and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Mike brings a mix of both public and private sector experience with previous roles spanning the Ministry of Defence, GEC and Marconi.

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Louise Newcombe

Director of Clinical Services

Louise leads the clinical services directorate which encompasses Continuing Healthcare, Medicines Optimisation, Clinical Governance, Individual Funding Requests and Personal Health Budgets. Louise has a proven track record of improving health outcomes by developing productive relationships between patients, clinicians and management.

Louise has over 25 years’ experience in the NHS, predominantly working as a commissioner. Previously Programme Director for EMPACT, she first joined the NHS as a graduate management trainee. Louise spent a significant part of her career establishing and running Bassetlaw Primary Care Trust and then went on to establish one of the first commissioning support organisations across the East Midlands. 

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Helen Seth

Director of Business Intelligence and Provider Management

Helen leads our Business Intelligence and Provider Management directorate, delivering the data, analysis, insight and contractual innovation that is integral to providing appropriate, resilient and sustainable health services.

A diagnostic radiographer by background, Helen has over 30 years’ NHS experience in provider and commissioner organisations including service delivery, operations management, corporate strategy and system wide transformation. More recently she was asked to undertake the role of Director of Health and Care Integration as part of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Better Care Together programme – successfully leading across organisational and professional boundaries. With a wealth of strategic and operational experience, Helen has led a series of CSU service developments to improve data availability, standardise systems and simplify processes.

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Martin Charters

Healthcare Solutions Director

Martin is responsible for leading our response to integrated care systems, with a focus on the development of strategic commissioning, board and system leadership development, and population health.

Martin is a chartered accountant with over 25 years’ experience working in and for the NHS.  He has worked with commissioner and provider organisations, as well as NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, to support and deliver major change programmes.  Martin’s career has been spent in consulting and he has held senior positions in KPMG, Atos, Cap Gemini and most recently as a Partner in BDO LLP.  He is also a non-executive director of a mental health and community trust.

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Paul Thefaut

Chief Operating Officer (NHS England and NHS Improvement)

Paul provides strategic leadership across a portfolio of services provided to NHS England and NHS Improvement - as well as being the executive lead for our Procurement directorate and provision of managed services.

With over 20 years’ NHS experience, Paul is a versatile senior leader who’s specialities include financial turnaround/transformation, programme and general management. Throughout his career Paul has held a number of senior operations and finance positions. Prior to joining Arden & GEM he was both Director of Operations and Commercial Director for Midlands and East Specialised Commissioning and prior to joining the NHS held Finance Director positions at Royal Mail and Computer Sciences Corporation.

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Paul Davison

Interim Director of IT

Paul provides strategic leadership for the IT directorate delivering end-to-end services including strategic planning, infrastructure, systems development and user support.

Paul is a qualified accountant and throughout his long NHS career has held senior leadership roles in IT, contracts, finance, BI and procurement functions. Before joining Arden & GEM in his previous role of Chief Operating Officer for Essex, he worked as Director of Transformation and Strategy for North East Essex CCG where he led the Essex CCGs' major IT procurement via the lead provider framework.