Who We Are

Robert Gillespie

A graduate of the university of Ulster in hotel and catering management, awarded the John Mc Gonigle memorial award for best final year student (1991); Robert also completed a post graduate cert in marketing management University of Ulster (1993) . Robert then worked as a market research graduate with IDB food promotion unit (now invest NI), produced market research reports for N. Ireland food companies wishing to export to other European markets.

With over 25 years management experience in the hotel industry, Robert spent the last 7 years running distressed hotel assets for some of the most prominent hotel companies in the UK and IOM, (Group operations manager), with his wealth of experience with start up businesses and trouble shooting.

He has been working on all aspects of the A&D Thornton Tea Merchants project since Jan 06. When he’s not blending tea, he loves to escape on his motorbike or yacht.

James Harley

Having been brought up in Kenya and educated at Portora Royal School, James graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Geology at Queens University in Belfast.

Following this James moved to work in the Banking sector in London. This was subsequently followed by business development positions based abroad, involving management of key accounts. Experience has been gained over the last 15 years in a variety of world markets including the Asian, Middle East and N & S American Regions. James has been involved in assisting Thorntons in establishing international links for key product lines.

Interests include world cultures and a variety of sports including sailing and rugby.