Director biographies

Tony Rowe OBE

Chief executive and chairman

Tony left school at the age of 15 and joined the Royal Marines Band as a drummer and bugler. Made redundant from the Royal Marines in 1973, he started a company selling and repairing powerboat engines. He went on to race powerboats successfully becoming the British champion winning the Rouen 24hr powerboat race and setting a new British water speed record.

In 1982, the Government announced that they were going to open up the telephone market. Tony immediately recognised the potential business opportunity and persuaded Mark Delling and Brian Lodge, both of whom were working in the boat industry, to retrain and work in his new company, South West Telecoms, selling computers and business telephony systems.

The company has grown to become a complete communications business and has rebranded and changed its name to South West Communications Group to emphasise that fact.

Tony is also the chief executive and chairman of Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club, who play in the Aviva Premiership.

Tony was awarded the OBE for services to business, sport and charity in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Harry Langley

Managing director

Harry Langley joined South West Communications Group as commercial director in 2000 before becoming managing director in 2006.

Before joining South West Communications Group, Harry spent 10 years gaining a variety of commercial experience in banking, plant hire and quarrying.

The father-of-three completed an MBA in 2001 following five years of part-time study to complement the BSc (Hons) agriculture degree he gained from Seale-Hayne in Newton Abbot in 1990.

Harry also played for Exeter Chiefs for 10 years, racking up 256 appearances, and was selected to represent Devon, South West Division and England Students.

Sarah Flowers

Sales director

Sarah joined South West Communications Group in 1986 after graduating from Sheffield University with a degree in human physiology.

She started out as a trainee sales executive rising to field sales manager in 1988. She then became a non-executive director before becoming a shareholding director in 1995.

Sarah has been involved in a number of fundraising events in recent years – she helped South West Communications Group raise £30,000 for the Prince’s Trust in 2009 and 2010, arranged a black tie event in the autumn of 2012 raising £20,000 for Wooden Spoon and the Exeter Foundation, and climbed 5,500 metres up challenging Himalayan terrain, alongside group sales director Brian Lodge, in 2012 to raise a further £3,000 for the Exeter Foundation.

She is a keen Exeter Chiefs’ fan and attends all home matches and many of the away ones too.

Brian Lodge

Group engineering director

Brian actually qualified as a yacht builder and subsequently met Tony Rowe through the latter's powerboat engine business. Training initially in London on the first telephone systems released under BT's liberalisation in 1983, he then went on to become an expert in communication equipment installation and configuration.

Brian took a 9-month working holiday to Australia to build yachts then extended his sabbatical when Australia won the America's Cup and his skills became very sought after.

Now the director in charge of the engineering division of South West Communications Group, he is accredited as both a PRINCE2 practitioner and IOSH health & safety manager.

The father-of-two has a passion for sports bikes and is a keen motorcyclist. He is a director on Exeter Chiefs' board and also loves sea fishing, kayaking and generally messing about in boats.

Sarah Tadd

Finance director

Sarah joined South West Communications Group in 2005 as group accountant before becoming finance director in 2009.

After graduating from Stirling University with a degree in economics in 1983, Sarah worked as an economist and an outdoor sports leader before moving to Devon when she married her husband Phil. She trained as a chartered accountant with a Devon firm and progressed through a variety of accountancy roles before moving to South West Communications Group.

Sarah still enjoys outdoor sports, including sailing and running with local Hash House Harriers. She is a volunteer business mentor for the Prince’s Trust.

Sean Doyle

Director of general operations

Sean joined South West Communications Group in 1995 at 21 years of age while juggling a semi-professional career playing rugby for Exeter Chiefs.

The father-of-three made more than 100 appearances for Exeter, and had represented the Devon senior team and South West U21s before a serious leg injury ended the former full-back’s career.

The injury led to him turning his full-time attention to South West Communications Group and he progressed to become operations manager in 2007. Sean has furthered his education during this time by taking a BA in business management through part-time education in Exeter.

Sean became a director in 2010.

Away from Communications House, Sean enjoys watching rugby and still follows Exeter Chiefs, as well as being a big Liverpool FC fan. He also enjoys spending time with his three children.

John Holdstock

Director of ICT

John left Exeter College at 18 and embarked on a career working with various networking contractors in the South East and the City before spending a year travelling in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The father-of-one returned to Exeter to working for local networking companies and contracting throughout the UK before joining South West Communications Group in 2000 to become its ICT manager.

John became South West Communications Group's data centre manager when it opened in 2001 and a director in 2010.

In his spare time, John enjoys outdoor activities, including surfing and cycling.

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