Julia HendricksonJulia Hendrickson – President

Julia holds an impressive 20+ years of experience across consumer health and general merchandise in omnichannel and digital retail, across Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Julia developed her deep experience of retail, buying, merchandising, e-commerce, marketing and strategy with Procter & Gamble, Tesco, WBA, Booz Allen, and high growth Private Equity backed businesses. Julia joined Walgreens Boots Alliance in 2017 where she led the transformation of the European Retail Division, accelerated growth in Latin America and Asia and established WBA’s Joint Venture in China – the first ever in the Pharmacy space.

Most recently, Julia led WBA relationships with its biggest suppliers to deliver growth in Boots and Walgreens by creating differentiation and disruptive innovation.

Julia is originally from Ukraine, has lived and studied in the UK, U.S., and Russia, and speaks four languages. Julia holds an MBA degree from London Business School, and a Bachelor of Economics from State Academy of Finance, Moscow. Julia enjoys travel, having travelled to over 50+ countries, and can be found skiing, enjoying art, music, and theatre. She loves going on long walks with her beloved English Springer Spaniel, Muffin.

Julia HendricksonAnna Cassell-Ward – Chief Financial Officer

Anna qualified as an accountant at KPMG before moving to Walgreens Boots Alliance, where she has spent the last 12 years in diverse roles across various parts of the organisation, encompassing retail, digital, opticians, and international brands. As well as roles in finance, Anna has worked in both commercial and transformation in recent years as the Boots business navigated the pandemic.

In her previous role, Anna was the Finance Director at Boots Opticians, helping to steer the business through its pandemic recovery and subsequent growth trajectory. Anna is passionate about people leadership and development and creating an environment where people can thrive and be at their best.

Anna lives in Leicestershire with her husband and two football-mad boys alongside a tankful of prolifically multiplying fish. Before accidentally becoming an accountant, she studied languages and European law.

saskia connellSaskia Connell – People and Organisation Director

Saskia comes with a wealth of experience in HR, both from Mars Incorporated and industries prior to Mars. She has a passion for people and business and linking the two together.

Saskia began her career in various German start-ups before joining Wrigley to focus on building the learning and development framework for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. She then took a larger role providing customised learning solutions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

Following Wrigley’s acquisition by Mars, Saskia rolled out the Mars Five Principles into Wrigley Europe before being appointed as Global Director of Talent and Learning.

After moving to the UK, Saskia became the Wrigley UK HR Director and played a key part in leading the merger of Mars Chocolate and Wrigley and then as HR transformation lead also across Europe, Russia, CIS and Turkey. Saskia then moved back to Germany to lead Mars Wrigley Germany.

Saskia’s vast experience and roles have shown the ability to adapt to different environments as well as people, and successfully lead businesses through change. Saskia grew up with pets including dogs, cats, rabbits, and fish and her passion for people and pets has drawn her to the veterinary health business of Mars.

Saskia is American and was brought up in Chicago. She lived in Germany and speaks fluent German and now lives in the UK with her husband, child and four rescue cats. She has a degree in psychology from the US and a Master’s in Education. Outside of work, Saskia has a passion for travel and culture, as well as being creative with painting, crafts and design.

YvonneYvonne Hignell – Chief of Staff

Yvonne joined Linnaeus in 2021 as Hospital Director of DWR Veterinary Referral Centre, before stepping into the Managing Director Referrals role for the East Region. She joined the Executive team in 2023 as Chief of Staff.

Yvonne possesses a deep understanding of our business and the opportunities ahead and brings with her a wealth of experience from leadership roles in home healthcare providers, community services and social housing.

Her strengths and passions are a perfect fit to help Linnaeus operationalise our new strategy, drive effectiveness and bring our new cultural shifts to life.

Lisa PoyserLisa Poyser – Director of Business Development

Lisa joined Linnaeus in 2023, having spent four years at Amazon building the Real Estate and Store Development programme for Worldwide Amazon Stores Grocery. This team was responsible for launching the first Just Walk Out tech-enabled store anywhere in the world outside North America. Lisa is a deep-rooted Development Specialist with 15+ years of experience focused on pipeline acquisition and build for large commercial organisations including Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

Lisa will add a huge amount of value to our business as we shift away from focusing on acquisitions and focus more to the future growth our business into new sites (de novo). When not in work Lisa can either be found on the side of a rugby pitch supporting one of her three sons or in a muddy field with her husband and her dogs Luna and George!

Amanda JonesAmanda Jones – Chief Operating Officer

Amanda is a seasoned operator and has experience in business turnaround, transformation & growth situations. She was trained as an experienced operator in Marks & Spencer and Waitrose and held senior operations roles in the Post Office, Wilko, Conviviality, and Nisa.

Amanda brings a very people-centric, empathetic, resilient and holistic management approach. She is excited to join Linnaeus and is attracted to our purpose, values and culture as well as our strong growth potential. As an avid pet owner with her Brittany dogs Evie and Sasha, she feels very drawn to our purpose of creating a Better World for Pets.

severine taskerProfessor Séverine Tasker – Chief Medical Officer

An RCVS Recognised Specialist in Internal Medicine and Feline Medicine, Séverine is also a European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine.

Séverine graduated as a vet from the University of Bristol in 1994 and worked for the PDSA, before moving to the University of Edinburgh to complete an iCatCare-funded Residency in Feline Medicine in 1999.

Séverine then moved back to the University of Bristol, where she completed a PhD investigating feline haemoplasma infections in 2002. She remained at Bristol Veterinary School, leading in clinical work, teaching and research, until 2018.

During this time, Séverine was awarded the BSAVA Woodrow Award for outstanding contributions in the field of small animal veterinary medicine and the PetPlan Charitable Trust Research Award for outstanding contributions in the field of veterinary research.

In her role as Chief Medical Officer for Linnaeus, Séverine is responsible for the group's medical education strategy, including the Graduate Development Programme and its growing number of residencies and internships. Séverine also heads veterinary leadership, clinical standards, quality improvement and clinical research within Linnaeus.

Séverine brings a wealth of clinical and academic knowledge to Linnaeus and provides leadership and representation of the organisation's clinical staff, at an Executive Team level as well as in Mars Veterinary Health.

In her spare time Séverine loves all things feline (she has three cats at home) and is a Les Mills BodyAttack gym fanatic.

Simeon BirdSimeon Bird – Chief Marketing Officer

Simeon is a board-level marketing executive with over 25 years of UK and international experience driving growth for major brands across a range of sectors. Starting his career in classical full-mix marketing as a brand manager at Cadbury’s in Argentina, Simeon moved to Hasbro in the UK, followed by Twinings.

Joining us from BT Group he led the team responsible for brand strategy, digital marketing, demand generation and channel comms for the Business division. Prior to this Simeon was responsible for EE’s £550m broadband and TV business unit, transforming an underperforming operation from loss to profit by focusing on customers.

During his time away from work, Simeon is a trustee for the UK's largest girls' football club, Berkhamsted Raiders, where his daughter plays centre-back for the under-14s.

Jo PriceJo Price – Director of Legal

Jo is a highly experienced lawyer, with a strong background in corporate and commercial law across various industries.

Beginning her illustrious career as a corporate lawyer, Jo specialised in high-value M&A projects for PLCs and large unlisted companies. In 2007, she made the transition to an in-house role, becoming Aston Villa Football Club's first in-house lawyer, where she spent a decade contributing to the success of the club. Following her tenure at Aston Villa, Jo joined Bright Horizons, a prominent childcare group, as Director of Legal. Her most recent role, prior to joining Linnaeus, was as Head of Legal at Sport England.

Jo lives in Solihull with her husband and sports enthusiast son. When not immersed in legal matters or cheering on the sidelines, she enjoys walking, reading and cooking.