Board of Directors

Neil Johnson is an Executive Director and Duke Royalty’s Chief Executive Officer with responsibility for the overall strategic direction and performance of the company. Working closely with the other Board members and the Investment Committee, he leads all deal origination, due diligence and structuring. 

Mr. Johnson has over 20 years of experience in investment banking, merchant banking, and research analysis in both the Canadian and UK capital markets. In 2012 he co-founded and became Chief Executive Officer of Difference Capital Financial, a Canadian publicly listed merchant bank. For the previous 19 years he worked for Canaccord Genuity, first in Canada and later at Canaccord London rising to the positions of Head of Corporate Finance (Europe), Global Head of Technology, and a member of the Global Executive Committee. Mr. Johnson was instrumental in the firm becoming authorised as a nominated adviser for AIM and regulated in the UK and London Stock Exchange Main Market listings; he spearheaded the firm's diversification into the technology industry, and led Canaccord’s initiative to attract North American firms to list in London. 

During his tenure the Canaccord European operation grew revenues from less than £5 million to over £50 million, completed over 100 transactions and raised in excess of £3 billion for North American companies listed in London.  

Mr. Johnson is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst Charterholder.

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Charlie Cannon-Brookes is an Executive Director of the company and works alongside the CEO on deal origination, due diligence and structuring. In addition Mr. Cannon-Brookes is Duke Royalty’s liason with UK institutions / advisors and has oversight of Duke Royalty’s corporate governance and UK plc responsibilities. 

Mr. Cannon-Brookes has over 15 years investment experience. He is the Investment Director of FCA authorised and regulated Arlington Group Asset Management Limited (AGAM) having acquired the business in October 2004. Through AGAM, Mr. Cannon-Brookes has been active in a variety of different investment management mandates and corporate finance transactions. In addition, he has successfully led a number of IPO and RTO transactions on the London markets. Prior to AGAM he worked for Arlington Group plc, an AIM quoted investment company and managed all of its public equity portfolio, as well as Jupiter Asset Management, ABN Amro and Barclays de Zoete Wedd. He has extensive fund management experience and has advised and sat on the board of a number of different funds, trusts and other operating public companies.

Mr. Cannon-Brookes holds a BA Honours degree in Economics & Politics from the University of Exeter.

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Nigel Birrell is a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board. He works with the Executive Directors on deal origination and structuring. He has extensive public company experience and expertise in the gaming, media and insurance sectors.

Mr. Birrell was until recently Group Director on the Executive Board at digital entertainment plc, the world’s leading listed on-line gaming business, where he was responsible for all its mergers and acquisitions, business development and managing its investment portfolio. While at Mr. Birrell led the acquisitions of Gamebookers, Empire On-line and IOG’s casino operations, Cashcade, the World Poker Tour and Orneon. He was instrumental in devising, negotiating and transacting the merger between PartyGaming and, the largest online gaming deal in history. He has also led all its disposals including Ongame’s sale to Amaya. Prior to, Mr. Birrell was a director of the FTSE 250 media group HIT Entertainment. He also worked as an investment banker with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson. Since leaving Mr Birrell has served on the Board of LottoLand Limited, a Gibraltar regulated fast growing gaming group as its Managing Director. He is also a Director of Delta Management Limited and is a Non-Executive Director of Southern Rock Insurance Company Limited.

Mr. Birrell holds a LLB in Law from the University of London (Queen Mary College) and qualified as a solicitor of the Supreme Court.

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Jim Ryan is a Non-Executive director of the company and works with the Executive Directors on deal origination and structuring. He has extensive public company experience and expertise in the gaming and technology sectors. Mr Ryan is Chairman of the company’s audit committee.

Mr. Ryan joined Pala Interactive, LLC in July 2013 as CEO. Prior to joining Pala Interactive, LLC, Mr. Ryan served as a Co-Chief Executive Officer of digital entertainment plc from March, 2011 to January, 2013. Prior to the merger of PartyGaming and, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of PartyGaming plc from May, 2008 to March, 2010. He has also held executive positions with a number of online gaming companies which include Chief Executive Officer of St. Minver Limited , Chief Executive Officer of Excapsa Software Limited and the Chief Financial Officer of Cryptologic Software Limited. In addition to his role of CEO and board member of Pala Interactive, LLC, Mr Ryan also currently sits on the boards of Gaming Realms plc and WG Limited. 

Mr. Ryan holds a degree in business from the Goodman School of Business at Brock University and is a Chartered Accountant (Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants).

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Mark Le Tissier is a Non-Executive Director of the company. He is responsible for the oversight of the company’s corporate obligations in Guernsey.  

Mr. Le Tissier is the European Regional Director of Trident Trust with oversight over five offices, as well as the Managing Director of Trident Trust Guernsey and has worked for Trident for over twenty years. He has extensive board-level experience and has an in-depth knowledge of Guernsey and other jurisdictions' corporate and investment regulations. Mr. Le Tissier is a Trust & Estate Practitioner who has also completed the IOD Programme in company direction and is a resident in Guernsey.

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