Salisbury Associates


Who We Are

John Mayo, CBE - Chairman

John Mayo

John has a track-record of more than twenty-five years of initiating, structuring and executing creative business transactions and financings and of managing acquired businesses through restructuring, value release and successful exits.

As an investment banker in the 1980s and early 1990s, John advised UK and international companies and private equity groups on corporate and financial strategy and on the execution of all types of private and public transactions.  

Some of the more prominent transactions John advised on are: structuring and executing the $9 billion tax free spin-off of Zeneca Group plc by ICI plc; the privatisation of Irish Life ($750 million); the IPO of Wellcome plc ($1.5 billion); the sale by auction of Thistle Hotels ($1.0 billion); the public takeover of Pentland Group plc ($500 million) by Bertrams Investment Trust (market capitalisation less than $5 million); and the disposal of 32% of Reebok ($500 million) at above market price.  During this period he was at Warburgs (now part of UBS), and latterly served as a member of S.G. Warburg & Co. Ltd’s board of directors.

In late 1992, John joined ICI in order to direct the spin-off and IPO of Zeneca Group plc, which was completed in 1993.  He was appointed Finance Director of Zeneca ahead of the spin off, in which Zeneca raised $2 billion of equity and achieved an initial market capitalisation of $9 billion.  Under his direction, Zeneca then sold off its specialty chemicals businesses (e.g. Colours to BASF), invested in pharmaceuticals (e.g., Zomig, a product bought from Wellcome when it was acquired by Glaxo) and biotechnology (e.g. a 20% stake in Sugen, Inc.).  In 1997, he initiated the merger between Zeneca and Astra.  In September 1997, John left to join The General Electric Company plc (“GEC”) as Finance Director.  When he left Zeneca in 1997 it had a market capitalisation of over $30 billion, an increase of $21 billion in 4 years.

When John joined, GEC had a market capitalisation of around $10 billion.  The shareholders wanted the group to be restructured and broken up into three separate businesses in a tax efficient way.  By the end of 1999, GEC had IPO’ed its Power Engineering business for $2 billion (Alstom); demerged/spun-off the Defence Systems business (which was simultaneously merged with BAe Systems), with GEC Shareholders directly receiving 36% of the enlarged group in BAe shares and loan notes worth a combined total of $10 billion; and listed the remaining Telecommunications Equipment business (as Marconi).  At its peak (in autumn 2000) these three spin-offs were worth over $45 billion.  The board of Marconi rejected John’s recommendation in early 2000 that Marconi be sold at that time.  Marconi’s share price, like those of other telecommunications equipment companies, fell sharply in late 2000 and 2001.  John left Marconi in July 2001.

Since 2001, John has founded and grown several businesses including Beehive Capital, an FSA regulated investment banking boutique; Salisbury Associates, Europe’s leading advisor in proxy solicitation and acceptance chasing in major deals and Home Callcentre, a business that provides working opportunities for people who are house-bound and which has a special focus on cutting the costs of UK charities.

During the last 10 years John has served as a non-executive director on the boards of the following public companies: Schlumberger, Alstom, Newcastle United, and Pentland.  He has also served on the following UK public bodies: The Takeover Panel; The Confederation of British Industry’s Companies Committee; Her Majesty’s Treasury Public Sector Productivity Panel; and the FTSE Policy Committee.  In 1999, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), in recognition of his services to British industry.

Martyn Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Martyn Smith

Martyn has 25 years experience in the Financial Services and Corporate Finance sectors.

Martyn has 9 years with Salisbury which has covered well in excess of $1,000 billion of global transactions for clients such as Rio Tinto, Mittal Steel, Pepsico, Marks and Spencers, British Energy, BP, BT, mmO2, National Grid and GE. Martyn is also a partner in Beehive Capital LLP; a boutique London Corporate Advisory house and manager of several Private Equity Fund Managers.

Martyn has helped to develop the Salisbury business with a particular passion for the service to clients and aligning our success with that of our clients. He has evolved the Salisbury technology platform to the current state of the art solutions including the in-house contact centre and the virtual contact centre solution which enables the flexibility our clients demand. He is leading the expansion of the business into more traditional outsourcing opportunities for clients based upon long term relationships, under the Salisbury VCC brand, while building further the capability of Salisbury Associates to excel in the demanding arena of Corporate Finance transactions.

Martyn holds Non-Executive Directorships with ZGS Corporation and China Call Limited; communication companies focused on the Chinese market.

Prior to Salisbury Martyn was a founding director of a direct retail Bank for American Express, as well as managing their Pan-European cardmember service division for several years where he was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Excellence twice.

Martyn has held general management roles within the financial services outsourcing industry, as well as senior management roles within building societies and banks such as Nationwide, N&P and Abbey National.

Martyn is professionally qualified with the Financial Planning Certificate, the Certificate in Corporate Finance from the Securities and Investment Institute, as well as his Masters Degree in Business Administration.