Inverleith LLP

Investing in consumer brands

Meet The Team

Ben Thomson


Ben started his career as a physicist at CERN before nearly 30 years’ experience in investment banking, and over 20 years’ experience as a board director. After Kleinwort Benson, he was Chief Executive of the investment bank Noble Group from 1997 to 2007, and was Chairman from 2007 until its sale to Banco Espirito Santo in 2010. Ben is a Physics graduate of Edinburgh University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Paul Skipworth


Paul started his career with 10 years at LEK consulting, then venture capital in Asia before 13 years building consumer brands globally at LVMH. Paul was CEO & COO of Glenmorangie for 5 years; held senior regional P&L roles at Moet Hennessy in Asia Pacific and was a Partner in L Capital, LVMH’s sponsored private equity firm. Paul read Chemical Engineering at Imperial College, London and has an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD.

Stella Morse


Stella joined PWC London, and qualified as a Chartered Accountant, before starting her career in the FMCG industry with Mars. Stella has 25 years’ finance and M&A experience, and was the Finance Director of the UK’s biggest brewer, Scottish & Newcastle UK prior to its acquisition by Heineken in 2008. From 2012 to 2016, she was CFO and an investor in Genius Gluten Free, one of the UK’s most innovative food companies, which grew from a turnover of £6 million to £50 million during her time as CFO. Stella’s M&A experience includes leading Scottish & Newcastle’s acquisition of Bulmers cider, and Genius’ acquisition of Finsbury plc’s ‘free from’ business. Stella is a Non Executive Director of Scottish Ensemble, holds a 1st Class Hons. in Economics and is ACA qualified.

Michael Atkinson

Operating Director

Michael Atkinson has been classically trained in business strategy and brand marketing. He started his career on the management trainee scheme at L’Oreal UK Ltd. Following L’Oreal, he extended his career in FMCG with time at Britvic Soft Drinks, before moving into global strategy and marketing at the Bacardi Martini Corporation. Most recently, he spent 4 years as the global head of marketing for Glenmorangie single malt whisky at The Glenmorangie Company, part of the LVMH Group, overseeing the re-positioning of the brand and the international expansion of the business into other foreign markets, transforming the US into the number one market. Michael holds an MA (Hons) in Law, Economics and Resource Management from Cambridge University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from Nottingham Law School.

Martin Payne

Investment Manager

Martin joined EY in Edinburgh in 2004 and qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant, working in both Financial Services audit and Infrastructure advisory teams for over 6 years. Martin subsequently worked as an Associate Investment Manager responsible for private equity Fund, Secondary and Co-Investments across Europe, working for Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Aberdeen Asset Management’s private equity teams. Martin’s experience includes financial modelling, deal structuring, financial analysis, due diligence and portfolio management. Martin holds a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering with Management from the University of Edinburgh, and is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Rosie Nicholson

Networks Liaison

As Networks Liaison for Inverleith’s existing portfolio companies, Rosie is responsible for communications and the coordination of fundraising, providing pre-investment presentations and regular investor updates, in the form of a semi-annual report and annual presentations. She also looks after the day-to-day financial administration of Hothouse and related secretarial matters.  Rosie has been with Inverleith since 2010. Previously she worked in both Edinburgh and London, spending most of her career in Property and Financial PR.  Rosie holds a B.A. (Hons) in Anthropology from Durham University.

Sharon Kay

Office Manager

Sharon is the Office Manager responsible for the day-to-day running of the office, including timely reporting to investors and regulators, and distribution of materials for internal meetings, as well as the recording of investment management meetings.  Sharon joined Inverleith in 2016 and has held previous administrative and project management roles within the Retail, Marketing & Design and Property sectors.  Sharon is a photography graduate from Stevenson College.

Senior Advisors


John Dunsmore

Mr Dunsmore has extensive experience in the acquisition, management, development and sale of consumer brand businesses.

Having started his career as a drinks analyst in 1980, Mr Dunsmore joined Scottish & Newcastle as MD of Western Europe in 1996. In 2007, Mr Dunsmore became Chief Executive of the company, and almost immediately led the bid defence against Heineken and Carlsberg, increasing value to shareholders by £800 million to over £10 billion during a 16% decline of the stock market as a whole.

After the takeover of Scottish & Newcastle, Mr Dunsmore joined C&C Group, an Irish quoted company, which produced among other drinks, Magners Cider. He brought together a management team that re-launched the brand’s consumer proposition and packaging, sold the spirits division, and bought the Tennants and Gaymers business. Mr Dunsmore and the team drove an increase in share price of more than 430%, with a total of £1 billion of shareholder value created.

In 2012, Mr Dunsmore co-founded Hothouse Brands, alongside Mr Thomson. He has also developed a family brewing business, The Edinburgh Beer Factory, which produces Paolozzi Beer.

Mark Bedingham

Mr Bedingham spent twenty years as the Regional Managing Director of Moet Hennessy Asia-Pacific, LVMH, spearheading the Asia-Pacific growth of Moet Hennessy’s portfolio of luxury wines and spirits including Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon, Hennessy, Cloudy Bay, Dom Perignon, Krug and Glenmorangie, turning the region into a major contributor to the Moet Hennessy Group’s turnover and profit. During this time, he also spent seven years as a Non-Executive Director of the DFS Group, a Hong Kong based travel retailer of luxury products with a network of duty-free stores in over 17 major airports.

Mr Bedingham is currently the President and CEO of Singapore Myanmar Investco (SMI), a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, which invests and manages businesses in Myanmar.

From 1997 to 2002, Mr Bedingham was a Director Jardine Pacific, a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson, which represents a significant number of the Group’s non-listed interests in Asia, including in engineering and construction, transport services, restaurants and IT services.

Mr Bedingham is a graduate of the University of Oxford.

Andy Knowles

Mr Knowles is the Chairman and co-founder of Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR), a global brand design agency founded in 1990 with Ian Ritchie and Joe Jones. The company is now over 25 years old and works with major consumer brand clients including AB InBev, Beam Suntory, Mars Inc, Pepsico and Unilever. The company has offices in London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai and is regarded as one of the leading branding agencies.

Prior to founding JKR, Mr Knowles started his career marketing Heineken and Stella Artois at Whitbread, before specialising in design.

Mr Knowles holds a BSc from the University of Nottingham.

Nick Watkins

Mr Watkins is the Managing Partner at White Cloud Capital LLP, a private family investment company with a presence in London and Singapore which invests strategic growth capital and venture capital in fast growing companies in selected industries primarily in Europe and Asia Pacific. Mr Watkins currently holds a number of Non-Executive Director positions, including at FDC Dental Group, Doctors Beck & Stone, Careers Australia Group, The Fertility Partnership and Atlantis Healthcare Group.

Mr Watkins started his career in 1989 at Credit Suisse First Boston, moving after ten years to become a Managing Director of Lehman Brothers where he was until 2008.

Mr Watkins attended the University of St Andrews where he graduated with a First Class Honours in German and History and a postgraduate degree from Oxford University.


Current investments have been made by Inverleith LLP or Hothouse Brands