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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 Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Julie Sanders and President of the Students’ Union, Hannah Hockin (ex officio members)
  • independent members, external to the University and appointed by Council
  • members elected by the professional services staff
  • members elected by the academic staff
  • student member elected by the students

Profiles of Council members can be found below and the College Council Recruitment Policy can be found here.

Should you require details of Council's sub-committees, please contact Secretariat.

To contact a member of Council, please email

Governing documents

The key governing documents for Royal Holloway are:

Independent members

A passionate educationalist Sally was, until March 2022, CEO at Activate Learning. This is a multi-academy trust of six schools and seven colleges, with a budget of £150m and 2,500 staff. She led successful collaborations with several university partners including Royal Holloway, Middlesex, and Oxford Brooks.  

Sally is also the elected President of the Association of Colleges, a membership group of 220 FE colleges. She is the Chair of the Skills for Jobs White Paper Policy Group and on the boards of Pearson and STEM Learning.  

Her previous roles include Principal and CEO, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College; Principal and CEO; VP, Marketing and Communications, VP Curriculum and Learning Strategies, all at Milton Keynes College; and prior to that, Head of Business and Professional Studies, Hackney College of Further Education. 


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 with the Open University Business School, is chair of governors at Ark Soane Academy, a secondary school in Acton, west London. She is a trustee of the Girls Day School Trust (GDST) and chairs the GDST Academy Trust Board.

Michael joined the College Council in 2019 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.

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 has a career in media and PR spanning more than 30 years, working for a wide range of leading commercial, public and charitable clients both in the UK and internationally. She has held a variety of senior leadership roles at leading communications consultancies as well as over 20 years' experience as a non-executive director of both commercial organisations and charities, working objectively and collaboratively to help bring about real and positive change. 

Sarah is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees for Polka Theatre, Britain's leading children's theatre and creative learning charity, and until recently served as Chair of Hillgate Public Relations and on the Global Fundraising Board of the aid and development charity, Tearfund, as a member of the Disasters & Emergency Committee.  Sarah is also a Director of Gustaffson Holdings.

Tim’s has been active in the alternative residential sectors for over 25 years and has been directly involved in new development projects and investment portfolios, delivering c.30,000 student & BTR bed spaces in both the UK and other European countries such as Ireland, Germany and Spain.

He is now Managing Director of Campus Properties Ltd, which supports partners on real estate projects with a particular focus on student accommodation and in ensuring the best possible living experience is created for residents. Previous senior roles have included Head of Real Estate and CEO Europe at Global Student Accommodation Group; and Group Property Director at The Unite Group plc.

Tim is also a Trustee and Board Member of Julian House, a south-west of England based charity providing housing and other support services to individuals experiencing homelessness and social exclusion.

He holds a degree in Valuation and Estate Management from The University of the West of England and is a Member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

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 also VC of Governors at Wycombe High School Academies Trust.


Her Honour Judge Khatun Sapnara is a Circuit Judge and Deputy High Court Judge.  She sits at the Central London Family Court and Kingston Crown Court, presiding over both criminal and family law cases. She graduated with an LLB(Hons) from the London School of Economics (University of London) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Royal Holloway (University of London). Both of her sons have studied at Royal Holloway.

She practised as a barrister for 24 years and was recognised by the legal directories as a leading barrister in her field.  Khatun was appointed to the Family Justice Council, a body of experts to advise government on family law issues.

For 16 years, she served as Governor of the state secondary school she attended in Chadwell Heath.  She has advised and/ served as Chair or Trustee of Boards of NGOs and charities such as “Project Fusion – Newlon Housing Trust”  “Rights of Women”, “Ashiana” and also “Pause”

Judge Sapnara sets test papers and sits on selection panels assessing applicants for judicial posts for the Judicial Appointments Commission. She has taught family law to judges at the Judicial College. She is a Bencher of the Middle Temple (one of the four Inns of Court) and was appointed as a Judicial Role Model by the Lord Chief Justice in 2015.

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 became a full independent member of College Council 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 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 Accountants in England and Wales, and an accredited professional Pension Trustee. He has over 25 years of experience working with global blue-chip companies, including various Finance Director roles, and leading large multi-functional business services organisations in both the 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, the Government Actuary’s Department and UK Research and Innovation Audit and Risk Committee. In addition, he chairs the Trustee Board of a UK top 50 pension fund, is a Trustee with the Church of England Pension Fund and a Trustee at the Royal College of GPs.  He 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 an alumni of the London Business School.

Ex officio members

Hannah is the current President at Royal Holloway Students' Union.

Elected members

Donna read Economics at UCL after spending a number of years working for Royal Mail, in warehouses and in a bingo hall. Her post graduate studies were at LSE where she started an academic career on a series of casual contracts. She has been employed at RHUL for about twenty years and has held a range of academic administrative positions in her School. Her research interests can broadly be described as labour market issues and pedagogy. Whilst at RHUL she has been a trade union representative for UCU (and briefly AUT), using skills learned as a Communication Workers Union shop steward. Within her London neighbourhood she has been a community (primary) school governor, a member of a local nursery management committee and sits on a GP Practice Patient Group.

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.

Sarah is a Senior Systems Administrator in the IT Directorate. She studied History at Royal Holloway and was a Sabbatical Officer in the 2011-12 academic year. Important issues to Sarah include inclusion, student and staff wellbeing and providing a supportive environment for everyone. 

Student member

Sharanya is the VP Education at Royal Holloway Students' Union.

Declarations of Members’ Interests

Upcoming Council meeting dates

5 October 2023

23 November 2023

15 February 2024

16 May 2024

4 July 2024

3 October 2024

21 November 2024

Council agendas and minutes

5 October 2023

23 November 2023

22 February 2024

6 October 2022

24 November 2022

16 February 2023

18 May 2023

6 July 2023

7 October 2021

18 November 2021

17 February 2022

5 May 2022

7 July 2022

14 August 2020 - Special

18 September 2020 - Special

22 October 2020

18 November 2020

18 February 2021

9 October 2019

22 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

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