DevOpsGroup Founders

James Smith


Our award-winning CEO and Founder, James, is well known amongst the DevOps and business community and is widely regarded as a thought leader in the field.

Being a proud Welshman, James based the DevOpsGroup business in Cardiff creating over 70 new jobs as well contributing in excess of £4m into the local economy.

For James, training the next generation of talent is vital to growing the company and helping to close the skills gap in IT; he has been instrumental in the creation of DevOpsGroup Academy and the strong partnerships with the local universities.

This contribution has been recognised by DevOpsGroup winning two Welsh Start-Up awards, Wales Technology award Best Tech Workplace, Computing DevOps Excellence award, Cardiff Business award and James personally being awarded Wales Technology Leader of the Year and IoD Director of the Year (Wales).

Prior to co-founding DevOpsGroup, James worked as a software development consultant for over 15 years.

Over this time he led teams that have designed, built and deployed some of the UK’s most popular eCommerce websites for organisations such as Dell, Pizza Hut, KFC and the RAC.

Between them, these websites transact millions of orders worth over £150m in revenue every year. James frequently publishes his opinions on the DevOpsGroup blog and his contributions have been quoted in research by Gartner and Forrester.

Steve Thair


Steve’s role at DevOpsGroup is intrinsic to the growth and development of the company, ensuring that our products and services evolve to meet the needs of the rapidly changing market, and that DevOpsGroup remains a thought-leader and pioneer in the DevOps movement.

Steve’s passion is creating operationally excellent platforms for web applications that are secure, scalable and manageable. He is an expert across a wide range of technologies, with Microsoft web server infrastructure being a specialism.

In recognition of this expertise, Steve Thair has been made a “Regional Director” by Microsoft. Established in 1993, the program consists of 150 of the world’s top technology visionaries. Regional Directors are expert advocates who promote Microsoft products, services, and solutions by sharing their deep knowledge with groups such as customers, the press and industry analysts.

Steve has twenty-five years of IT experience working for top government and corporate organisations in Australia and the UK, including BNP Paribas, Vodafone and Credit Suisse.

Prior to co-founding DevOpsGroup, Steve was the Web Operations Manager for Totaljobs and was responsible for running their online job board platform.

Steve blogs extensively and presents regularly at numerous meetups, webinars and conferences around the world to evangelise the benefits of DevOps. In 2014 he co-founded the WinOps Conference and Meet-Ups which are dedicated to promoting DevOps in Windows environments.

DevOpsGroup Board Members

Adam Hale


Our chairman, Adam, has spent more than 30 years helping technology-centric businesses to become global leaders – and is particularly passionate about the connection between technology and people.

Having always had a fiery passion for technology, he started coding as a teenager before going on to study computer science at Bristol University. Adam’s first taste of the technology industry was when he joined professional services company Accenture, where he spent ten years learning how to look after clients and run complex projects and sale campaigns.

After leaving Accenture, he became a headhunter and spent 16 years at management consultancy firm Russell Reynolds, where he helped more than 200 technology companies and investors expand their leadership teams and boards. Building on this experience, he became CEO of SaaS HR business Fairsail, where he grew the team from 14 people to over 300 within just four years.

Here, Adam also enabled the company to scale up by raising angel funding and growth capital, before negotiating its acquisition to Sage Plc for £110 million. During his tenure at Fairsail, he not only cultivated and led a talented team but won many customers and awards along the way. In late 2017, he became a board advisor to scale-ups.

Coco Brown

Board Advisor

With broad experience working across F1000 companies, start-ups, and nonprofits in the roles of CEO, president, COO, advisor and board member, Coco has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities around leadership.

In 2011, Coco launched The Athena Alliance, which is on a mission to advance diversity in the boardroom by enforcing a robust membership and delivery model. As the organisation’s CEO, she uses her deep connection to community building, executive consulting and professional services to help close the gender imbalance in STEM.

Over the years, she’s amassed a network of more than 1000 C-Level women, VCs, and CEOs from over 100 companies – including the likes of Microsoft, Autodesk, Intuit, OpenView Venture Partners, Accenture, Deloitte and PwC.

Prior, she served as president, COO and board director of Taos, which is an IT services business that works with technology giants such as Apple, Cisco, eBay, Facebook, and Silicon Valley Bank. Over a period of 17 years at the firm, Coco led it through accelerated expansion drives across five key national markets – Silicon Valley/San Francisco, New York, New England, Washington and Southern California – and diversified the business to increase its value and market position with the addition of managed services and product services capabilities.

Coco has also served as a board member at The Athena Alliance, Taos Mountain Software and MentorNet, and has received an array of awards including 2018 Silicon Valley and San Francisco Woman of Influence. She’s been featured in high-profile publications like

Forbes, WSJ, and Fortune, and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Paul Heywood

Non-executive Director

Paul currently serves as vice president of worldwide sales and business strategy at Oracle, but he’s held a plethora of other global leadership roles and has led teams specialising in scaling markets and revenue.

Before joining Oracle, Paul was vice president and managing director for the EMEA and APAC regions of internet intelligence giant Dyn. After joining the business in 2013, he played an instrumental role in scaling the business and helping it to exit successfully. The seasoned executive has also had stints at Claranet Ltd, Griffin Internet and the University of South Wales.

Paul has developed a deep understanding of Internet infrastructure, SaaS, cloud computing and IT managed service providers over the years – and is an active angel investor and business mentor. He advises organisations on funding, effective go-to-market strategies, product strategy, corporate governance and new market entry.

As an influential thought leader in the technology space, Paul has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Tech Radar Pro, InfoSecurity and The Wall Street Journal; spoken at conferences like IPEXPO, The Next Web and DMEXCO; and appeared on TV programmes such as ITV News and BBC World News.

James Henderson


Over the past sixteen years, James has held a variety of corporate finance roles. Before joining DevOpsGroup as CFO, he was fund manager at Inspire Wales, where he provided financial support and mentorship to a wide variety of exciting and ambitious technology-focused companies.

Prior to this, he worked as a director at Clarius Finance, where he offered interim CFO services and assistance to high-growth small and medium-sized businesses. He helped to improve internal systems, management information reporting and commercial insight. In this role, James worked with a diverse range of stakeholders, including financiers, investors and customers.

James spent several stints at Finance Wales, too. In 2009, he joined the organisation as a relationship manager and board representative, before going on to lead new investments and technology ventures. In the latter, he sourced and executed equity investments into early-stage technology businesses. Working across industry verticals such as software, telecoms, IT, fintech and biotech, he managed investments ranging from £150K to £2 million.

Alex Garfitt

Board Advisor

Alex, an investor at BGF, has over 15 years’ experience working with entrepreneurs and ambitious management teams. He joined BGF from KPMG in 2012, and is responsible for originating, executing and overseeing investments throughout the South West and South Wales.

BGF, are considered to be the UK’s most active investor and the first investment company to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

To date he has been involved in over 10 completed investments at BGF and currently sits on our board to support of our growth aspirations.

DevOpsGroup Steering Team

Kate Jones


Kate is responsible for Service Delivery at DevOpsGroup and leads the team that provides our range of Education, Automation and Transformation services. She has extensive experience in Agile based software delivery and has worked on projects for leading organisations such as Aviva, IG Group and Whitbread.

Kate is passionate about providing an exceptional customer experience for our clients and assisting them wherever possible on their DevOps journey.

Chris Webb

Commercial Success Principal

Chris has over twenty years of experience of client acquisition and account development for high-growth IT organisations, holding direct sales and management positions for companies such as Redstone and Adapt.

In 2008, Chris co-founded Iconnyx, a start-up managed services provider and grew revenues to over £5m before it was sold to Interoute in 2012.

Chris leads DevOpsGroup’ sales team and works with our enterprise clients to implement DevOps and deliver software at speed.

Tom Beavan

Partner Success Lead

Tom leads DevOpsGroup’ partnerships team and is responsible for establishing and managing our relationships with strategic vendors. He works collaboratively with our partners to continually enhance our internal competency and he is also involved in developing new revenue streams from our mutual clients.

Before joining DevOpsGroup, Tom has held a variety of business development and service management roles in the IT industry, predominantly in the cloud and managed infrastructure space.

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