Our team

Meet the team

The Board

  • MARK WEAVIS

    Non-Executive Chairman, Neilson Financial Services

    Mark joined Neilson in 2020 having had an extensive and lengthy career across the financial sector. Initially working as an English Chartered Accountant he has acquired extensive experience in banking, asset management, asset based finance, credit risk and wider risk control. More recently his portfolio support assistance for the private equity sector has evolved into Non Executive roles where he uses his experience to interface between investor objectives and commercial reality.

  • GAVIN DONNELLY

    Chief Executive Officer

    Gavin has a history of entrepreneurship across many industry sectors and has a strong interest in leveraging both technology and analytical insights to build leading business solutions. He co-founded Greenstone in 2007, an Australian company specialising in the design, marketing, distribution, and administration of direct life insurance. Leveraging in-house technology solutions, combined with proprietary data analytical capabilities, he led Greenstone from start-up to become the country’s largest distributor of direct life insurance. In 2012 Gavin brought the same business model to the UK, founding Neilson Financial Services and he continues to lead the Neilson Group.

  • ROB CLARKSON

    UK Managing Director

    Rob joined Neilson in 2020 as a Non-Executive Director, having over 30 years’ experience in the financial services and insurance industry. Rob started his career at Barclays where he became Director of General Insurance and Protection. In 2011 Rob joined a joint venture between the Bank of Ireland and the Post Office as Managing Director of Insurance and in 2015 joined the Post Office to transform their insurance business. Rob was subsequently appointed Managing Director of Neilson’s UK business in June 2021.

  • HYLTON DONNELLY

    Actuarial and Business Performance Director

    Hylton joined Neilson in August 2014 having previously been Commercial Director at Old Mutual Wealth (now Quilter plc), responsible for marketing, product development and investment solutions. He previously held other executive leadership roles in the areas of strategy, business change and digital. Hylton founded Adthena in 2010 to provide competitive intelligence for search marketers, and prior to that developed technology platforms for several business start-ups. He was also a founder director of the UK investment platform Selestia in 2001. Hylton has an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town and qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in 1995.

  • DAVID REES

    Chief Operating Officer

    With a strong background in project and strategic programme management, David worked with Gavin at Greenstone Financial Services and was appointed Managing Director of online aggregator Choosi in Australia in 2011, where he launched the life, health and pet insurance verticals. David then focussed on the launch of Neilson in 2012, eventually holding the role of COO until late 2014. David then moved to Ireland to pursue his interest in retail e-commerce with Ireland’s largest retailer, LifeStyle Sports. He returned to Neilson in early 2019, using what he’d learned to establish our e-commerce agency, ThinkBait.

Neilson Executive team

  • ANURAG KAROL

    Change Director

    A change and business transformation leader with almost 20 years’ experience, Anurag spent 10 years with Greenstone Australia, leading the change management function, delivering an organisation-wide project and change portfolio across growth and technology programmes. Anurag oversaw the end-to-end delivery of numerous programmes to grow Greenstone’s multi-brand portfolio of life, pet, car, home and travel insurance products and the life distribution expansion into the New Zealand market. In the UK, Anurag oversaw the launch of FRANKLi and Zesty Life Insurance as well as embedding the referral process for impaired customers to Neilson Place advisers.

  • CHRIS DAWSON

    Operations Director

    Chris Dawson joined Neilson in 2012 and prior to that spent 4 years with Greenstone Financial Services. With over 20 years of sales and operations experience across industries including financial services and FMCG, Chris brings a wealth of leadership and insight to contact centre management and direct sales distribution. At Neilson, Chris has leveraged his specific life insurance expertise focused on building successful call centres delivering optimal conversion rates and customer outcomes.

    Before 2008, Chris worked in various executive roles within FMCG in the UK and South Africa. Chris holds a postgraduate diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is qualified in strategic management and leadership.

  • NINISH UKKAN

    Chief Technology Officer

    Ninish joined Neilson in 2020 having previously been CTO at Green Dot, a FinTech bank and the world’s largest prepaid debit card company, where he managed the engineering and data teams across the US and China. Some of his major initiatives included launching Apple Cash (P2P), BaaS platforms for Uber Money (Disbursements), Intuit Turbo (Tax Refunds), and Walmart Money Card. Prior to that, Ninish was Head of Product and Technology at eHarmony where he scaled the team from 40 to 100 engineers, developing highly available web and native apps for eHarmony’s internet properties on both the public and private cloud.

  • TONY BLACK

    Chief Financial Officer

    Tony joined Neilson in 2021 with nearly 20 years’ experience in the financial services, real estate, construction and infrastructure sectors. He’s worked as Finance Director/CFO at various companies since 2013 and specialises in assisting entrepreneurial SME’s in growth phases. As a chartered accountant, Tony is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Accountants and has an MSc in Professional Accountancy from the University of London.

  • Sally Jaques

    Business Development Director

    Sally joined Neilson in June 2021, after spending 7 years at price comparison website GoCompare working in various commercial and partnerships roles, most recently as Head of Business Development. Sally leads the Business Development strategy for Neilson, striving to find commercial opportunities that serve customer needs.

  • GAVYN HUZZEY

    Group Senior Legal Counsel

    Gavyn joined Neilson in July 2021, having previously spent 5 years at GoCo Group plc (which was the owner of gocompare.com prior to the group’s acquisition and subsequent delisting in February 2021). In his most recent roles as Head of Legal and Legal Director, Gavyn led a team of solicitors and paralegals and was responsible for GoCo Group’s legal function. Previously, Gavyn worked as a solicitor at law firms Bond Dickinson LLP (now Womble Bond Dickinson LLP) and Geldards LLP.