18 July 2023
Each July the Company's Master and Wardens change, a handover process that goes back centuries. The annual rotation of Masters empowers the most senior members of the membership to be at the coal face of the Company's work: ensuring that it continues to fulfill its duties in Fraternity, Education, and Philanthropy and remains connected with those across the membership and wider Merchant Taylor networks.
The role of Master is all-consuming, and so Wardens offer their support, sitting across the Company's committees alongside him and providing robust support to ensure his ambitions are affected throughout the year.
Find out more about your Master and Wardens below..
Master Mr Michael Cole-Fontayn
Educated at Wellington College, Michael went to the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis for one year and then to the University of Westminster. Following his studies, Michael joined The Bank of New York in 1984 as a graduate. He stayed for 35 years working around the world with assignments in New York (1985-1987) and Hong Kong (92-2000). From 2011-2017 he became Chairman and CEO of BNY Mellon Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He is now serving as the first independent Chair of Association Markets in Europe, and Chair of the European Executive Management Forum and the Association of Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).
A Trustee of the mental health charity, the Charlie Waller Trust, and of the education charity, Engage with China Ltd, Michael is also a patron for Women in Banking and Finance, and The City Veterans Network. In 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from the City of London University Bayes Business School.
Michael’s consultancy roles are prolific and is on several advisory boards, including Chair of The Chartered Institute For Securities and Investment, an Independent Board Member for JPMorgan Securities plc, and the Financial Markets Standards Board.
Additionally, Michael campaigns for diversity and inclusion, and last year came in at No.13 in the Financial Times’ Top 30 Male Champions of Women in Business, in recognition of his role in overseeing BNY Mellon’s EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Council and his extensive public advocacy for gender diversity in business.
He is the founding chairman of the 30% Club – a campaign with the goal of achieving a minimum of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards. He is a cross-company mentor and was awarded Mentor of the Year in 2017.
Married to Angela, they have five children and live between London and Wiltshire. Michael is also a member of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers.
First Upper Warden Mr Peter Magill
Peter was Master in 2017. Educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, Peter had careers in engineering and manufacturing before specialising in Human Resources, the last twenty-eight years with PWC. His last ten years with PWC took him around the world in a global role and, since retirement, he and his wife Pam have retraced most of it and more, visiting all seven continents.
Peter has Chaired the Charities Committee and is now Chair of Housing and Care.
After more energetic times running marathons, Peter now prefers a more leisurely game of golf.
Peter and Pam have two children, Charles and Claire, both Liverymen and five grandchildren.
Second Upper Warden The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman Nicholas Lyons
The Rt. Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman Nicholas Lyons (Nick) joined the Court as Under Renter Warden in 2019. He took office as Lord Mayor in 2022 and previously served as Sheriff of the City of London in 2021-22.
Currently taking a sabbatical from being Chairman of Phoenix Group Holdings, Nick sits on the boards of Convex Group, a specialty insurance underwriter, and Miller Insurance Services, a London market insurance broker. He is a member of the Leadership Council of TheCityUK, the Advisory Board of the International Business & Diplomatic Exchange, the Association of British Insurers and the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Nick is a founding member of the North West Norfolk Historical Society and enjoys all forms of music and the performing arts. He enjoys golf and was recently Captain of The Royal West Norfolk Golf Club.
His philanthropic activities have revolved around education, children’s hospice care, and the arts.
Nick is married to Felicity and they have four children and four grandchildren. They spend their weekends in North Norfolk.
Upper Renter Warden Mrs Jane Hall
Jane has been a furniture conservator for the past 40 years working on projects that included the redesigning of the interior of Mansion House, and the restoration of Windsor Castle following the devastating fire. She has also worked for the Sir John Soane Museum plus many other private and commercial clients.
Jane has a professional qualification in Chemistry relating to Conservation, a member of ICON, a specialist member of BAFRA, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She also runs an arable farm in Hampshire.
Jane is married to Christopher, a Producer, and has two sons, one a film technician and one an actor. She was Master Merchant Taylor in 2020/21.
Under Renter Warder Ms Lissa Gillott
Lissa was educated at Northwood College and went on to study Leisure Management at The University of Manchester.
She has had a varied career to date having spent time teaching English as a foreign language in Santiago, Chile. She then trained to become a ski instructor which took her to work in various resorts in Europe as well as Argentina and Chile. More recently she has spent time working with early-stage entrepreneurs helping develop business ideas as well as secure funding.
Lissa was introduced to the Company via her father and became part of the Livery in 2018.
She is a keen skier and has competed in the Inter-Livery Ski Championships. She was part of the Company’s team that won the Ladies Team event in 2019.
We’re excited about the new Let’s Create programme of activities for residents at our almshouse charity at Christopher Boone’s Court in Lewisham. It’s a wonderful mix of singing, music-making and arts and crafts paid for by Merchant Taylors’ and run by local charity Age Exchange.