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College Council

College Council

College Council is the governing body of Royal Holloway and is responsible for overall strategy and policy-making.

Council is responsible for:

  • setting the overall strategic direction for Royal Holloway
  • ensuring our financial and academic probity and our sustainability 
  • safeguarding our good name
  • ensuring that policies and processes are in place to achieve our desired outcomes and are properly executed

Council has adopted the Higher Education Code of Governance and Statement of Primary Responsibilities drawn up by the Committee of University Chairs (CUC).

Membership of Council

 Membership consists of:

  • Council Chair, The Right Honourable Dame Margaret Hodge, Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE), Member of Parliament (MP)
  • the Principal, Paul Layzell, and President of the Students’ Union (ex officio members)
  • independent members, appointed for an initial term of four years
  • members elected by professional services staff
  • members elected by the academic staff
  • student member elected by the students.

Council members are also trustees of the Founder’s Endowment Fund, a trust established in 1992 for the benefit of Royal Holloway. The Academic Board reports to Council. See below for full details of current Council members.

The College Council Recuitment Policy can be found here.

To contact a member of Council, email

Governing documents

The key governing documents for Royal Holloway are:

Independent members

Ann joined College Council in July 2014.

Ann is a senior executive leader with broad experience in general management, change management and strategic HR. She has worked in the commercial and not for profit sectors, specialising since 2010 in education. After graduating from Royal Holloway University of London she completed her PGCE and PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Ann joined BP in the early 80s and worked in a range of executive roles until 2006, when she took up the position of Head of Learning and Development at HSBC Bank. She later worked with Ark, the children's education charity.

Ann currently teaches on postgraduate programmes wtih the Open University Business School, is Vice Chair of A New Direction, a charity promoting access to the arts and culture, and is chair of governors at Ark Oval Primary School in Croydon. She chairs the Academy Trust Board of the Girls School Trust.

Michael joined the College Council in 2019 initially as a co-opted member, becoming a full independent member in 2021.

Michael is Honorary Professor at UCL Medical School, University College London. He was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex until 2016, and before that Principal of St George’s, University of London, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Glasgow and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Bart’s and the London.  He graduated from the University College Hospital Medical School and undertook training posts in Cambridge, London and Boston, USA. As a clinical academic his major research interests included the pathogenesis and treatment of intestinal infection and he has collaborated with researchers on major projects in India, sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

He was editor of Gut from 1996-2002 and is an editorial board member of several international gastroenterology journals. He has served as President of the British Society of Gastroenterology and President of United European Gastroenterology. He has taken an active interest in research and publication integrity and in misconduct in biomedical research. He was founding Chair of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) between 1998 and 2003. He was founding Vice-Chair of the UK Research Integrity office. He served as a member of the UK medical regulator, The General Medical Council and chaired the Audit and Risk committee.

He currently Chairs the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, The Charleston Trust and the West Pier Trust Brighton. He has broad interests in the visual and performing arts and has recently published a book with his artist brother on Leonardo’s da Vinci’s anatomical drawings (Leonardo da Vinci: Under the skin) and published a second book in 2019, Finding India.

Christine joined College Council in October 2012.

Christine qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and has spent the greater part of her career as a partner of one of Surrey’s leading law firms. As Head of the Business Services Group in that firm, she was responsible for its development into one of the largest in Surrey.

For a number of years, she was also chairman of the firm before setting up a niche commercial law practice with two other partners in 2010. Called Goodyear Blackie Herrington LLP, it is dedicated to providing pragmatic legal advice on business matters to SMEs and charities as well as individuals in relation to their business affairs.

She has always taken a special interest in education and is highly regarded as an adviser to independent schools. Christine acts for large senior and preparatory schools in London and the south-east, regularly speaking at conferences and events for the sector.

Currently, Christine is a director of Enterprise First (Southern) Ltd, a not-for-profit enterprise agency, and has previously been chairman of Guildford Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the professional services group of Guildford Business Forum.

Margaret Hodge

Educated at Bromley High School and Oxford High School, Margaret obtained a B.Sc (Economics) degree at the London School of Economics in 1966. Her early career was in teaching and international market research. She became an elected councillor in 1973, rising to be Leader of L.B. Islington from 1982-92. She was also Chair of the Association of London Authorities and Deputy Chair of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. She has served as Chair of school governing bodies and housing associations. She has been a member of a hospital trust, a prison governing board and held a number of Government appointments during her period in local government.

In 1992 Margaret joined Price Waterhouse Coopers as a Senior Public Sector consultant.

She became the Labour Member of Parliament for Barking in June 1994. In 2010 she faced a challenge from the leader of the British National Party in the General Election of that year, but was returned with a comfortable majority.

She was a Minister in the Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, holding portfolios in the Departments for Education, Work and Pensions, Business, and Culture. She was the first Children’s Minister from 2003 to 2005, Minister for Universities from 2001-2003 and Minister for the Arts and the Creative Industries for the last years of the Labour Government.

In 2010 she became the first elected Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and was also its first female Chair. She held the post for the full parliamentary term, retiring in 2015.  Margaret published “Called to Account” in September 2016, reflecting on her time as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

Margaret is now a Visiting Professor at The Policy Institute at King’s College London. She chairs the Board of the Theatre Royal Stratford East. She chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Taxation and co-chairs Govern Up with Nick Herbert M.P. She is a Director of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and sits on the editorial board for Political Quarterly. In 2017, she co-chaired the Fawcett Society’s Local Government Commission and undertook a review of the Garden Bridge Project for the Mayor of London. In 2018, she became a member of the board at the Social Market Foundation.

Sarah joined College Council in July 2014.

Sarah has a career in media and PR spanning more than 30 years, working for a wide range of "blue chip" commercial, public and charitable clients covering reputation management, brand development, CSR/corporate ethics, communications strategy, media and government relations and internal communications.

She has extensive executive experience as a board and divisional director of leading communications consultancies as well over 15 years' experience as a non-executive director of both commercial organisations and charities, working objectively and collaboratively to help bring about real and positve change.  Sarah is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees for Polka Theatre, Britain's leading children's theatre, and also serves on the Board of Hillgate Public Relations and on the Global Fundraising Board of the aid and development charity, Tearfund.

Gerry joined College Council in July 2014.

Gerry is Managing Director of Fairholme Consulting Ltd which provides business advisory services and executive coaching to companies, specialising in innovation and supply chain management. He acts as an Adviser for Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Scheme, Europe’s leading programme helping businesses improve competitiveness and profitability through the better use of the technology and skills that reside within UK Universities. For most of his career Gerry held a variety of global business leadership roles in Diageo plc who he joined as a graduate trainee.

Gerry has a degree in Economics from the University of London, an MBA from the University of Glasgow and is currently studying part-time for a postgraduate qualification in Coaching and Behavioural Change at the University of Reading. He is VC of Governors at Wycombe High School Academies Trust and Treasurer of KidsOut; a children’s charity.

Nick is an alumnus of the College (BSc Psychology, Royal Holloway 1997). He joined College Council in 2014.

Nick has over 20 years of experience in the wealth and investment management, and acts as an independent strategic advisor to wealthy families and non-profits.

He was with UBS between 2002 and 2019, where he was a Managing Director. During this period, he held a number of leadership roles, including as Head of Wealth Management, Global Emerging Markets in London, where he led a team of over 100 professionals serving families in Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Prior to this, between 2010 and 2015, Nick was Head of Investment Products & Services, UK & Jersey where he led a team of over 100 specialists responsible for £30 billion of client assets. At UBS, he also founded the client philanthropy unit in the UK, and in this capacity, he was a member of the boards of the UBS Optimus Foundation UK and the UBS-UK Donor Advised Foundation (which became the UK’s second largest donor advised fund).

He holds a BSc degree in Psychology from the College, as well as a MBA Finance and MSc in Organizational Psychology degrees from the University of London. He is also a Chartered Wealth Manager, Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a part-time doctoral researcher at Durham University.

Peter joined the College Council as a Co-opted Independent Member in 2019.

Peter spent the first part of his career in Industrial Research, including 10 years as Director of Research Laboratories UK, and a member of the international management team of Philips Research.

Since then he has undertaken a portfolio of non-executive and advisory roles particularity in HE and science policy.

He was a member of the Board of Hefce from 2002-08, and chair the Hefce Advisory group on Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects from 2008-15. He was a member of the Council of Research England, is a member of  the REF Physics panel, and chairs the Assessment Panel for the UK research Partnership Innovation Fund.

He is a member of Council at Royal Holloway and Loughborough Universities, and was Vice Chair of Sussex University Council from 2005-11. He has also chaired advisory boards at the University of Surrey, where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 2002.

He is a past President of the Institute of Physics, and was a Vice President and Honorary International Secretary of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2003 to 2009. He is currently President of the European Active and Assisted Living Programme. 

Chris joined the College Council in October 2012.

Chris is an experienced project and programme manager and expert reviewer of large and complex public and private sector projects and programmes. This is in addition to being a specialist in public procurement and contract management.

Her key strengths are in the translation of policy and strategy into reality and in the management of complex multi-stakeholder programmes and projects spanning an array of sectors from ICT, science and services through to construction.

Following a successful 20 year career in major project procurement and project management for the National Grid Company (specialising in construction and operational ICT), Chris was TFL programme manager for the implementation of the London Oyster card smart ticketing programme.

Since then, as a board director of the ALCO Group LTD and Gateway™ review team leader for High Risk Projects, she leads reviews for numerous high profile and public sector clients including UK Central Government agencies, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Government, Government of Northern Ireland, the UK National Health Service, Transport for London and various governments in Australia.  She is also a reviewer of major projects for the Major Projects Authority and has led or participated in seven Major Project Reviews to date.

Outside the Gateway™ process, Chris works internationally, conducting project and programme reviews for both public and private sector organisations as well as consulting on a wide variety of major projects and programmes including the smart ticketing projects for Vancouver and Melbourne.

Balram is currently the Director of Quality, Risk and Assurance at BBC where his responsibilities include Internal Audit, Risk management, Safety and Security, Data Protection and Assurance of critical projects. Previously, he has worked in senior executive roles with Royal Bank of Scotland bank and ABN Amro bank covering Internal Audit and Risk management across Operations, Technology and Central functions. Prior to this he worked in KPMG for 12 years, including as Partner with responsibility for financial audits across a range of sectors.

He is also a Non-Executive Director at NHS Digital and is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Balram qualified as a chartered accountant in 1988 and has over 25 years experience of risk governance including developing and implementing risk management systems, assisting organisations assess its capacity to handle risk and supporting Boards with monitoring and assessing culture, diversity and inclusion.

David joined the College Council as a Co-opted Independent Member in 2019, becoming a full independent member in 2021.

He is currently Chair of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, having previously been the Managing Director of the Audit Commission and editor of the Guardian Public Magazine.

David has extensive Board and Trustee experience, including:

  •  Trustee, Nuffield Trust
  •  Trustee, National Centre for Social Research
  •  Council Member, Economic Social Research Council
  •  Non-Executive Director, Places for People

David joined the College Council in 2016.

David is a chartered accountant who trained at Price Waterhouse before moving into the commercial sector. He has been Finance Director and Managing Director to a number of companies in both the IT and construction sectors. Apart from travelling extensively across Europe, USA and Japan he has lived in both Ireland and Finland. He subsequently moved into education and was a bursar at Charterhouse for 8 years. He is currently acting as a consultant bursar, and is founder of BursarSearch, a small recruitment company.

Ian Wilson joined the College in 2020 as Chair of the Finance Committee.

Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of  Chartered Accountant in England and Wales, and an accredited professional Pension Trustee. He has over 25 years’ experience working with global blue-chip companies including various Finance Director roles as well as leading large multi-functional business services organisations for internal customers in both private and public sectors.

Ian now focuses on Non-Executive Director and Pension Trustee roles. He is currently a Non-Executive Director at the Department Work & Pensions, and Government Actuary’s Department. He chairs the Trustee Board of a UK top 50 pension fund, is a Trustee with the Church of England Pension Fund and a lay member of the Planning and Resources Committee at the Royal College of GPs.  He also has previous experience as a Non-Executive Director with the NHS and Ministry of Defence.

Ian holds an MA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and is also an alumni of London  Business School.

Ex officio members

Previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sussex, Professor Layzell joined the College in 2010.

See our Executive Team for more information.

Elected members

Robert Fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald is currently Professor of Business History and International Business at Royal Holloway, University of London, which he joined as a lecturer, and he has taught at the London School of Economics and at universities in Japan and The Netherlands.

He is a former President of the Association of Business Historians, and founded the academic journal Asia Pacific Business Review. He has researched and written on the historical, international and comparative analysis of business, multinational enterprise, and the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and British economies. 'The Rise of the Global Company: Multinationals and the Making of the Modern World' was recently published by Cambridge University Press.


John Gregory is a member of staff in the IT Services department at Royal Holloway, University of London. He graduated from Loughborough University in Geography & Library and Information Studies.

Council agendas and minutes

14 August 2020 - Special

18 September 2020 - Special

22 October 2020

18 November 2020

18 February 2021

9 October 2019

20 November 2019

08 January 2020 - Special

20 February 2020

15 April 2020 - Special

7 May 2020

4 June 2020 - Special

2 July 2020


10 October 2018

22 November 2018

28 February 2019

2 May 2019

4 July 2019

4 October 2017

23 November 2017

21 February 2018

25 April 2018

4 July 2018

5 October 2016

24 November 2016

22 February 2017

10 May 2017

5 July 2017

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