Gareth Davies

Managing Director of KSDL

Gareth started his career as a Sales and Marketing Graduate at Scottish & Newcastle Brewers, before becoming Senior Brand Manager for Old Speckled Hen.

In 1997 Gareth moved into the Sport and Leisure industry where he has spent the last 20 years. During this time Gareth has held the following positions:

  • Head of Sports Marketing for Reebok UK: In this role Gareth oversaw contracts ranging from Liverpool F.C. and Ryan Giggs, to the Welsh Rugby Union and U.K. Athletics.
  • CEO of Bradford Bulls Rugby League Club: Here, Gareth oversaw the clubs victories in the Super League Grand Final and the World Club Championship.
  • M.D of the Scarlets Rugby Union Club: Gareth helped to manage the build and oversaw the transition into the new 15,000 seat stadium – Parc y Scarlets.

Now Managing Director of KSDL, at The John Smith’s Stadium, Gareth oversees what is already a fascinating mixed sport and leisure business and is planning a further major leisure development – The HD One!

Ian Simpson

General Manager, Kudos

Ian has worked in the Hospitality and Events Industry throughout his career, dividing his time equally between four and five star Hotels and Stadia.

Following his education at Salford Technology College, Ian gained his City and Guilds 703 and Higher National Diploma (HND) in catering and hospitality. In 1984 he completed his Hotel Catering & International Management qualification (HCIMA).

  • Management Trainee for Former InterContinental hotels – In this role Ian pursued a career in the busy banqueting departments of Frankfurt and Geneva, daily servicing up to 1,300 guests.
  • Sommelier in the Infamous ‘Peter Kromberg’ Le Soufflé 1* Michelin star restaurant – Ian moved into various middle management positions for the group, overseeing a replacement budget of £250,000 in 1982 for china glass and cutlery. He became Assistant Coffee Shop Manager and went onto win ‘The Times Coffee shop of the year ’86’.
  • Restaurant Manager at The Midland Hotel – In 1987 Ian re located to Manchester to re-open the ‘Midland Hotel’ as Assistant Conference and Banqueting Manager.

In 2000 Ian moved into Stadia, for Everton Football Club as Assistant Manager of Hospitality and Events.  In 2010 he attained the position of General Manager, moving over to join The John Smith’s Stadium in November 2015.

Natalie Smith

Sales & Marketing Executive, Kudos

Natalie started her journey at The John Smith’s Stadium back in 2008 whilst on her work experience placement from Greenhead College. Natalie’s work experience covered all areas of the Conference and Events function including Operations, Kitchen Management, Sales and Finance. It is from this placement that Natalie continued to develop at The John Smith’s Stadium throughout her time at College and University.

After Graduating from The University of Manchester in 2012, Natalie started her graduate life progressing through various roles at The John Smith’s Stadium:

  • Duty Manager: In this role Natalie oversaw the operations function from non match day events to match day fixtures including Hospitality covers in excess of 1000 covers.
  • Sales Coordinator: Natalie’s organisation and attention to detail with events saw a departmental change to sales. From here Natalie coordinated all of the non-match events from conferences, weddings, parties and Christmas functions. Not to mention match day events which included the Rugby League World Cup match in 2013 which had a stadium record crowd of 24,375.
  • Sales and Marketing Executive: Promoting to Sales and Marketing Executive in 2017, Natalie now oversee’s the sales function and manages the day to day running of the office whilst promoting The John Smith’s Stadium and making it The Yorkshire Venue for non-match day events.


David Stewart-Pybus

Head Chef

David started his career, working in Manchester, around the many hotels and restaurants. He has worked at Manchester United and Manchester City FC.

In 2003 he started as the sous chef at Manchester City FC. Overseeing the conference and events side of the business, and helping run production for match day hospitality.

As a freelance chef he has worked on the event circuit on large events, including the gold cup at Cheltenham race course, royal Ascot and the grand prix at Silverstone

In 2009 he started as Head chef at Goldsborough Hall in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire where his success led him to win the coveted ‘Chef of the Year’ award at the annual Harrogate Business Awards.

In 2013 Dave began working at The John Smith’s Stadium and has been head chef here for the last two years. In this time he has worked with both the clubs to produce and deliver menus for match days as well as run and oversee the kitchen for the conference and events business that is held at The Stadium.

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