IMPRESS is governed by a Board with a wide range of skills and experience. The Chair and Board Members of IMPRESS are appointed by our independent Appointment Panel.
Walter Merricks CBE (Chair) was the first Chief Ombudsman of the Financial Ombudsman Service, with responsibility for an organisation of 1,500 staff and a £90m budget. He is a member of the Gambling Commission and has been involved in dispute resolution and regulation in the fields of legal services, healthcare, insurance, energy and intellectual property, among others. He has also worked as a legal journalist and academic.
Deborah Arnott (Board Member) is Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which has a reputation as one of the UK’s most effective campaigning charities. She was awarded the Alwyn Smith prize by the Faculty of Public Health for her role in getting the ban on smoking in public places. After gaining an MBA from Cranfield and working in print and TV journalism she set up and ran the Financial Service Authority’s consumer education function. As a producer and programme editor in current affairs and documentaries she developed and ran a wide range of programmes for ITV and Channel 4.
Iain Christie (Board Member) is a mediator, facilitator and actor with a background as a barrister in human rights and media law. He is an Associate Member of 5RB, the media and entertainment law chambers, having previously served as a legal adviser in HM Diplomatic Service. He is joint Consultant Editor of Tugendhat and Christie: The Law of Privacy and the Media. Iain is Secretary of the Civil Mediation Council and has a particular interest in dispute and conflict resolution through dialogue.
Martin Hickman (Board member) is a journalist and publisher who is passionate about press freedom and ethics. He is managing director of a publishing house, Canbury Press, which specialises in contemporary non-fiction books. In a 20-year career in local and national news, he worked as a reporter or editor for the Press Association, Reuters, and The Independent, where he was deputy news editor. In 2012, he co-authored a best-selling book about the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch.
Emma Jones (Board Member) is the former editor of Smash Hits magazine. As a news and showbusiness reporter, she worked for the Sunday Mirror, Mail on Sunday and the Sun (youngest Fleet St. columnist and Bizarre Deputy Editor.) Television work includes live presenting for Channel Four and ITV. Emma is Deputy Chair of Governors at Tidemill Academy, in Deptford, S.E London and serves on the board of Greenwich Dance.
Máire Messenger Davies (Board Member) is Emerita Professor of Media Studies at Ulster University. After working as a journalist on UK regional newspapers and magazines, she gained a psychology PhD studying how people learn from television. She has taught in media schools in Boston, Cardiff & London and has conducted research with Ofcom, IBA, Broadcasting Standards Commission, BBC and DCMS. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has served on the Boards of the Children’s Media Foundation and the Voice of the Listener and Viewer. She is author of several books, including Television is Good for Your Kids.
David Robinson (Treasurer and Senior Independent Board Member) founded the life insurance business Bright Grey in 2001 and grew it swiftly into a commercial success, employing more than 350 staff and overtaking established competitors. An actuary, he previously worked for 30 years at Scottish Provident and more recently as Chair of Engage Mutual Assurance. David is a former Governor and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. He is also a founder Trustee and Chair of the charity Smalls for All, which supports vulnerable women and children in Africa through the provision of essential personal items.
Patrick Swaffer (Board Member) is President of the British Board of Film Classification, the independent non-statutory body which provides trusted classification for film and video. He also sits as a Recorder in the Crown Court and is a partner in Media Compliance Services. He was for more than 30 years a solicitor with the firm Goodman Derrick, specialising in media law and working principally with broadcasters and book publishers. He frequently advised such clients when disputes arose regarding contentious material both prior to and after publication.
You can read copies of our Board meeting minutes here: