David Bridgford (53) was Merlin Entertainment plc’s Strategy Director from 2010 to 2016. During that time he oversaw business planning, strategic acquisitions and corporate development for the rapidly growing Group. Amongst other things, this involved acquiring businesses in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey and China. One of the businesses he bought was an aquarium then run by Paragon chairman, Mark Taylor (would you buy a used aquarium from your chairman?) Prior to taking on the strategy role at Merlin, David ran Merlin’s finance department as Director of Corporate Finance, a role he also performed for The Tussauds Group from 2002 until it was sold to Merlin in 2007. David trained as an accountant with Touche Ross, a Deloitte predecessor firm, and from 1990 to 2002 was in the Deloitte corporate finance advisory team in London specialising in private equity and leisure transactions, latterly as a partner. In his spare time David is learning beekeeping and is a keen skier and runner, when his ageing office legs allow.