Membership of University Court

The University Court is a group of like-minded, influential, experienced and passionate individuals, all of whom have the desire for the University of Derby to be successful, and we welcome the valuable contribution that its members make.


The role of each Court member can be viewed below. Please use the buttons for ease of navigation.

Court members C-E Court members F-I Court members J-N Court members O-S Court members T-Z

Court Members (A-B)

As Professor of Development Geography, Dina Abbott has taught at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Professor Abbott also carried out much research in developing countries including West and East Africa and India. Her specialism is food, water and gendered poverty. She has been awarded grants including EU funding for a major project on climate change in partnership with several European Universities and the Open University (UK). She has published widely on issues related to both development and Geography. Currently, she is a visiting Professor for the Netherlands Open University and continues to work with other external Universities and Development agencies. [Updated 2016]

Joanne is a solicitor and was a member of the University of Derby’s Governing Council for nine years until 2015.

She worked in London for Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP (formally, Eversheds) and CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP (formally, Nabarro) before joining Freeths LLP Solicitors in 1993 and was appointed partner in 2001.

In 2013 she was appointed as Director of Human Resources at Fresenius Medical Care a global healthcare company. Joanne is a Director of Otium Legal Limited a niche law firm specialising in employment law and HR.

She has a deep interest in education and is a former Director, Trustee, and Governor of St Joseph's School, Nottingham. [Updated 2021]

Yemi was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in August 2022. He is a senior finance professional with a wealth of experience in the IT distribution/technology and retail sectors leading a comprehensive range of accounting, corporate governance, internal controls, audit, and risk responsibilities.

Currently, Yemi is the Senior Director of Finance for EMEA, APAC and CALA regions (based in the UK) of WESCO Inc, headquartered in Pittsburgh, USA.

Before joining WESCO in 2018, Yemi spent 21 years as the Director of Financial Operations for Avent/Tech Data based in the UK. Prior to that, he held senior finance positions at Bell Microproducts and Harrods Knightsbridge.

Yemi is a Certified Chartered Accountant, holding fellowship status at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and an MBA from the University of Derby.

Mahad was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in June 2023 following his appointment as co-opted member of the Skills Committee in August 2021. He is the Executive Director of Grant Giving at independent charity the Commercial Education Trust. Prior to this, Mahad was Director of Programmes at Career Ready, a national social mobility charity, where he managed a team of twenty regional managers overseeing the delivery of 11-19 programmes to 69,000 young people every year.

Mahad has also worked as 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 employment whilst working at the Greater London Authority.

Manal was appointed as an independent member of the Governing Council in August 2022. She is an audit, risk and compliance professional in Bahrain’s telecom and fintech sectors. She has advised the board and senior management for over 15 years on audit matters, governance, balancing risks, and controls while achieving their strategy. She was also the founding member of the Parent Community Committee for the British School of Bahrain for eight years. She was the treasurer for three of those years, representing the parents of the school and helping raise funds for the community.

Manal is the Director of Compliance at Batelco, headquartered in Bahrain. She is a Certified Public Accountant from the USA and Certified Internal Auditor from the Institute of Internal Auditors (USA).

In 1989, after reading of the proposed demolition of Barrow Hill Roundhouse near Chesterfield, Mervyn formed an action group to save the unique building. He secured a preservation order 48 hours before demolition was due to commence in 1991 and the building re-opened in 1998. Mervyn is now General Manager of the Roundhouse centre, which is a highly successful commercial railway depot, museum and event venue.

In November 2019 Mervyn received the degree of Honorary Master of the University in recognition of his achievement in re-opening and developing Barrow Hill Roundhouse and the national impact of his lifelong commitment to railways. [Updated 2020]

Now retired, Peter has been a Solicitor since 1962 including three years as a prosecuting solicitor in private practice and was Senior Partner at Geldards law firm. He was H.M. Coroner for Derbyshire, formed Walbrook Housing Association and President of, Derbyshire and District Law society in 1993/94 and a member since 1976.  He has also been Church Warden of Brailsford Church for25 years and is a life member of Duffield squash club. [Updated 2021]

A PhD graduate in from the University of Manchester (UMIST) with 30 years’ experience of industry and Higher Education institutions. He was made a Professor in Manufacturing Systems in 1993 and was employed at the University of Derby initially as Associate Dean (Faculty of Science and Technology) & Head of Engineering. He later became Dean of Engineering for seven years and then Dean of Computing & Technology. On retiring from the University in 2004 he set up his own consultancy and works with a number UK universities and on committees associated with university education. [Updated 2017]

Lizzie is a violinist, vocalist, educator, and concert producer. Derbyshire-born and internationally acclaimed, Lizzie is known principally for her creation of a unique brand, Classical Kicks, which is a refreshing, down-to-earth approach to classical music performance. As a solo artist, her violin/vocal collaborations include Nigel Kennedy (as a soloist and leader of his Orchestra of Life for eight years), Jeff Beck and Brian Wilson (as featured frontline band member), Judith Owen with Bryan Ferry, Ariana Grande, and many more.

Performance highlights include headlining at Madison Square Garden, New York, for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, several critically acclaimed US-wide tours, and directing the historical Palestine Prom for BBC Proms 2013 in the Royal Albert Hall. Lizzie recently developed an original production, ‘Corrido: A Ballad for the Brave’ about the life and times of Frida Kahlo. In November 2018 Lizzie received the Degree of Honorary Master of the University in recognition of her achievements in the field of music and her innovative and creative approach to classical music. [Updated 2019]

William's original connection with the University of Derby was as an HND Mechanical engineer as a Rolls- Royce Apprentice in the mid-1960s when it was known as the Derby and Derbyshire College of Art and Technology. He spent his initial career in Brazil – Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo – before returning to Derby in 1985 where he set up his own corporate clothing business; Cathedral Clothing. After selling the family company in 1999 he has been working as a Business Coach and Mentor in the SME market. Having always been involved in property, he and his wife purchased a lettings agency in 2013 - Blue I Properties. He is now involved in developing a large property portfolio for the benefit of students and professional tenants. In parallel, he has been actively involved in the community as Chair of the Derby Heritage Development Trust, Governor at Mackworth College, Advisory Board of Common Purpose, and founder of Derby Carbon Initiative. William is a founding member of the Alumni and Membership Advisory Board for the University. [Updated 2017]

Martin is Deputy CEO of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, the global membership body for sustainability professionals. He is a renowned expert on environmental management and a regular spokesperson on corporate sustainability. He works in the UK and internationally to support the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and sustainable economy and reverse the decline of the natural environment. A former Derby graduate in Earth & Life Studies, he is valued supporter of the institution’s work around sustainability. In November 2023, Martin received the degree of Honorary Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding work in supporting the environmental sustainability agenda.

Beth served as a Student Representative Governor, having been elected Vice President (Activities) of the Union of Students for the academic year 2021/22. She completed an undergraduate joint honours degree in Theatre and Education studies. During her time as a student at Derby University, Beth was involved with the Union of Students as Charity Officer for the cheerleading team and Charity and Challenge coordinator for the Raise and Give student led service. She enjoyed being the student voice for sports, societies and student led services and was particularly interested in ensuring the cohorts worked together and in creating more inclusive environments for all students. Beth also took a strong interest in providing safe environments for students in the community and enjoyed working alongside Derby City Council to ensure this.

Corey served as a Student Representative Governor, having been elected President of the Union of Students for the academic year 2020/21, after completion of his undergraduate degree in Special Educational Needs and Disability. Whilst studying at the University of Derby, Corey held positions such as a Programme Representative, part-time Officer (Disability) and Student Trustee for the Union of Students.

Corey was able to dual-career as a student-athlete on the sports scholarship programme, allowing him to both study and compete at an international level. He is passionate about opportunities for all students, communications and student safety. [Updated 2021]

Dame Margaret Beckett has been the Member of Parliament for Derby South since 1983. She is the longest-serving female MP in the history of Parliament and sits on the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. She was first elected to Parliament in 1974, representing the constituency of Lincoln. Margaret became the first woman to hold the position of Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1992, then in 1994, following the premature death of John Smith, she became the first woman to lead the Party until Tony Blair took the role later that year.

Margaret held a number of prominent positions in Tony Blair’s Cabinet, initially President of the Board of Trade, and later Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In 2006, Margaret was appointed British Foreign Secretary, becoming the first woman to hold the post, and only the second woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State.

In 2013 Margaret was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in recognition of her public and political service. In November 2017 Margaret became an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby in recognition of her outstanding commitment and achievements in public service, both regionally and on the national political arena. [Updated 2017]

Gerry is Chairman of Davis Derby Holdings Ltd, a software and electronics company specialising in the design and manufacturing of products used for the protection of people working in potentially hazardous areas. The business comprises Davis Derby Limited with 50 local staff and Davis Derby Siberia with 15 staff based in the Kuzbass region of Russia. Gerry is a former Chairman of the East Midlands CBI Regional Council. He also served for ten years as a non-executive director of North Midland Construction plc. [Updated 2017]

David joined JCB in 1974 as a graduate trainee, following an Engineering apprenticeship at Rolls Royce in Derby. He has held a variety of senior roles during his 42-year JCB career, including Managing Director of JCB Sales/Service, JCB Agriculture, JCB’s Backhoe Loader and Telescopic Handler Business Units and Group HR Director. He has travelled extensively and lived and worked in North America for three years.

He has been involved in the JCB Academy from its conception and is Vice-Chair of governors. In January 2010, David became JCB’s Chief Corporate Development Officer focussing on growth in the agricultural business and in Brazil, China and latterly in Jaipur India. In January 2014 David was appointed as Regional Chairman for the CBI in the East Midlands and having completed his term he is now Vice-Chair. He is also a National Apprentice Ambassador. He became an Honorary Doctor of the University in January 2015. [Updated 2016]

Sue was appointed as an independent member of Governing Council in February 2020. She had previously been co-opted to Governing Council to join the University’s Student Affairs Committee in April 2019, which she now co-chairs. She has held several 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 the University of Warwick. 

Between 2015 and 2018 Sue 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. [Updated 2020]

As a Derbyshire born and bred individual, James is a keen advocate of the University. He is proud to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University.

From his early beginnings in the arts world, He developed a long and fruitful career in tourism. He was formerly the CEO of the National Tourist Board. He now divides his time between family life in Bakewell and various stimulating non-exec roles within the visitor economy.

Bob is the Managing Director of Smith of Derby Limited, responsible for maintaining the company’s leadership on the world time map. As part of Bob’s commitment to the growth of his home city of Derby, Bob is the Chairman of Marketing Derby, working to attract investment and city development. Bob also sits on the board of QUAD, Derby's centre for creative media and film. Bob’s role at Smith of Derby is to re-engineer the company to aggressively pursue new markets and clients through innovation and product development in the world of exclusive timepieces, tower clocks and important public art fabrication. He took up this exciting challenge at the start of 2007, returning to Derby following 19 years with IBM Corporation, based mainly in London. Bob was IBM UK’s Sales Director for their small and medium business division.

Throughout his time with IBM, Bob held various line and executive management positions, including European product management and marketing roles. Graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a 2:1 in Construction Economics, Bob has a Diploma in Marketing and was business and leadership trained at INSEAD France. Before his management career, Bob sailed the world as an officer in the Merchant Navy with Blue Star Ship Management Ltd.

The University awarded Bob an Honorary Doctorate in July 2017 in recognition of his considerable contribution to the local business community. [Updated 2017]

After enjoying a long career in the corporate sector overseas (mainly in Europe) and in the UK, initially in IT project management roles and latterly within the (then) emerging field of Community Investment and Corporate Responsibility (culminating in the role of Global Head of Community Investment at Rolls-Royce plc) Helen took the decision to take early retirement.

For the past five years, Helen has worked as part of the team to establish Derby Book Festival and also continued her ongoing involvement in Foundation Derbyshire, chairing the prestigious Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award.

Alongside these commitments, Helen set up her own small company in 2019 - Derbyshire Vintage Crockery Hire - specialising in hiring out high-quality afternoon/high tea crockery and accessories (vintage linen, glassware, cutlery, etc.) for the celebration of unique special occasions of all types - both to individuals, via caterers and direct to venues. The company offers a bespoke service tailored to each client's requirements.

In Helen’s spare time she has an allotment and spends time walking in the Peak District and reading. She enjoys travel both within the UK (in her splendid touring caravan!) and further afield to visit friends overseas. [Updated 2021]

Professor Blackie was programme leader for MA Fine Art and MA Film and Photography having run the MA programme in Art and Design (MA ADAPT) at the University since 1999. Before retiring in April 2018 his main focus was on leading research for the College of Arts in preparation for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and supporting the college’s PhD students. He is a ceramic specialist and researcher, which in the last few years, has taken him to Norway, Denmark, Japan, Korea, India, China, Australia and New Zealand. His writing is regularly published and includes a critique of Paul Cummings WW1 installation. His own artwork has featured in several books.

His research interest is in the representation of landscape; outcomes include exhibitions at The Saatchi Gallery London, Sofa New York and Chicago, Mint Museum North Carolina, and Galerie Besson London. His work is in several public and private collections including the Fu Li International Ceramic Art Museum, China, Shangyu City Museum, China, the Museum of Modern Art Boston, USA, and the Ashmolean Museum Oxford. [Updated 2018]

Derek is a co-opted member of the University’s Further Education Governance Committee of Buxton and Leek College. He is a Physics graduate and was Principal of two sixth form Colleges for 14 years. Derek has been a Board member of the Association of Colleges (AoC) and Council Member of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). He is also a member of the Committee on Toxicity, the Committee on Carcinogenicity and the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme steering committee for the Food Standards Agency and Public Health England in Derbyshire. Derek is treasurer of several charities, a footpath inspector for PNFS and is involved with the Town Team in Buxton. He is committed to issues of Fairtrade and Trade Justice. [Updated 2017]

Simone was appointed as an independent governor in July 2023. She is a Deputy Director at the Department for Education (DfE) leading in Digital, Data, Comms and User Achievement for Post 16 Education. Simone brings nearly 15 years of expertise in developing system-level strategies and overseeing large-scale policy programmes and delivery.

She led a strategic review of the Student Loans Company; co-ordinated COVID-19 emergency responses in the HE sector; oversaw the implementation of a Change Programme for DfE’s Skills Group; and developed elements of the HE reform consultation and Lifelong Loan Entitlement policy.

She recently completed a master's degree with a specialist interest in AI human reasoning. Simone is passionate about transformational policy design and the ethical use of technology.

Simon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council in April 2019 and as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee on April 2020. He has spent his whole career working in digital technology, most recently as the 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.

In addition to his role at the University of Derby, Simon is also an Independent Non-Executive Director at MCPS.

Dr Bowen is Chief Executive of Chesterfield Borough Council, a role he took up in May 2008. Huw holds a PhD in Public Health and during his time at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff worked on commissions for the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Other current Board level appointments include the Derbyshire Health and Wellbeing Board, the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the Board of Corporation for Chesterfield College. Huw enjoys running and mountain biking, and is a keen follower of the Wales rugby team and Chesterfield football club. [Updated 2017]

Gavin Boyle is Chief Executive designate of the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board. He was the Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust from 2016 to 2021. He joined the NHS over 20 years ago as a General Management Trainee in Liverpool. This followed university and a degree in Biological Sciences, then a short period in private industry. He spent the first part of his time in the NHS in and around Liverpool in both primary care and organisation hospitals, then in Exeter and then Winchester where he was responsible for a broad range of hospital and community services.

More recently he has held board-level posts as Director of Operations at the Oxford Radcliffe Trust, the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham and at Leeds Teaching Hospitals. Prior to joining Derby Teaching Hospitals in March 2016 as Chief Executive, Gavin has held the position of Chief Executive at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District NHS Foundation Trust. Gavin became Chair of East Midlands Leadership Academy in November 2013 and is Chair of the East Midlands Acute Hospitals Chief Executives Forum. 

The University awarded Gavin an Honorary Doctorate in November 2021 in recognition of his achievements during the Covid-19 pandemic and his strong support for the University. [Updated 2021]

Alison is Principal, of Landau Forte College, Derby. She started her career as a geography teacher at a school in Essex. During a successful spell at a Derbyshire secondary school which progressed to Ofsted ‘Outstanding’, she developed from Head of Year to Assistant Head Teacher and then Deputy Head Teacher.

Ms Brannick joined the College from the high-performing Bethnal Green Academy which was also rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. She has a strong track record of school improvement and specialises in pastoral care and removing the barriers to achievement for all students. Ms Brannick believes that every young person deserves a world-class education regardless of social background or postcode and that there should be no excuses not to achieve highly. [Updated 2016]

Born in Coventry, Chris attended secondary school in Nuneaton. After he completed his degree at London University he began work in the Department of Psychiatry at Birmingham University, working on non-verbal communication and later with children and the families as a clinical ethologist at the Charles Burns Clinic. Chris was a founder member of and later President of, the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Association.

He has been an editor of several academic journals. Chris worked at the University of Central England for many years before joining the University of Derby, getting involved in counselling and psychotherapy, particularly the supervision of research degrees. He is currently a member of the Alcester Dementia Café, the Alcester Town’s Health and Well Being Board, and served as Deputy Mayor for 2016-17. [Updated 2017]

Clare is Dean of Research and Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Derby. Her research is multi-disciplinary and has two central themes: the small business sector, especially, from a gendered perspective and supply chain risk. Clare is a qualitative researcher, and her work has explored several sectors, including fast fashion, retail, higher education and B2B (business to business). Her research has been published widely in journals including Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research.

Her research has been funded by amongst others, the Academy of Marketing, the Society for Advancement in Management Studies and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). She is also an editorial board member of several leading publications. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has previously served as a Trustee/Director of the Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Nottingham Women’s Centre. [Updated 2019]

David has over 30 years’ experience in Public Relation and Funding Management in the voluntary sector. He worked for Barnardo's for 15 years and The Children's Society for 16 years, taking early retirement from the post of Executive Officer in 2003. The work focused on funding management, strategic and structural planning, organisational image and profile, high-level patronage and networking across the UK, with members of the Royal Family. Since retirement, he has undertaken numerous voluntary consultancy roles across the UK and in Indonesia. David was awarded The Order of The British Empire for Services to the Voluntary Sector in 2010. [Updated 2017]

Chair of Spacenow Ltd, Steve Brown was formerly a member of the Governing Council and was a key member of the Finance Employment and General Purposes Committee during the period 2001 to 2008. He was Vice-Chair of the East Midlands Development Agency before it was dissolved.

Adam is currently the Chief Executive of QUAD, Derby's centre for creative media and film. Adam is passionate about communications, the arts and equality of opportunity for all. He has worked in multiple sectors including experience of working for brands including Sony, Air France, Orange and Motorola. In the cultural and creative sector, Adam has successfully built brands and audiences for QUAD, FORMAT (the UK's largest contemporary photography festival), Derby Festé, and Derby Film Festival.

During his career, Adam has developed communications campaigns that have reached millions of people worldwide and inspired audiences to engage with diverse and exciting cultural activities. He has specialist knowledge of experiential marketing and communications that engage diverse demographic groups. In 2010 he was named one of the most influential business people under 42 in the Midlands and was an award-winning stand-up comedian in the early 2000s. He is committed to life-long learning having completed a distance learning course on Gamification at the University of Pennsylvania. Adam is a proud graduate of the University of Derby.

Adam is a Board member of Safe and Sound, the UK’s leading charity seeking to end child sexual exploitation. A Trustee of the University of Derby Union of Students, a Governor of Da Vinci Secondary School in Derby, and Board member of the Cinema Arts Network a leading digital agency connecting independent cinemas throughout the UK. Adam graduated from the Common Purpose Matrix course in 2010. [Updated 2017]

Chris is the Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Derby. [Updated 2020]

Brett is the founder of Datapath Ltd and various other businesses. He was formerly VP of Engineering at E.A. Games. He is now engaged in new internet start-ups and consulting. He is a former student of Derby College of Art and Technology and a Rolls Royce graduate apprentice. Brett is an Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Derby. In 2019, Brett became a founding member of the University’s Alumni and Membership Advisory Board. [Updated 2019]

Changing your information

Should your details require updating, please complete our form. For any questions or queries contact: Hannah Hallam, Development and Alumni Relations Manager, Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO).