63rd+1st is led by a management team with diverse experience and proven capabilities across the hospitality and leisure sectors.
Brought together by Robert B Cook, the team’s collective experience combines broad exposure across restaurant and hotel groups, and the betting, technology, leisure and manufacturing sectors. It has been added to with specialist skills in IT development and risk management.
Robert B Cook – Chief Executive Officer
Robert has 30 years’ experience in the hospitality and leisure industries, with expertise in driving brand value and growth and bringing cross-sector ideas from his 13 years of hotelier experience to other environments. From 2004 to 2012, Robert was Chief Executive Officer of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, and spent three years as Chief Executive Officer of De Vere Hotels and Resorts. He served as Chief Operating Officer of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, before moving away from hotels and becoming Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Active UK in 2016. Robert is a director of Cookie Jar (Alnwick) Ltd, the principal activity of which is operating The Cookie Jar, a small luxury boutique hotel in Alnwick, Northumberland. Robert has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London and is a Master Innholder. He was recognised as Manager of the Year by The Catey Awards and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Robert Gordon University for his contribution to the hotel industry.
Graeme Nesbitt - Operations Director
Graeme was appointed Operations Director in December 2021. Graeme has 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, with expertise in food and beverage, new openings and repositioning of businesses into the luxury sector. Having worked in some of the UKs finest hotels & resort kitchens such as Gleneagles, The Savoy, The Dorchester, The Landmark and Claridge’s Graeme achieved Executive Chef at the Lygon Arms in Broadway and transitioned from Executive Chef at St Andrews Bay Golf Resort & Spa onto a front of house role, becoming Director of Food and Beverage progressing to Resident Manager in 2001. General Manager and Regional GM stints followed with Malmaison in Edinburgh and Birmingham, Resort General Manager at Cameron House, The Hotel Collection and The Mere Golf & Spa Resort in Cheshire. Graeme was lured back to the Lygon Arms under London & Regional ownership to take it through a multi-million-pound refurbishment and repositioned it back into the luxury market under the Iconic luxury Hotel umbrella. From 2018 to 2021 Graeme was Director of Food and Beverage for Hand Picked Hotels before joining 63rd+1st. Graeme was behind Cameron house winning a much-coveted Catey award for Group Hotel of the Year and is a lifetime honorary member of Le Clef D’or.
Alan Clark – Chief Finance Officer
Alan has spent the majority of his career in the hotel industry in financial leadership roles, with national and international exposure across boutique and all-inclusive luxury brands, and experience in driving customer engagement from a financial and operational perspective. Alan joined Fridays from his previous role as Chief Financial Officer at D&D London. Alan spent several years abroad, serving as Chief Financial Officer at the publicly listed Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels from 2014 to 2015, and then at Sandals Resorts in Jamaica from 2015 to 2018. Prior to that, he was Finance Director at Rocco Forte Hotels and Malmaison and Hotel du Vin for four years each respectively, and Deputy VP Finance, Europe, at Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts.
Erica Livermore – Chief Technology Officer
Erica is a law graduate with a passion for technology and cross-sector experience delivering large-scale transformation projects on cloud technology, IT infrastructure, automation and artificial intelligence, consumer-facing user interface and user experience, Erica is driving the digital transformation of Fridays. Previously Customer Experience and Intelligence Director at Virgin Active UK, Erica has also held operational and managing roles at Prestige Reservations, De Vere Hotels, Dataforce Interact and Transcom WorldWide.
Dan Staples – Chief Marketing Officer
Dan joined in December 2019. He has extensive brand, digital and e-commerce experience for both client and agency across a variety of sectors including gaming, retail and sports & leisure. Dan has worked in marketing and commercial roles for leading brands enjoying rapid growth. He spent nearly 10 years at Betfair, culminating in his role as Global Head of Brand & Creative. Other previous roles include Marketing Director at Ladbrokes UK, Consumer Marketing Director at Checkatrade, and Director of Brand Marketing at WiggleChainReaction.
Karen Barnard – People Director
Karen’s depth of experience covers all aspects of Human Resources, including major change programmes, driving positive guest experiences and steering cultural change. She has extensive experience of the hospitality and dining sectors from a series of Human Resources leadership roles at Whitbread, Premier Inn and Caffe Nero. She led a pan-European programme of specific cultural change whilst HR Director at Nike Europe; and most recently, was HR Consultant at Hg Capital Private Equity. Karen is a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.
Claire Hussey – Risk and Compliance Director
Claire has technical expertise and experience in the restaurant and food retail sectors, implementing high quality standards of food safety, health & safety and fire safety, and driving strategic engagement with the environmental, social and governance aspects of the business. Claire worked at Casual Dining Group where she was Health & Food Safety Director for three years, and Risk Manager at Yum! Brands. She has also worked as a consultant advising on food and fire safety in the hospitality industry. Claire’s career began at Sainsburys Plc where she was National Food Safety Manager.
Alyson Scott – Food & Beverage and Procurement Director
Alyson has held a number of procurement roles in the food service and hotel industries for nearly 30 years and has extensive experience working with a network of international business partners across a global supply chain. Alyson previously worked for Leathams, the fine food importer, and Rail Gourmet, where she supported the drive to secure savings and synergies with Gate Gourmet, the sister company and largest airline caterer globally. Alyson is a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Chain.
Robert Henry – General Counsel and Company Secretary
Robert was a Senior Associate at Dentons, and has further private practice experience from three years at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Robert’s previous roles also include being a Managing Legal Counsel at John Wood Group plc and being a Senior Legal Counsel and the Group Ethics Officer at both Amec Foster Wheeler plc and AMEC plc.