Board of Directors

This section includes the Management Profiles of the Board of Directors of The Character Group plc.

Richard King

Non-Executive Chairman

Richard King has extensive experience in the toy industry and has been involved in importing consumer products from the Far East since 1969. He established the original business of The Character Group plc jointly with Mr Kissane and Mr Shah in 1991 and was until February 2016 the Group’s Executive Chairman.

Richard is responsible for ensuring the quality and sound approach to high standards of corporate governance and the effectiveness of the Board as a working group. He is Chairman of the Corporate Governance and Risk Management Committee and of the Nominations Committee and a member of the Audit and Remuneration Committees.

Kiran Shah

Joint Managing Director and Group Finance Director

Kiran Shah is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. After initially working in a private accountancy practice, he moved into industry and, since 1978, has been involved extensively in the toy industry, notably in his role in jointly heading up a successful management buyout of Merit Toys Limited in 1981 and its subsequent sale to Bluebird Toys plc in 1988. He jointly established the original business of The Character Group plc with Mr King and Mr Kissane in April 1991.

Kiran is jointly responsible with Mr Diver for the setting and implementation of the group’s corporate and competitive strategy and managing its commercial affairs and is responsible for the Group’s financial management, accounting, tax and legal affairs.

Jonathan Diver

Joint Managing Director

Jon Diver joined the business in September 1991 from Rainbow Toys Limited, where he was Senior Marketing Executive. He became Group Marketing Director in August 1994 and has developed close working relationships with the Group’s suppliers, including Licensors and Manufacturers. He has played a key role in determining and delivering the group’s diversified product development strategy. Jon is a past chairman of the British Toy & Hobby Association.

Jon is jointly responsibility with Mr Shah for the setting and implementation of the Group’s corporate and competitive strategy and managing its commercial affairs.

Joseph Kissane

Managing Director - Character Options Limited

Joe Kissane has considerable sales expertise both at retail and supplier base in and outside the toy industry, gained over a period of over 40 years, notably with such companies as Nabisco, Lego and Tonka. He is one of the founders of the Group and is a senior committee member, charity secretary, trustee and past chairman of the Toy Industry’s leading children’s charity The Fence Club.

Joe has direct responsibility for the sales and operational management of the Group’s principal UK trading subsidiary Character Options Limited, including overseeing relations with customers.

Michael Hyde

Managing Director - Far East Operations

Mike Hyde joined the Company in 2005 and was appointed to the Main Board in 2011. Prior to joining Character, Mike spent a number of years working for Mattel Inc., the NASDAQ listed US toy designer and manufacturer, where he held a number of management positions, focusing on brand management, marketing and product development. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Mandarin Chinese and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

Mike has direct responsibility for the operational management of the Group’s Far East operations, including overseeing relations with factory suppliers.

Jeremiah Healy

Group Marketing Director

Jerry Healy joined Character Options Limited (the Group’s principal trading subsidiary) in 2004 as Head of Marketing; he was promoted to Marketing Director in 2006 and then became Group Marketing Director in February 2016.  He has a wealth of marketing experience gained within the toy industry; prior to joining the Group he worked with Hornby Hobbies, Matchbox and Mattel, both in the UK and Europe and also at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.  Jerry holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Business Studies.

Jerry is responsible for setting and managing the Group’s product and customer focused marketing plans.

David Harris

Non-Executive Director

David Harris was appointed to the Board in 2004; he has very broad financial experience, gained over a 40-year career in both executive and non-executive capacities. He is currently a non-executive director of BMO Managed Portfolio Trust plc, which is a quoted company on the London Stock Exchange, and of Bens Creek Group plc, an AIM listed company.

David is Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and also a member of the Corporate Governance and Risk Management, Audit and Nominations Committees.

Clive Crouch

Non-Executive Director

Clive Crouch was appointed to the Board in February 2016.  His 35-year career in media included senior roles within GMTV a company he launched together with his fellow directors. From 1992 to 2007, Clive was GMTV’s Sales and Marketing Director. He attended The London Business School Senior Executive Programme in 2003. From 2007 he served as GMTV’s Chief Operating Officer until 2010, taking responsibility for the Channel’s License and Compliance to the Ofcom Broadcasting Codes.

Clive was a founder member of Think box, the ITV programme marketing company, and Clearcast, the quango that pre-clears all advertising copy for compliance to the advertising guidance codes. 

Clive now operates his own media consulting business and he remains actively involved in the toy industry, advising on such matters as regulatory, promotional activity and licensing.  He brings a wealth of relevant management and industry experience to the Board.

Clive is a member of the Audit, Corporate Governance and Risk Management, Remuneration and Nomination Committees.

Carmel Warren

Non-Executive Director

Carmel Warren was appointed to the Board in April 2021. Carmel is an experienced executive at both operational and board levels. From 2015-2019, Carmel served as Chief Financial Officer of D4t4 Solutions Plc (D4t4), the AIM quoted specialist in data platforms.  Between 2007-2015 she was Chief Financial Officer of Celebrus Technologies Ltd, a customer intelligence software company, which was subsequently acquired by D4t4 in 2015. Following a career break travelling to seven continents, she has most recently acted as interim Chief Financial Officer at Universe Group plc (AIM: UNG.L), a leading developer and supplier of retail management solutions, payment and loyalty systems. Prior to her PLC career Carmel spent eleven years with ExxonMobil in key financial and operational roles within the organisation and, for five years, operated her own Consultancy. She qualified as an accountant with Ernst & Young LLP in 1990.

Carmel is a member of the Audit Committee.