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Home / About Sponge / Our People

Our people.

Sponge is lucky enough to attract many of the industry's best and brightest. Meet some of our senior leaders below or, find out more about careers at Sponge.

Meet some of our senior leaders.

Adam Poulter


Adam Poulter is the CEO of Sponge Group. Adam joined Sponge in May 2021 and is responsible for leading the business strategy and the overall success of the Group. Adam brings a wealth of international expertise from a career in private equity-backed media-tech and SaaS businesses including platform buy-and-build. 

Adam’s remit is to create an integrated portfolio of international elearning services, initially from the four strategic investments in digital learning that Aliter Capital has made. His focus is on consolidating and expanding a domestic position in the UK whilst developing the Group’s footprint in Europe and the USA.

Alan Bourne

Director of Business Operations

Alan Bourne is the Director of Business Operations at Sponge. With over 15+ years’ experience, Alan has worked in a variety of roles across Sponge; from hands-on programming, leading production teams, and now overseeing the strategic business-focused programmes of work. Alan’s extensive experience in the elearning sector, understanding of business change and driving performance, means he is perfectly positioned to support the business on achieving its objectives.

Working closely with the CEO, Leadership and Management teams, Alan brings a level of rigour, detail, planning and accountability to the team to ensure the business is delivering on its promises.

Ben Barker

Head of Sales EU & Country Manager DACH

Ben Barker is the Head of Sales for EU and the DACH Country manager, with a specific focus on Compliance Solutions and DACH Operations. Since joining Sponge in July of 2022 he has played a key role in product enhancements, and increased customer satisfaction ratings.

Ben has over 15 years of leadership experience and his mission at Sponge is to drive a customer centric culture. He leverages his experience transforming organizations in North America and Europe to drive an internal, winning culture.

As Head of Sales EU he is responsible for client management, innovating on current solutions, and delivering on high quality Sponge products and services across Europe.

Claire Winfield

Head of Client Delivery

Claire Winfield is Head of Client Delivery at Sponge. She joined the company in April 2021 and brings a depth of knowledge and experience in project management, particularly in the digital learning industry.

Responsible for the UK bespoke portfolio and the Project Managers that deliver those projects, her focus is the day-to-day operations of the team, continuous improvement and ensuring a seamless client experience.

Henry Stapleton

Head of Commercial Finance

Henry Stapleton is the Head of Commercial Finance for Sponge. Henry joined Sponge in January 2022 and is the finance business partner to the whole company, providing support and insight across a range of commercial & financial matters.

Henry is a chartered accountant having trained with the accountancy firm EY in its audit practice. He then moved into commercial finance with roles at both Sky plc and Ovo Energy.

Henry leads the business’ budgeting and forecasting cycles and, as part of the management team, is responsible for helping shape and execute the company’s strategic goals.

Jonathan Gaskell

Sales Director

Jonathan leads Sponge’s sales business, joining the company in May 2023. He is responsible for executing the GTM strategy and growing the company’s UK and international footprint across our SaaS and Bespoke business whilst ensuring we continue to solve real problems for our clients and consistently deliver data-driven value.

Jonathan has spent the past fifteen years working with, and leading teams in, start-up and hypergrowth SaaS sales organisations, including LinkedIn and Pluralsight, across Europe and APAC.

Julia Pugh

Head of Risk and Compliance

Julia is responsible for ensuring Sponge’s business organisation, policies, procedures and practices are compliant with all relevant legal, governance and regulatory frameworks relevant to our sector and those in which our clients operate.

Julia’s experience in Governance, Risk and Compliance has been developed through a compliance career in Business Process Outsourcing and Consultancy. She is an IRCA qualified Lead Auditor and Six Sigma blackbelt.

Kassir Kayani

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Kassir (Kass) Kayani is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Sponge Group. Kass joined Sponge in January 2022 and is responsible for leading the technology and product teams.

A successful product and technology leader, Kass has worked in large enterprises, as well as smaller start-ups. His experience spans tech businesses in IoT, media and telecoms, right through to more traditional industries, such as security and eyewear. Some of the high-profile businesses Kass has held leadership roles in, include: O2, Hive (British Gas), 3, BskyB, Now TV and GiffGaff.

Kerry Goodman

Chief People Officer (CPO)

Kerry joined Sponge in June 2021 and is responsible for leading the People team as well as building the strategy needed to grow an organisation of talented professionals.

Kerry has more than 20 years of experience building best-in-class People functions for major and private equity-backed organisations, including: Kingfisher Group, Carillion, Halfords and Brightside Group. Kerry has a proven record of transforming employer brand, and employee engagement and retention through powerful people strategy, as well as building solid, relevant employee value propositions.

Kirsty Morrison

Head of People Operations

Kirsty joined Sponge in January 2022 and is responsible for the People operations and resourcing teams. Kirsty provides strategic counsel on all people matters throughout the employee lifecycle and is responsible for contributing and driving the people agenda, ensuring Sponge remains a great place to work.

Kirsty has broad industry exposure within People functions and significant experience in major people change programmes, having to adapt rapidly to design and deliver effective people solutions, acting as a people champion and anticipating people-related needs.

Lisa Coyte

Head of Creative Services

She joined Sponge in early 2017 and has been leading the Creatives Services team since 2020. Lisa brings a wealth of leadership and people centric experience across multiple sectors in both start up and FTSE 500 businesses.

Her remit is to facilitate an environment in Creative Services where different disciplines collaborate to create unforgettable learning for Sponge’s clients. She believes in fostering a culture where teams are not only encouraged to explore more effective and efficient ways to deliver an output greater than the sum of its part, but have opportunities to grow and progress whilst doing so.

Martin McLaren

Head of Client Experience

He manages Sponge’s Client Support teams in the UK and Germany, providing expert technical assistance to Sponge’s clients and helping them unlock the value in the Sponge products and services they use.

Martin has more than two decades of experience in providing software support services for both industry-leading software companies, and bespoke agencies. A firm believer in ‘walking in our clients’ shoes’, Martin strives to understand client challenges as a pathway to continually improving the level of service Sponge provides.

Matt Riley

Head of Growth

Matt Riley is Head of Growth at Sponge. 

With a strong background in Digital Marketing and technical delivery in a start-up environment, Matt is well-placed to increase the visibility and demand generation for the business in the UK and internationally.

Nate Bannister

Practice Lead

Nate Bannister is a Learning Strategist at Sponge. He specialises in learning strategy and solutions and consults with global businesses in tech, pharma, retail and manufacturing. During his tenure in the industry, Nate has designed a digital replacement for the world’s most iconic onboarding experience and a learning campaign for the highest profile cybersecurity awareness programme. Leading our team of learning innovators, The Practice, he works closely with our clients to ensure they receive learning initiatives that truly are unforgettable.

Olivia Haywood

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Olivia joined Sponge in July 2021 and is responsible for Sponge's go-to-market strategy, leading our marketing teams in the UK and DACH regions, and defining the corporate positioning and brand messaging across all of our marketing channels.

She has spent the last decade in senior marketing roles in the education sector, and brings to Sponge her experience in brand management, influential communications, and integrated MarComms strategy. Over the last 10 years, she has worked in buy-and-build environments, overseeing the acquisition and integration of over 35 brands.

Olivia holds a Double First in English Literature and Language from the University of Oxford.

Rob Curtis

Director of Client Success

Rob Curtis is the Director of Client Success at Sponge. Rob joined Sponge in November 2022 and is responsible for ensuring that Sponge delivers solutions that delight customers, in a repeatable and reliable manner. Rob leads the project management functions within Sponge.

Rob brings a wealth of delivery team leadership experience, particularly within the mobile software and financial platform areas. Rob also has extensive experience working with overseas suppliers and customers.

Rob’s remit is to own the customer relationship during project delivery, and the quality and success of the delivery itself.

Tim Lyons

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Tim Lyons is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Sponge Group. Tim joined Sponge in August 2021 to lead the strategic, commercial and operational finance activities. In addition to finance, Tim also oversees the operational delivery functions across the group.

Tim is an experienced CFO, having worked across a range of businesses, predominantly private equity-backed and across B2B services, SaaS and marketplace platform verticals. Tim adds strong strategic and commercial acumen to the leadership team, complemented by experience in mergers and acquisitions. 

Zach Romain

Head of Product Innovation

Zach Romain is Head of Product and Innovation at Sponge. He specialises in distilling complex ideas, challenges and data trends into simple and easily digestible solutions that deliver meaningful results. 

Zach has over 15 years’ experience in the technology and digital learning industry, working across support, design and integration of enterprise software systems. With a background in leading the delivery of global learning programmes, tools and platforms, he is passionate about improving the employee experience and delivering business transformation. 


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