With over 150 years in the business our senior management team are one of the most experienced in the industry.


Peter Gray, Chairman - John Smith Group

Peter started his working life in construction management working for Lovell Construction. In 1991 Peter with his brother James set up BMBC Library Supply, a company that was to take the name of Coutts Library and Information Services following their acquisition in 2000. In November 2001, Peter acquired the shares of John Smith’s and took over as Executive Chairman. From this time the company has grown from its initial retail base of £6m to its present turnover of £39m.

Andy Free, Managing Director - John Smith International

Andy is a 30 year veteran of the Publishing and Bookselling industry and has worked at a senior management level within all the major industry sectors. Andy cut his teeth working for the Africa and Caribbean division of Longman Publishers. Switching from Publishing to International Library Supply in the late 1980’s Andy worked for both Blackwell’s and Coutts as well as a spell working on electronic content management and print on demand technology. Andy moved over to John Smith in 2005 to take up the reins of the International division, initially based in Gaborone at Books Botswana and more recently at the company headquarters in Ringwood.

Ann Goodwin, Director of International Operations - John Smith International

Ann has worked in the book trade for over 35 years and has a huge amount of operational experience gained in such major UK chains as Foyle’s; Dillon’s; Hammick’s and for the last 10 years John Smith’s. She was instrumental in setting up the operational side of the John Smith HE Campus Division and in implementing IT and processed based systems to support the business at all levels. Since 2012 Ann has been based in Africa, primarily in Botswana but also covering Swaziland and Ghana, supporting the international division to achieve its aims.

Peter Lake, Business Development Director - John Smith Group

Peter joined the John Smith Group in 2011 having previously worked in a number of senior roles at Thomson Reuters. Peter was CEO of Sweet & Maxwell from 2003 to 2011 and was also responsible for Thomson Reuters legal businesses in Europe and Asia. As well as general management roles, Peter led the development of Westlaw online services in the UK, Germany and India and was responsible for the acquisition of software and information businesses in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Oarabile Gabalkanngwe, Manager - Books Botswana

Oarabile joined John Smith in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of bookselling experience which has enabled JS to increase product range and expand services to customers. A graduate of Botswana Accountancy College and a member of CIMA, Oarabile now leads a team of more than 12 booksellers and bookshop staff providing services to Institutions and customers throughout Botswana.