Julia 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.
Anna 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 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.
Yvonne 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.
Dr Andrea Jeffery – Chief Nurse Officer
Andrea joined Linnaeus in April 2019.
She brings a wealth of academic and professional knowledge to Linnaeus and will work to enable student and registered veterinary nurses are developed to reach their full potential. Especially in terms of being able to use their skillset and develop their careers through a clear career pathway structure.
Andrea was awarded the inaugural Bruce Vivash Jones Award in 2015 for outstanding contribution to the advancement of small animal veterinary nursing and was an elected member of the RCVS Veterinary Nurses Council between 2002 and 2019.
Andrea has extensive experience of supporting VNs through their training, which started when she was the senior nurse at the Animal Health Trust – where she gained her Certificate in Small Animal Nutrition and her RCVS Advanced Diploma.
She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and completed her Masters in the area of e-learning and its value to a VN curriculum. Andrea is currently completing her PhD on Reviewing the Factors which Influence Retention within the Veterinary Nursing Profession.
She was with the University of Bristol for 17 years. During this time, Andrea developed the first graduate training programme for VNs and introduced a Masters by Research programme for VNs. She also helped to develop the first model of care for veterinary patients, known as the Orpet and Jeffery Ability Model (2007).
Lisa 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!
Tim Richardson – Chief Operating Officer
Prior to becoming COO, Tim was Managing Director of two referral hospitals – Davies Veterinary Specialists and Southfields Veterinary Specialists. Tim worked with the hospitals’ senior leadership and their teams to provide the highest quality care to a growing number of patients. In 2021, he also became Managing Director of London Veterinary Specialists and a number of our primary care sites, supporting regional management and practice leadership teams.
With more than 20 years’ experience in primary care covering mixed and small animal practice, Tim has worked in the UK and Iceland. He ran his own clinic in London for a number of years and then became a vet for the Icelandic Government. On his return from Iceland in 2016, Tim joined Village Vet and then progressed into a range of regional management and practice leadership positions across the industry, before re-joining Linnaeus in 2020.
Tim lives in Hackney, East London, and enjoys all of the live music, sourdough and dog walking opportunities that it has to offer.
Professor 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.
Marina Zain – Legal Director
Marina is an experienced, adaptable and pragmatic senior in-house lawyer with experience in a wide range of industries and geographies. She joined Linnaeus in January 2020.
Marina began her career in Malaysia with IBM as a contract negotiation specialist. She worked on deals with IBM’s clients and provided deal support and work teams across ASEAN and Asia Pacific. Marina was also involved in contract management for IBM’s larger outsourced services contracts. After moving to the UK permanently, she has worked in various senior in-house roles for organisations such as EMC, Pegasystems and Coventry University.
She also served as Head of Legal for the Royal Shakespeare Company and during her time there oversaw the restructure of the legal department, appointment of their first legal panel and assisted with the company’s inaugural tour of China, amongst other things.
Additionally, Marina has been on the Board of Governors for the London Contemporary Dance School – designated a National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England.
Marina has a proven track record and believes in a culture of mutual respect, working collaboratively with her team and across functions.
Marina is Malaysian and was brought up in Kuala Lumpur. She now lives in the UK with her husband and their Golden Retriever, Bailey and Norwegian Forest cat, Montague. She speaks Malay and Bahasa Indonesia. Marina has a degree in law from Bristol University and is an advocate and solicitor of the Malaysian Bar. In her spare time, Marina has a passion for history, travel and food, as well as being an avid amateur photographer and digital artist.