our team

Meet the ILG Team

A dynamic and proven leadership team united in their belief to re-imagine the golf retail, ecommerce and leisure sector, internationally. In every other way, we are a complementary blend of financial, retail, experiential, fashion, branding, data analysis and customer relationship management experience.

  • Gary Favell

    Chief Executive Officer
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    Gary has more than 40 years’ experience building successful retail brands, having worked at Magnet, MFI, Wyevale and Bathstore. He traces his command of detail to his earlier career as a trained horseman in the Royal Armoured Corps.

    In 2018 he took on the challenge of expanding sales at the UK’s largest golf retailer, American Golf, replacing golf’s traditional stale attitudes with a new inclusivity.

    After mystery shopping the stores to gather insights, he formulated plans that would transform the distribution model, strengthen cashflow and pinpoint talent. The goal is to create long-term growth by transforming the stores into family-friendly venues, welcoming to all golfers.

  • Simon Owers

    Chief Financial Officer
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    A fellow of the ICAEW, Simon had 19 years’ experience of corporate restructuring before joining ILG in 2019. He has since been instrumental in driving accelerated growth across the group.

    After 10 years with KPMG LLP, he set up his own company in 2009, targeting owner managed and PE-backed businesses. He received instructions from financial institutions and was engaged by companies to undertake interim roles including Financial Director, developing turnaround strategies and sustainable recovery plans.

    As CFO of ILG, Simon is responsible for all the group’s financial functions, operational and financial strategies, assessment of organic and acquisition expansion opportunities, governance and risk management.

  • Stuart Middlemiss

    Chief Commercial Officer
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    Stuart started his retail career on the shop floor, quickly advancing to management roles. He has worked mainly in the sport/lifestyle and fashion sectors and held executive positions at JJB, Sports Direct, Newcastle United and Sunderland FC. He joined American Golf in 2018.

    His principal passion is for the commercial side of retail, including buying and merchandising, ecommerce, trading, wholesale and licencing. Stuart has extensive experience developing brands from concept to market leadership and for transforming customer insights into action.

    Stuart’s current responsibilities are to drive commercial growth across the International Leisure Group, particularly its own brand portfolio including Golfino, Stromberg, Benross and Rife.

  • Norman Howie

    Director of Sales
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    ‘Norm’ started out as a rookie salesman at MFI over 35 years ago, rising to Regional Director then Sales Director at Hammonds Group, Bathstore and ILG.

    He takes pride in developing an army of individuals into a successful team, and sees strong customer relationships and exceptional service as the key elements to growing any business. At ILG this means continuing to dominate the European golf market by welcoming every golfer with family-friendly, inclusive facilities.

    Life and business will always produce frustrations, however. Norm’s come from supporting Leeds United since the age of 4. He has experienced elation and heartache, but always believes he’s backing a winner!

  • Michelle Del Piano

    Retail Operations Director
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    Dancer turned Retail Director, Michelle’s career has been anything but traditional. The early signs were there when she was the only student in her college to combine performing arts with Business Studies.

    After running an entertainments business in Greece, Michelle moved into car sales for Ford, gained experience in luxury retail, spent five years in senior roles with Phones4You, then led Operations at MFI, Moben and Dolphin.

    A proven leader in target-driven environments, Michelle joined American Golf in 2019. She heads up retail operations, logistics, customer contact, IT and loss prevention, while also being a busy mum. Her interests include walking, fitness and, yes, golf.

  • Scott Taylor

    Director of CRM & Data Analytics
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    Scott has been leading and innovating customer-centric strategies in the fashion industry for 17 years. Starting at Uniqlo, he then worked at Arcadia Group, OFFICE and Ted Baker. In 2016 he became Selfridges’ Head of CRM and Loyalty, handling numerous transformation projects as well as the transition to GDPR.

    After working as Customer Director for luxury brand Lane Crawford, leading strategic initiatives in Hong Kong and mainland China, Scott joined American Golf in 2021, overseeing all aspects of the customer journey to drive satisfaction and retention. His next challenge is using his mastery of Big Data, analytic skill and creativity to develop our forthcoming CRM and loyalty programme.