Board of Directors
Meet our board


Dai Smith

Dai founded Premier in June 2003, with the aim of establishing a company that puts the clients’ needs first – as well as providing an excellent working environment.

Dai has over 30 years’ industry experience. Before setting up Premier, he was a European Partner at Mercer, specialising in providing Benefit Solutions to multinational clients.

Now, as Executive Chairman and Director of Premier Benefit Solutions, Dai has responsibility for the overall company strategy as well as the culture of the organisation. He remains involved with a wide range of clients.

He is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute.



Paul Couchman

Paul joined Premier in September 2005, having previously spent 22 years with Mercer – a major global consultancy.

While at Mercer, Paul enjoyed a varied career. He held senior leadership roles in Pensions Consulting, Third Party Administration and Business Development and Marketing. He was a Worldwide Partner and a UK Board member and also served on the Founding Council of the Institute of Customer Service.

As Managing Director of Premier Pensions Management and a Director of Premier Benefit Solutions, Paul has responsibility for all operational aspects of the UK business and leads on our business development and marketing strategy.

Paul is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute and serves on the UK Board and its Governing Council. He is also a regular speaker and Chair of industry seminars and conferences.



Joanne Williams

Joanne is a founder member of Premier Pensions Management.

Before Premier, Joanne worked for Mercer HRC as a Consultant and in Sainsbury’s internal pensions department. She has more than 15 years’ pensions experience, which has included roles in both administration and consultancy.

Joanne has a thorough and in-depth understanding of the operational issues involved in the management of pension plans. In addition to her client consulting role, she is a Director of Premier Pensions Management and is responsible for Human Resource issues.

Joanne has completed the Qualification in Pension Administration (QPA) examinations.



Ian Gutteridge

Ian joined Premier in November 2006, establishing the regulated side of the business.

Prior to joining Premier, Ian spent 17 years with one employer – albeit under the brand names of Noble Lowndes & Partners, Sedgwick and, following a sale to Barclays, as part of Barclays Corporate Pension and Benefits. Here, he held the positions of Head of UK Consulting and Head of Corporate Regulated Advice.

At Premier, Ian is head of all regulated activities incorporating Premier and Premier Benefit Solutions.

Highly competent in both personal and corporate advice, Ian has overseen large-scale individual and corporate advisory projects, which have included employee services and benefit transformation.



Martin Thompson

Martin joined Premier Benefit Solutions – our regulated business – as one of its founding directors in April 2007.

Martin’s benefits career stretched back more than 20 years. He was previously Head of Employee Benefits Consultancy at Barclays Corporate Pensions and Benefits, and also worked for Sedgwick Financial Services and Sedgwick Noble Lowndes.

At Premier, he leads the benefits team and is responsible for contract based pensions, group risk, healthcare and employee benefits. He works hard to help employers maximise the effectiveness of their benefit arrangements, and help employees understand and appreciate the benefits provided. 

Martin is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute, an Associate of the Personal Finance Society and is also a Chartered Financial Planner.



Alastair Aird

Alastair has worked as a non-exec Director with Premier Pensions Management since 2004.

As Non-Exec Director, Alastair chairs the management meetings, analyses the financial and operational structure of the business and helps set the strategic direction for the future. He also provides day-to-day management business advice.

Alastair is a chartered accountant and has worked in a number of senior International financial and operational roles at Walt Disney, Publicis and most recently WPP. He is currently Worldwide COO of Mediaedge:cia, the media subsidiary of WPP, overseeing the global operations of over 200 businesses and 4000 staff.


Peter Smith

Peter has worked as a non-exec director of Premier Pensions Management since its formation in June 2003. He provides financial management support to the Board.

Peter is currently Director Specialist & Acquisition Finance for Yorkshire Bank – part of the National Australia Group based in Manchester. He has been in banking since 1978, and has held positions in NatWest and the Bank of Scotland.

He has wide ranging experience in the Banking sector, ranging from start-ups to PLCs. His work covers relationship management, credit committees, business development and corporate finance transactions.