Executive Management Board

Dr Tony Romero - Group CEO

Dr. Romero graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in Spain and went on to complete his psychiatric training within the NHS North London rotations. In 2002, he became Director of Psychiatric Services for NHP Plc. In 2004, Dr. Romero co-founded Cambian Group, which went on to become one of the largest independent healthcare providers in the U.K.

As Group Clinical Director he created Cambian’s unique model of care ‘Active Care’ which was key to Cambian’s success. He was assigned Managing Director responsibility for the adult division, before leading a management buyout from Cambian Group Plc to UHS in 2016 and becoming CEO of Cambian Adult Services. In November 2017 Dr Romero was appointed Group CEO of Cygnet.

Mark Ground - Chief Financial Officer

Mark is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and comes from a strong professional background. Having graduated from Exeter University, he spent eight years with Arthur Andersen, in both the Audit and Advisory and Consulting divisions. He moved on to Whitehead Mann Group Plc for six years, where he held the position of Group Finance Director and Company Secretary.

Mark joined Cygnet as Chief Financial Officer in December 2008. He is a statutory director and is primarily responsible for the Finance and Procurement departments. In his spare time Mark is a keen sportsman and enjoys spending time with his family.

Jenny Gibson - HR Director

Jenny began her career in HR in the railway industry, subsequently taking on a variety of HR roles, and building a keen interest in employment law. Moving into healthcare in 2005 with Cambian, Jenny was initially the sole HR person in the group. She was able to put into place systems and processes to support the business and grow the team.

As Cygnet's HR Director Jenny has the responsibility and privilege of managing a great group of people who look after resourcing, learning and development, HR operations and projects. In her spare time Jenny loves exploring new places and enjoys skiing and other outdoor activities.

Stephen Firn OBE - CEO Healthcare Division

Stephen Firn OBE has over 20 years’ experience of NHS Trust Boards in clinical, strategic and chief executive positions; including CEO of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, a mental health and community services provider. Until October 2020, he was programme director at NHS England and NHS Improvement, leading a national initiative to support provider collaboratives, and has held policy advisor roles at both the Department for Health and at the Royal College of Nursing. From 2018, through to late 2022, he held the positions of Non-Executive Director and Deputy Chair at Surrey and Borders NHS FT.

He joined Cygnet in January 2021 as an Independent Non-Executive Director, before becoming CEO of Cygnet’s Healthcare division in October 2022. Stephen remains a Non-Executive Director at the housing, care and support charity Look Ahead.

During a varied career in healthcare, which began when he joined the NHS as a student psychiatric nurse, Stephen is the recipient of a number of honours, including an Honorary Doctorate from Canterbury Christ Church University for outstanding contribution to public life and an OBE for services to healthcare, particularly mental health.

Gareth Williams - CEO Social Care Division

Gareth is a Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA & CGMA) and has over 12 years’ experience in executive board roles across the Independent Social Care Sector, including Chief Financial Officer, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy CEO roles at Choice Care and prior to that, Group Financial Controller at the Cambian Group. Gareth also led on the sale of Choice Care to Icon Infrastructure in 2018.

Gareth joined Cygnet in April 2022 as the Managing Director for Social Care, then became CEO of Cygnet Social Care in October 2022. Both quality and outcomes remain Gareth’s key focus and the most important people in the business are the service users and staff that he supports.

In his spare time, Gareth is a keen traveller and he also coaches rugby within the junior framework at London Welsh RFC.

Lee Hammon - Chief Commercial Officer

Lee joined Cygnet on the graduate programme after gaining a 1st class honours in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2000. His first substantive role was in 2001 where he was a General Manager for the St Andrew’s/Cygnet joint venture.

Since then, he has moved on to commission and operationally manage hospitals at Hospital Manager and Regional Director level, prior to his appointment as Managing Director (South) in November 2008. During this time, he was responsible for a number of hospital ‘turn-arounds’. He is currently the Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for managing the company’s vast array of NHS and Local Authority relationships, as well as identifying opportunities for business development and growth.

Outside of work, Lee is a keen footballer and has indeed helped Cygnet Hospital Beckton to win the company’s heavily-contested football tournament five times in total.

Dr Jon Van Niekerk - Group Clinical Director

Jon is a Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Jon has worked as a medical manager in the NHS and independent sector in different medical director roles. Jon was part of the first cohort of Medical Leadership Trainees in the North West Deanery and completed the NHS Graduate Management scheme alongside his higher specialist training. Jon was promoted to the Group Clinical Director role for Cygnet Health Care in January 2020, after joining Cygnet as Regional Medical Director for the South and London area.

Jon chairs the Group Clinical Governance, Drug and Therapeutics committee and is Cygnet’s Caldicott Guardian. Jon has led on the implementation of updated Clinical Models of Care across all service lines, launching successful recruitment initiatives for clinicians, co-created clinical dashboards and several quality improvement initiatives.

Jon has been involved with various different positions within the Royal College of Psychiatrists throughout his career, including past national chair of the Psychiatric Trainees Committee, elected member for the North West division and is the co-chair of the RCPsych Co-Production steering group that aim to share and produce best practice guidance for mental health organisations. Jon was elected as the national chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ General Adult Faculty (largest Faculty in the College) in 2023 after serving as an elected member of the faculty executive since 2019.

Jon is an Executive MBA candidate at the Warwick University Business School (London) completing a scholarship awarded programme (Healthcare specialism). Jon completed media training in 2019 and has since been a regular spokesperson for the College and Cygnet with television and radio appearances and contributed to newspaper, online and print journalism.

Jon’s main interests include digital transformation, system leadership, service improvement and change management within healthcare settings. Jon has published in the areas of medical leadership, recruitment and training of psychiatrists. In his spare time Jon likes to explore new places, go hiking and is a PADI approved Scuba diver.

David Wilmott - Director of Nursing

A Registered Nurse for more than 20 years, David has worked across a number of services including acute and mental health. David has experience of commissioning services from within the NHS, which gives him insight into the things that really matter to our service users and clients. David is keen to work closely with Commissioners to build productive relationships that will provide the foundation to excellent outcomes for those in our care.

David has a passion for Nursing Leadership, involving patients and residents in the improvement of services, and for patient safety. David is also Cygnet’s Mental Health (Use of Force) Act Responsible Person.

Justin De Vally - Chief Information Officer

Prior to joining Cygnet, Justin was the Director of IT for Elysium Healthcare and Partnerships in Care. Justin was previously Technical Director for many years at a technology provider to enterprise which included Healthcare among many sectors and a vast array of technologies.

Justin is responsible for all Information Technology and Information Management across Cygnet's services. His focus is on integrating all of the ICT systems across the group and identifying further improvements that can be made. The aim is to ensure that colleagues are able to focus their energy on ensuring our service users receive the best possible care, and that our systems empower them to do this.

Outside of work Justin enjoys going to the gym, playing the violin and also has an interest in classic cars.

Vicky McNally - Director of Partnership and Engagement

Vicky graduated in Law and worked in retail management briefly before joining Cygnet in 1995 as a management trainee. In 1996 she was appointed Hospital Director and was promoted to Regional Director in 2001. Vicky was Corporate Governance Director from 2008 through to late 2022. In October 2022 she began her current role as Director of Partnership and Engagement.

Vicky is responsible for identifying and developing corporate and organisational partnership opportunities, as well as building and maintaining relationships with internal and external stakeholders including the local communities we serve. Vicky is the corporate lead for any charitable requests or sponsorship. The Marketing, Communications and Complaints teams fall under her leadership. Vicky is the Executive Lead for the newly formed Women’s Network and is looking forward to seeing the Network grow and develop. Vicky is a trained Mental Health First Aider and is passionate about providing a supportive working environment that enables people to perform to the best of their abilities.

Vicky was an elected Board Member of the national Mental Health Network of the NHS Confederation and served on the Board for 6 years, the maximum term. She enjoys watching her sons play rugby and spends most weekends supporting from the side line or walking her dog, Betty.

Pam Wenger - Board Secretary

Pam joined Cygnet at the end of December 2021 as Board Secretary. This is a new role for Cygnet, which will provide advice, support and development of the Board. Pam will work alongside members of the Executive Management Team, reporting into Cygnet’s CEO and our parent company UHS.

In her last role Pam was the Director of Corporate Governance for Swansea Bay University Health Board and was Chair of the NHS Wales Board Secretary Peer Group. Pam has held a range of positions in health boards across Wales.

Pam is a qualified Governance Professional with extensive health service board and corporate governance leadership experience having spent the last 28 years working in the NHS. Pam has implemented governance frameworks and significantly improved governance to be well recognised by the Regulators.

Pam is passionate about people development. As a coach and mentor she has supported and developed many colleagues over the years to enable them to be the best they can be.

David Turner - Group Property Director

David is a chartered surveyor with significant experience in property development, facilities maintenance, health and safety management, procurement and executive management. His experience in the retail sector includes being Property Director and Operations Director at Regent Inns plc and Property and Tenancy Director at Young’s Brewery plc.

David's inspiration for joining the care sector is his aunt who has learning and physical disabilities. David's care sector experience includes being Property & Procurement Director at Cambian plc, and most recently Property Director at Caretech plc.

Outside of work David enjoys watching Harlequins rugby team and helping out at Battersea and his local RSPCA. He is also a trustee on the Council at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.