Gordon Wilson

Chair, Various

Gordon has more than 30 years’ experience of building global distribution platforms at scale in his executive career in travel and FinTech and in his non-executive career in gambling and financial services.

He has managed sponsor exits both through IPO (he took Travelport public on the NYSe in 2014) and through sales to either private equity (Travelport in 2019 for an EV of $4.4bn) or to trade buyers (interactive investor (£1.49bn), William Hill (£2.9bn)). He has managed through multiple refinancings, debt raises, M&A deals and ownership structures in both his executive and non-executive career.

He has extensive BtoB experience (Travelport, eNett, BCD Holdings and now Nucleus) and BtoC experience (Ambassador Cruise Line, William Hill and interactive investor). He has managed innovation and growth. Travelport became the leading player in airline merchandising and through eNett built a business which settled $1m in 2013 and $23bn by 2019 in BtoB payments in the travel space.  Ambassador is a brand-new cruise line, which launched commercially in July 2021, had its maiden season commencing April 2022 and is adding a second ship into its operations from May 2022.  It targets the over 50s demographic with a no fly, premium value and environmentally responsible offering.  Interactive investor, largely though not entirely through acquisition, grew to become the #2 Direct to Consumer investment platform in the U.K. with a mission to put consumers in control of their financial future.  It has a unique flat-fee model offering over 40,000 UK and international investment options including shares, funds, trusts and EFTs.  Assets under administration were approaching £55bn with over 400,000 customers upon sale to abrdn in May 2022.

Gordon has significant international experience. Travelport operated in 180 countries and had its business split one third equally between EMEA, NAM and APAC. William Hill and now Virgin Experience Days have significant expansion opportunities in the USA whilst BCD Holdings comprises the global travel management company, BCD Travel and Park’n’Fly which operates car parking services at several significant US airports.

For the majority of his career, he has been driven by technology.  Travelport transacted 6 billion searches a day and its entire offering was digital including running the core operating systems of Delta Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, designing building and running the mobile apps of easyJet, Singapore Airlines and Etihad and distributing globally one of the most perishable products in the mass market in real-time and on a truly 24×7 basis with everything involved in doing so from self-run data centres, to cloud, to the use of predictive analytics and AI. 

His not-for-profit activities include acting as a Trustee for the Cooper’s Hill Recreational Trust which operates to provide leisure facilities to his local community in Surrey (mainly football and tennis). He was a member of the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council from 2011 to 2019 (leading global travel industry trade association).

Gordon grew up in the Midlands with Scottish parents, attended his local comprehensive school, won a scholarship to and graduated with a Double First in Law from Clare College, Cambridge University.  He has lived and worked in Portugal, South Africa and the USA as well as the U.K.

Current Non-Executive Positions

  • Chair, Virgin Experience Days
  • Chair, Nucleus Financial Platforms Limited
  • Chair, Ambassador Cruise Line
  • Member of Supervisory Board, BCD Holdings
  • Trustee of Coopers Hill Recreational Trust

1. What values are most important to you as a leader? 

Honesty, Passion, Curiosity, Resilience and a sense of humour. 

2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My brother – he unfortunately died of leukaemia aged 44 but he managed in what turned out to be a short life to set up and build two successful businesses and to do this exhibiting the sort of qualities I have listed as the most important for a leader in his business and personal life.  If I can be half as good as he was, then I would be thrilled and this is very much – and always will be – a work in progress.

3. Best piece of advice you have been given?

Only worry about the things you can do something about.

4. What would you tell your younger self?

Pace yourself.

5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?

That tomorrow is another day – no matter how bad it can sometimes get, the problem always seems more manageable once you have had something to eat and some sleep.