John Thurston, Watts Group’s Chairman

John Thurston, Watts Group’s Chairman, is the grandson of Arthur Watts, a former Chairman of the Group, and the great grandson of Josiah Watts who founded the original company, J.S. Watts & Son. After attending Wycliffe College, and reading mechanical sciences at Selwyn College, Cambridge, John worked briefly for Vauxhall and Marconi. He joined Watts in 1965 as a clerk with the heavy vehicle business. He has since been involved with all the Watts’ businesses, giving him considerable experience of the industries and markets in which the companies trade. He was appointed to the Board of Watts of Lydney Group Limited in 1974, becoming Group Managing Director in 1986. He has been Chairman of the Watts Group since 1999. He is a past President of the NTDA and BIPAVER. He has continued the Watts’ tradition of involvement in and support for the Forest of Dean and Gloucestershire communities. He takes a great interest in education and has served as a Governor for both the local College and Comprehensive school. He was a member of Gloucestershire Learning & Skills Council for seven years. John is a Deputy-Lieutenant for the County of Gloucestershire. He is also an active Freemason and is Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the Masonic Province of Gloucestershire.  He has recently completed his term of office as Warden for The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire.

Stewart Charters, Managing Director

Stewart Charters (MRSC CChem), started his career in the rubber industry with Chloride Lorival as management technical trainee, he then moved to the paper industry where he spent 23 years in various technical and operations roles. In 1987 he became Operations Director for J R Crompton specialist papermakers in Lydney and Lancashire ­ (turnover £45m) he also controlled and managed the start up of a new £38m factory in 1997. Stewart moved to Watts in 1998 and for 2 years from 1999 was MD of Watts Industrial Polymers. At Watts he has negotiated the investment in Sri Lanka for Watts Industrial Tyres Plc in 2004, and disposed of Watts Tyre and AutoCentres in 2001 and Watts Industrial Polymers in 2007, he is also a Director of Althorpe Properties Ltd and Plysolene.

Peter Rilett, Non Executive Member

Peter Rilett, is best known professionally for a number of high profile company administrations but since retiring recently as senior partner in charge of the Bristol office of KPMG, Peter is enjoying life in the third age. He brings his depth of experience and the benefit of his extensive network of friends and contacts in Bristol and the south west to the boards of a number of locally based companies including Centaur Services, Watts of Lydney and Advanced Transport Systems. He is a director of BusinessWest, a trustee of the Greater Bristol Foundation and of North Bristol NHS Trust and is a governor of Bristol Grammar School.

Piers Thurston, Non Executive Member

Piers Thurston, son of John and sixth generation of the family to be on the board. Piers has over 12 years experience in organisational change, brand innovation, and marketing with a background in both client side (e.g. Diageo, Mars, Walkers Snack foods) and agency side (Innovate, FutureBrand, Nitro). He has worked around the world with a range of clients such as Unilever, Nestle, Masterfoods, Ford, CPW, Coca-Cola, and Anglepoise. Piers is a founder and director of MakingChangeWork – an attitude and behaviour change consultancy. He is an accredited transformative coach, practitioner of the Three Principles, and skilled in a multitude of leadership and change approaches. You can read more about Piers at