The Governing Council consists of at least 15 and no more than 24 members, of whom a majority shall be independent and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

Register of Interests and Related Parties

The Governance Office compiles and maintains a register of interests and related parties for Directors and members of the Governing Council.  This is reviewed on a quarterly basis and the up to date register is available here: Register of Interests.

Current membership

Dr Sally Akehurst BA (Hons) MSc PhD FHEA

Sally Akehurst

Dr Sally Akehurst is an Academic Board Representative on Governing Council and is the Head of School of Human Sciences in the College of Life and Natural Sciences. Sally joined the University as a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in 2010; was appointed Head of Discipline for Sport in 2012, and led the area through significant growth over a period of four years. In 2016, Sally became the Head of Department for Life Sciences and College Lead for Learning and Teaching and Student Experience. As Head of School of Human Sciences, Sally now leads a vibrant academic community spanning psychology, biomedical and forensic science, and sport, outdoor and exercise science, and drives the school to be one that is highly committed to delivering excellence in all areas of academic, research, and enterprise activity.

Previously, Sally studied Leisure and Sport Studies as an undergraduate at the University of Brighton, before specialising in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Masters and Doctorate levels at the University of Wales, Bangor (2000-2015). As a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Aberystwyth University (2005-2010), Sally became an Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist practising applied sport psychology with athletes and coaches. As a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2006, Sally has dedicated her career to developing and enhancing the academic provision and experience of students in higher education within sport science, and more recently across the breadth of sciences, constantly striving for brilliance within her school. 

Simon Bolton

Simon Bolton, governor

Simon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He has held a number of Senior Leadership roles in the IT industry, and is currently the Chief Information Officer at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

Prior to joining JLR, Simon worked at Rolls-Royce plc for six years, and has strong connections to the local area. His experience of the IT sector includes digital transformation and cyber security.

Simon is also on the Board of Tech Partnership Degrees, an employer-led and not for profit organisation that unites employers and universities to improve the flow of talent into the digital workforce.

Neil Calvert BSc (Hons) NPQH, Vice-Chair of Governing Council & Chair of Remuneration Committee

Neil Calvert

Neil Calvert has been an independent member of Governing Council since 2011. He chairs the Remuneration and Student Affairs Committees, and became the Vice-Chair of Governing Council in 2015. Neil is Chief Executive of The Northworthy Trust. He was Headteacher at The Long Eaton School from 2008 to 2016, an 11-18 institution of 1,300 students which was one of the first in Derbyshire to convert to Academy status. In 2012 it became the only state school in the UK to open a purpose-built astronomical observatory, and it has gained national recognition for its work in environmental education and developing an international dimension to its curriculum. It also works extensively in initial teacher training with universities in the UK and overseas.

Neil led the school’s successful application to become an Academy sponsor in the summer of 2016, which resulted in the formation of The Northworthy Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust which is taking responsibility for a number of schools in Derby and Derbyshire. Having previously worked in senior leadership roles in two other local schools, Neil also served as Executive Headteacher at King Edward VI School in Lichfield in 2014, supporting the school through a change in leadership and a successful Ofsted inspection. In 2013 he gave evidence to a Commons Education Select Committee inquiry into the role of governing bodies in schools.

Andrew Chatten MBA

Andrew Chatten, governor

Andrew was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He is Director of Estates and Facilities Management at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and an advisor to the Trust Board. He has been in post for four years previously having held the same position at the University Hospitals of Leicester. Andrew is a Chartered Builder, a Member of the British Institute of Facilities Management and has an MBA from Sheffield Hallam University.

In a career spanning 27 years, Andrew has worked in a number of NHS Trusts delivering estates and facilities services but also for John Laing’s as Chief Officer of Southern Derbyshire Local Investment Finance Trust and with Compass Group UK and Ireland as an Operations Director. He has a depth of experience in delivering support services and longer term estate master planning.

Olivia Dean BA Dip Ed Management, Chair of Further Education Governance Committee

Olivia Dean

Olivia Dean is an Independent Member of Governing Council and Chair of the Further Education Governance Committee.  Olivia was Strategic Director at the Joseph Wright Centre and Clerk to the Corporation at Derby College from 2004 until her retirement in 2006. During 2006-7 she served as Acting Assistant Dean and Head of Further Education at the University of Derby Buxton.

Olivia gained a Teacher's Certificate at Homerton College of Education, Cambridge before taking a BA degree with the Open University and a Diploma in Education Management at Derbyshire College of Higher Education. She taught at local schools and held senior management positions in two secondary comprehensives between 1968 and 1989 before taking a series of Assistant Principal posts at Derby Tertiary College, Wilmorton.

In 1997 she became Clerk to the Corporation of Derby College and was also employed by Derby PRIDE Limited and Derby City Council.  Olivia was a member of the Derbyshire Learning and Skills Council from 2001 to 2005 and has served as a representative on two national examination boards. She is currently a governor of an inner city primary school.  Olivia has also worked for the voluntary sector as a board member, previously for Community Education and Training Association, and currently for the Padley Group and the Royal Crown Derby Museum Trust.  Additionally she is a governor of an inner city primary school in Derby.

James Eaglesfield

James Eaglesfield

James Eaglesfield is the non-teaching staff governor on the University’s Governing Council. He is the University’s head of governance and IT Portfolio within the IT department of the University of Derby. Since joining the University in 1998 he has held a series of roles within IT Services. He is currently responsible for information security, data protection, freedom of information and IT project management within the University. Prior to joining the University, James trained at the Queens Medical Centre to become an Audiology Technician. His outside interests include walking, photography and cycling and he regularly rides the infamous Paris – Roubaix cycle sportif.

Tony Edwards BA ACA

Tony Edwards, governor

Tony was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He is Group Director – Corporate Development for Renold plc, a quoted company making and selling industrial chain and other power transmission products on an international basis.

Prior to joining Renold plc, Tony spent 15 years as a Managing Director in international B2B manufacturing groups headquartered in the East Midlands.

Tony is a chartered accountant, having qualified whilst at Price Waterhouse, then spending 14 years in a variety of increasingly senior group, divisional and operational financial roles with Rio Tinto plc, Norcros plc and the Filtrona division of Bunzl plc. Tony has a degree in Accounting & Finance from Nottingham Trent University and served as a Governor there for 11 years up to July 2016.

Lesley Giles MA, Vice-Chair of Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee

Lesley Giles

Lesley Giles is Director of Lesley Giles Associates, where she undertakes analysis and evaluation, and provides policy advice around workplace innovation and the world of work. Until recently she was Director at the Work Foundation where she continues to work as an associate, offering insights to drive their work programme seeking to champion Good Work.

Prior to this, Lesley was Deputy Director and Company Secretary at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, where she provided guidance on skills and employment issues to Industry and Government, with a particular focus on supporting business-led action and innovation. In addition, Lesley has worked in a variety of other roles across government undertaking skills and/or employment research and policy advice including: Acting Director for Strategy and Research (2006-08), and Head of Research (2002-06), at the Sector Skills Development Agency (an umbrella organisation, set up in 2002 to license and performance manage the Sector Skills Councils); and a senior researcher for the Department for Education and Employment, the Employment Service, and the Cabinet Office. Prior to joining the government, Lesley was a researcher for the Institute for Employment Studies, the University of Portsmouth's Business School, and the University of Central England. She is a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Gill Howland BEd (Hons) MEd FRSA, Vice-Chair of Further Education Governance Committee

Gill Howland

Gill was appointed as an Independent member of Governing Council in October 2015, having previously been a Co-opted member of the University’s Further Education Governance Committee of Buxton and Leek College.

Gill has extensive experience across a wide range of educational leadership roles.  After beginning her career in industry, she moved onto teaching and leadership positions in schools and in further and higher education, focussing particularly on post 14 education and co directing a three year project on 14-19 progression.  She was a member of the Government's Advisory Board on 14-19 education, and led the conception and development of the first 14-19 collegiate in the country.

Her senior leadership positions have included Local Authority Chief Education Adviser, Executive Director of Learning and Skills Councils in Stoke and Staffordshire, and Birmingham and Solihull, and Executive Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Staffordshire University.

Gill is currently the Chair of the British Educational Leadership,  Management and Administration Society.  She is Chair of Governors of one of the most improved academies nationally, and governor of a Derbyshire primary school.  Gill was previously Deputy Chair of CILT, the National Centre for Languages, Deputy Chair of YMCA Training and Board Member of North Staffordshire YMCA.  She has chaired a number of regional and sub regional collaborations focussing on regeneration through education.

Throughout her career Gill has championed education as the key means of opening opportunities to people.  She has always chosen to work in disadvantaged areas and has a track record in educational improvement and widening opportunities.

Gordon Lammie MA (Cantab)

Gordon Lammie

Gordon Lammie worked for the Open University from its inception in 1970 until 2010 in a number of different roles and locations including its headquarters in Milton Keynes and in the USA but predominantly as a senior member of the University's regionally-based staff. From 1986 onwards he was a Regional Director - initially in the North West and since 1992 in the East Midlands. He sat on a range of bodies external to the University. These included the Steering Committee of the East Midlands Universities Association (alongside the Vice-Chancellors of all the region's universities) and the East Midlands Regional Assembly (as the Higher Education representative).

He was Chairman of the Nottingham Healthcare NHS Trust and has been a member of the Court of the University of Derby since 1999.  Gordon was chair of the Board of Directors of the Nottingham Park Estate Ltd.  From 2006 to 2010 he chaired the Strategic Management Board of the HEFCE-funded Lifelong Learning Network incorporating four universities, two of which were the Open University in the East Midlands and the University of Derby, and eight further education colleges in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He worked for three years as a part-time consultant on distance learning for the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester.

The Right Reverend Jan McFarlane B.Med.Sci BA

The Right Reverend Jan McFarlane, governor

Bishop Jan was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019 and is the Church of England nominee.

She has held the position of Bishop of Repton since her consecration on 29 June 2016. She is the ninth female bishop in the history of the Church of England. The Bishop of Repton works with the Bishop of Derby across the whole county of Derbyshire.

A former speech and language therapist in the NHS, Jan trained for ordained ministry in Durham and has served for 26 years in Stafford, Ely, Norwich and Derbyshire.

Jan has a life-long interest in communications, has contributed regularly to local and national radio and television, and writes for Church House Publishing.

Gordon McKenzie BA (Hons)

Gordon McKenzie, governor

Gordon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He has been Chief Executive Officer of GuildHE since 2015, a key representative and advocacy body in the higher education sector.

He joined GuildHE following a career in the Civil Service, most recently as Deputy Director for HE Strategy and Policy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Gordon has led the implementation of the Browne review on higher education funding and successive government spending reviews. He has also worked with a range of ministers on innovative policies including tackling an increase in graduate unemployment and encouraging the growth of a more competitive sector.

Roohi Mehra MPharm PGDip PGCertEd FHEA MRPharmS

Roohi Mehra

Roohi was appointed an Independent Member of Governing Council in October 2015.  She is the Officer Commanding (OC) the Department of Pharmacy and Medical Supply (DPMS) in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).  In this role she oversees the delivery of pharmacy training and education across the MoD.  Previously she worked at the University of Birmingham as an eLearning Manager and Teaching Associate for an NHS England project improving continuing professional development for prescribers.  Whilst working as a Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy Practice at the University of Hertfordshire, she completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).  She led modules in inter-professional education, held the School role of Fitness to Practise Officer, and also held the Departmental roles of Placements Lead and Graduate Attributes Champion.  After rotating through many clinical specialties in the NHS, Roohi specialised in Acute Care, Admissions and Accident & Emergency.

Roohi’s professional body, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, holds an annual awards ceremony to honour those pharmacists who have contributed greatly to their field; Roohi was fortunate enough to be shortlisted for, and subsequently become the winner of the Award for Excellence in Education in 2015.  In her spare time, Roohi volunteers as a STEM Ambassador for the STEMNET charity, which aims to encourage young people to enter careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  She visits schools to encourage children to pursue careers in these fields, and is particularly keen to inspire under-represented girls to enter these subject areas.  Roohi is a huge animal lover and has volunteered at local animal charities for many years.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL BSc PhD CPsychol

Kath Mitchell

Professor Kathryn Mitchell is Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Derby.

Prior to joining the University in September 2015 she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of West London with special responsibility for academic provision and quality across the University.  She has also held senior positions of Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic and Student Support Services and Dean of Students at West London.

Professor Mitchell was a Wellcome Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, London and has studied at the Universities of York and London.  She has worked at the University of Chicago, the Rockefeller Institute, New York and the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel.

Kath is a chartered Psychologist and played an active role within the Institute for Practice and Interdisciplinary Research (INSPIRE), supervising and directing a range of research programmes.

In April 2019, Kath was appointed one of five new Deputy Lieutenants of Derbyshire.

She is married with two children.

Louise Pigden BSc MPhil SFHEA

Louise Pigden

Louise is the Academic Board representative on the Governing Council. Louise is the Deputy Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology where she is also the interim Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering and Built Environment.  She has cross-college responsibility for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience.

Louise studied Physics as an undergraduate at the University of Warwick, and as a postgraduate at the University of Leeds. She has held varied senior academic leadership and management roles that have provided a broad insight into higher education from differing perspectives. She was Principal Lecturer managing the Leeds Beckett University’s network of further education colleges; Head of Division of Digital Media and Entertainment Technology at Manchester Metropolitan University, having departmental responsibility for third stream income generation, enterprise and student employability; Assistant Registrar - Assessment, Awards and Regulations at Sheffield Hallam University, having wide-ranging responsibilities that directly impacted on the student experience.  At Derby she was initially Head of Joint Honours, a role that afforded a unique insight into the academic student experience across all colleges of the University.

Louise’s research interests have spanned computational physics with a focus on hyperbranched polymers, through to the pedagogy of web programming, and more recently the experience and employability of joint honours students. Louise is currently completing a PhP by published works.




Joanna Poon

Joanna Poon is a teaching staff member of the Governing Council. She is an Associate Professor and Head of Built Environment within the College of Engineering and Technology. She is currently seconded to the Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE) to lead an ERDF funded Low Carbon project. Prior to joining the University, Joanna held academic positions at the University of Salford, Sheffield Hallam University, Nottingham Trent University and Deakin University in Australia where Joanna was the Acting Discipline Leader for the Property Team and Course Director for Postgraduate Programmes in Property and Real Estate.

Daniella Quill BA

Daniella Quill, governor

Daniella is a Student Representative Governor, having been elected President of the Union of Students for the academic year 2019/20. She has a passion for the creative arts and graduated with a degree in Media Production in 2018.  This is Daniella's second term as an Officer Trustee, as she was Vice President (Activities) during the 2018/19 academic year.  She held a key role within the University of Derby Netball Club which led to her being involved with multiple community volunteering opportunities.  Daniella's passion for sport and in particular, inclusivity within sport is what drives her.  The focus for her Presidential year will be student mental health and employability.

Stephen Smith BA FIOD, Chair of Governing Council

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith has been an Independent Member of Governing Council since 2014 and was previously Chair of the Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee. He took the role of Pro Chancellor and Chair of Governing Council in August 2018.

Stephen is Chief Executive and founder of EMB Group, a leading economic development, business services, risk management and accreditation company which since 2006 has delivered a variety of high value programmes worth over £200m for both the public and private sectors. 

His earlier career was in brand marketing with multinational corporations followed by general management roles in the greeting cards and logistics sectors, the latter as Managing Director of a high growth £134m pharmaceutical distribution business. Stephen also has significant experience as a non-executive director on a number of different bodies, including RNN Group FE College, North Northants Development Company, British Chambers of Commerce, Princes Trust Regional Council, Royal Crown Derby Museum and the NEST Employers Panel for pension auto-enrolment. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IOD) and an IOD Director of the Year category winner, whilst EMB Group have been an Amazon Growing Business Awards finalist and recognised by the London Stock Exchange as one of the 1000 Companies to Inspire.

Stephen Taylor BMus FCA, Chair of Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee

Stephen Taylor

Stephen has a 30 year career helping companies across Europe and beyond, first with PwC and later with AlixPartners. He led the Continental European restructuring practice of the former and was a senior Managing Director at the second. He now runs his own advisory firm

Best known for his work on complex western European restructurings, Stephen’s roles have encompassed board roles on several high profile cases. He was chairman of the restructuring committee at SAAB Automobile in Sweden, Chief Restructuring Officer of Vion Food Group in the Netherlands and Chairman of Southern Cross Healthcare in UK.

Stephen is also an advisor to various governments and has been a guest lecturer at several European Universities.

Educated in Derbyshire and living in the county for many years, Stephen is a Chartered Accountant and also holds a degree in Music.

Dr Ian Webster BSc PhD CPFA, Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

Ian Webster

After graduating from Bristol University, Ian qualified as an accountant. In 1981, he moved to Derbyshire, to work for the County Council. In the 1990s, Ian spent five years as a consultant with an international accounting firm. He then became the finance director of an east midlands police force, a role he held for five years. This was followed by a spell of freelance working with troubled local education authorities. In 2005, Ian became the chief financial officer of a large unitary council. During his time as CFO, the council improved its governance, and became a top six performer.

Ian retired in 2011 to undertake research in economic history at Sheffield Hallam University and was awarded his PhD in 2015.

Melanie Welaratne BA

Melanie Welaratne, governor

Melanie was elected the Union of Students' Vice President (Education) for the academic year 2019/20.  During her time as an undergraduate student she studied Fine Art, developing her own practice over three years.  Alongside her studies Melanie took on various projects within the University and the Union of Students, becoming a student trustee in 2017.  During this time she enjoyed taking part in various sports, councils and committees. She was also the licence holder and lead organiser for the first ever TEDx University of Derby.

Her passion for education has been borne out of being educated in many countries, with varying approaches to education.  This gave Melanie the opportunity to experience and embrace different cultures.  Her key aims this year include student value for money and diversity in education.

Independent Co-optees

Sue Bennett BA FCIPD

Sue Bennett, governor co-optee

Sue was co-opted to Governing Council to join the University’s Student Affairs Committee in April 2019. She has held a number of senior leadership roles in higher education, most recently as Director of Student Careers and Skills at the University of Warwick. Prior to that Sue was Director of the Learning and Development Centre at that university.

Between 2015 and 2018 Sue also held the roles of Vice President, Trustee and Board Member of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), a membership organisation for higher education students’ career development and graduate employment professionals.

Sue left the University of Warwick in 2018 to pursue a portfolio career.

Hilary Stables FCIPD

Hilary Stables, governor co-optee

Hilary was co-opted to Governing Council to join the University’s Strategy, Finance and Planning Committee in April 2019. She has held a number of senior leadership roles in a variety of industries including retail, communications, and healthcare services.

Latterly Hilary held the role of HR, Talent and Communications Director at McKesson UK, part of the McKesson Company which owns brands including Lloyds Pharmacy and AAH Pharmaceuticals. She joined McKesson in 2015 from BT Facilities Services, where she was HR Director. Earlier in her career, Hilary spent 15 years in a variety of increasingly senior HR positions at Asda Wal-Mart UK.


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