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. View the up-to-date Register of Interests.

Current membership

Sue Bennett BA FCIPD

Sue Bennett, governor co-optee

Sue was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in February 2020. She had been co-opted to Governing Council to join the University’s Student Affairs Committee in April 2019, which she now co-chairs. Sue is also the Governing Council member of the University Court Advisory Group. 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. Sue is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD).

Simon Bolton, Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

Simon Bolton, governor

Simon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He is currently Interim Chief Executive Officer at NHS Digital. NHS Digital supplies information and data to the health service, provides vital technological infrastructure for the NHS, and helps different parts of health and care work together.

Prior to joining NHS Digital, Simon was the Chief Information Officer at NHS Test & Trace, and has held a number of executive technology leadership roles at companies including Jaguar Land Rover and Rolls-Royce plc.

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.

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.

Nina Cupric BA

Nina Cupric, governor

Nina is a Student Representative Governor, having been elected Vice President (Education) of the Union of Students for the academic year 2020/21. She completed her undergraduate degree in Fine Art in 2020. During her time as a student, Nina was heavily involved with the Union of Students, first as a Programme Representative and then as the Part Time Officer (Arts and Media).

She is passionate about creating inclusive and vibrant communities that support growth and development. Her key aims this year are sustainability and employability across the union and University.

Gurpreet Dehal BA MSc MRes, Vice-Chair of Governing Council and Chair of Remuneration Committee

Gurpreet Dehal, governor

Gurpreet was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in September 2021. He has been involved in higher education since 2010, first as a council member at Royal Holloway, University of London, and then in a national regulatory role. This was initially as a board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and then subsequently with the Office for Students from its inception in 2018.

He is a trustee of both the national multi-academy trust E-ACT and the Surrey-and-Hampshire-based Bourne Education Trust, and also has non-executive roles in the infrastructure and finance sectors. His prior experience also includes advising government on improved access to dormant assets for the public good.

Gurpreet's earlier career was in risk management, financial planning and business leadership for global trading and lending businesses. These included organisations such as Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse, where he was a Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer.

Tony Edwards BA ACA

Tony Edwards, governor

Tony was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019. He is Vice President & General Manager of the aluminium gas cylinder business unit of Luxfer Holdings plc, headquartered in the East Midlands. Prior to joining Luxfer, Tony spent two years as Corporate Development Director for Renold plc and 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.

Gill Howland BEd MEd FRSA, Vice-Chair of Skills 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.

From 2016-2018 Gill was Chair of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society. She recently retired as Chair of Governors of one of the most improved academies nationally, and she is currently Vice-Chair 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.

Dr Ruth Larsen

Dr Ruth Larsen - governor

Ruth was appointed to Governing Council as teaching staff governor in April 2021. Since joining the University of Derby in 2005, she has held a series of roles within the department of Humanities. She is currently a senior lecturer in History and the programme leader for the undergraduate History programmes. Ruth teaches a number of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, covering a wide range of topics, including the history of the body, material culture studies and research methodologies. Her research expertise is in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British history and she has published widely on gender history, the history of the aristocracy and the country house.

Ruth is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a member of the Royal Historical Society and is part of the editorial board for the journal Midland History. She is committed to excellence in learning and teaching and was named the University Lecturer of the Year in 2010; she is especially dedicated in supporting undergraduate students to develop their distinct academic voice, in pedagogies of engagement, and championing students as co-creators. Between 2016 and 2021 she was a governor at a primary school in Derby and is an active member of the East Midlands Centre for History Learning and Teaching.

Gordon McKenzie BA

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.

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 MRes SFHEA

Louise Pigden

Louise is the Academic Board representative on the Governing Council. She is the Deputy Dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

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 PhD by published works.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Robinson

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Robinson

Peter was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2021 and is the Church of England nominee. He is Dean of Derby and moved to the city in 2020. Based at Derby Cathedral which he leads, Peter is a member of the Bishop of Derby’s senior staff team. Previously Peter served in suburban North Tyneside, the inner city of Newcastle upon Tyne and in Northumberland where from 2008 he held the post of Archdeacon of Lindisfarne, leading the Newcastle Diocesan Strategy for the rural church.

Peter is leading Derby Cathedral to engage with the communities of both Derby City and the County of Derbyshire by developing the Cathedral’s arts, culture and heritage offer alongside its existing choral excellence. Peter is committed to partnership working: he is the independent chair of the Derby City Poverty Commission and a member of the City’s Stronger Communities Board. He is developing strategic relationships with the faith sector across Derby and Derbyshire, and working closely with the Multi-Faith Centre which is based in the University. His educational interests include overseeing the Cathedral’s relationship with Derby Cathedral School. Peter holds a doctorate in Divinity from Durham University and is an experienced contributor to theological education and training within the church, both as a theological educator and as a leader of governance.

Hilary Stables FCIPD

Hilary Stables, governor co-optee

Hilary was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in February 2020. She had been 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. She is currently Chief People Officer for NHS Property Services Ltd. 

Prior to joining NHS Property Services as HR Director, 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.

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, business services, risk management, cyber security and ISO certification company, trading across the UK and internationally. 

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, in both the public and private sectors.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (IOD) and an IOD Director of the Year category winner on two occasions, 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.  He is also a member of the CBI Regional Council, advising government on business policy issues.

Andy Storer

Andy Storer - governor

Andy was appointed as an Independent Member of the Governing Council in August 2021. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with over 30 years’ experience in the nuclear and energy sectors as a manufacturer, engineer and business leader. Owned by the University of Sheffield, the Nuclear AMRC is part of the government’s Catapult Network, with its mission to support UK companies to secure work in the nuclear and adjacent industries, working with around 1,200 SMEs across the UK.

Prior to this, Andy worked for Rolls-Royce including as Programme Director for the Civil Nuclear arm of the company, primarily focused on building the submarine business. Andy is a member of the Nuclear Industry Council, Nuclear Industry Association and Nuclear Innovation Advisory Board, working across central government, local enterprise bodies and with over 1,200 supply chain companies. As part of his CEO role at Nuclear AMRC, he is also Professor of Nuclear Manufacture and Supply Chain Capabilities at the University of Sheffield.

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.

Jack Tymon BA

Jack Tymon, governor

Jack serves as a Student Representative Governor, having been elected President of the Union of Students for the academic year 2021/22 following the completion of his degree in Theatre Arts. While studying at the University, Jack was the Assistant Head of the radio station, Phantom.

Jack is a proud advocate for Derby and its surrounding areas, having grown up in the county. In his work as the President of the Union, he will be representing and supporting the diverse range of students who study at the University.

Zhuofang Wei MSc

Fang Wei, governor

Fang was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in August 2021. She has over 15 years of professional experience largely focused on risk management at sell-side institutions (companies that issue, sell or trade financial securities). In 2014, she built a 20-people London team for a financial technology start-up providing treasury and risk management platforms for multi-billion-dollar global hedge funds across all investment strategies which was later acquired by markets operator ICAP.

Fang began her career at Goldman Sachs FICC (Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities) division as a strategist on the commodities derivatives desk and worked in the high-tech consulting division at Accenture in Silicon Valley. She currently serves as the Chief Risk Officer for System Two Advisors LLC.

Fang received her BA in Mathematics from Princeton University and MS in Computer Science from Stanford University. She also sits on the board of trustees of the Royal Holloway Student Union and Princeton Association UK. In addition, she has advised the board of trustees of London Air Ambulance on their digital transformation strategy.

John Yarham, Chair of the Skills Committee

John Yarham, governor

John was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in May 2021. He is Deputy Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, the Government’s body for careers education in England.

John’s career in the skills sector over the last 25 years has been largely driven by his passion for promoting social mobility and providing excellent standards for careers guidance and opportunities for young people and adults. Throughout his career he has gained extensive knowledge of the Government’s skills agenda. As Director of Economic Development at Nottingham City Council (2011-13), he led on the Nottingham Growth Plan and secured £60m of Government funding to support business growth and skills activity in the city. He was involved in the creation of the D2N2 LEP. During his time as the CEO (2013-19) of the skills-based social enterprise Futures the organisation received an Outstanding grade from Ofsted for their delivery of the National Careers Service as well as growing new Apprenticeship provision.

John has been the Deputy CEO at The Careers and Enterprise Company since 2019 but spent the majority of his time there as the Interim CEO, becoming a member of the DfE’s Skills for Jobs Stakeholder Group and leading on Covid-19 initiatives such as providing 120,000 young people with the opportunity to gain remote work experience with significant employers across the UK during lockdown.

Co-opted members

Mahad Ali

Mahad was appointed as a co-opted member of the Skills Committee in August 2021. He is the Director of Programmes at Career Ready, a national social mobility charity, where he manages a team of twenty regional managers overseeing the delivery of 11-19 programmes to 69,000 young people every year.

Prior to this role, Mahad was the Head of Education and Research at WorldSkills UK and was a Trustee of the De Paul Trust, a youth homelessness charity. He also used to help lead and implement strategic youth employments whilst working at the Greater London Authority.

Dr Khaled Benkrid PhD CEng MBA

Khaled was appointed as a Co-optee to the University’s Skills Committee in August 2021. He is Senior Director of Education and Research at Arm Ltd, a multinational semiconductor and software design company, and Managing Director of Arm’s Education and Academic Engagement Programmes. He is a Doctor of Computer Science and throughout his career has been committed to the development of training and partnerships to address the skills gap in the computer technology sector.

As an academic, Khaled spent 13 years teaching and researching areas of computer science, electrical and electronic engineering. Moving into industry, he set up a global university programme at Arm Ltd in Cambridge with the specific aim of addressing the skills and training gap in computer engineering, developing partnerships across industry, governments and education providers globally to offer education and research enablement products and services to thousands of universities globally. They also now offer a worldwide Schools programme in STEM education. Khaled contributed to the Department of Education’s T-Level Panel on Engineering and Manufacturing.

Jaine Bolton

Jaine was appointed as a co-opted member of the Skills Committee in August 2021. She is an Independent Consultant and former Senior Civil Servant, who has spent the last 30 years in the education, skills and employment sectors. She spent four years at the National Apprenticeship Service, completing her time there as Chief Operating Officer. As the National Engineering Lead at the Service, she worked closely with Rolls Royce and Toyota, and oversaw apprenticeship activity in the East Midlands through several projects.

As a Senior Civil Servant, Jaine co-led the development of a Government Skills White Paper and had responsibility for the policy and programme development of the following national skills programmes: Train to Gain, 2009-13 Apprenticeship reforms, National Skills Academies and Higher level and Degree Apprenticeships.

As a Consultant, Jaine supports employers, training providers, Higher Education Institutions, charities and colleges to develop and deliver high quality skills and employment programmes in support of the Government’s Skills Agenda, and to meet the skills needs of employers, their workforce, and communities.  

Elizabeth Brownell BA FCA

Elizabeth was appointed as a co-opted member of the Audit and Risk Committee in July 2020.

After graduating from Nottingham University, where she studied for a BA in History, Elizabeth joined Deloitte to train to be a Chartered Accountant and progressed to Audit Manager. During this time, she was part of the Higher Education Audit team and undertook a number of university audits.

Elizabeth is currently Finance Director working for Capita Plc within the Government Services division. She has had a wide range of experience within Capita and is currently responsible for a portfolio of businesses with specific focus on the Education Sector, Digital Products and Joint Ventures.

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