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. After 17 years at the media and entertainment law chambers 5RB, he is now an Associate Member of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, having previously served as a legal adviser in HM Diplomatic Service. Iain is joint Consultant Editor of Tugendhat and Christie: The Law of Privacy and the Media and Secretary of the Civil Mediation Council.
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.
David Leigh (Board Member from 1st Dec. 2017) is Anthony Sampson professor of reporting at City, University of London. Until he retired from the paper in 2013, he was investigations editor at The Guardian for 13 years. In a journalism career spanning over 40 years he also worked for The Observer, The Times, The Scotsman, Granada TV, Thames TV and the Washington Post. He has won numerous journalism awards including Investigation of the Year 2015 (British Journalism Awards), Lifetime Achievement Award 2013, Global Investigative Journalism Network, and awards at the British Press Awards in 1979,1996 and 1997. He is the author of numerous books building on his investigative reports.
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 to commercial success, employing more than 350 staff and overtaking established competitors. An actuary, he was previously UK Marketing Director of insurer Scottish Provident and more recently was Chair of Engage Mutual Assurance. David is a former Governor and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh and 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.
Andrea Wills (Board Member from 1st Dec. 2017) has exceptional senior experience of broadcast journalism regulation, standard-setting, and investigating serious editorial failings both in the UK and Australia. She was Independent Editorial Adviser to the BBC Trust until its closure in April, investigating over 60 complaints about BBC content over 10 years. She began her career as a radio journalist and news editor and then executive producer of television programmes, before serving for 7 years as the BBC’s Chief Adviser, Editorial Policy. In Australia she worked for the ABC in Sydney, conducting independent reviews of broadcast content, developing editorial and media ethics standards, and training senior journalists.
You can read copies of our Board meeting minutes here: