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College Council

The Council is the governing body of the College with responsibility for financial integrity and setting the overall strategic direction of Royal Holloway.

There are 25 members in the Council, of whom the majority are appointed from outside Royal Holloway (lay members). There are 16 lay members who are selected to provide a range of skills and experience for the College to draw on. Each lay member is initially appointed for five years.

Lay members also serve on College committees, such as Nominations, Finance and Equality and Diversity. Members of Council are also the trustees of the Founder’s Endowment Fund; a trust established in 1992 for the benefit of Royal Holloway.

Mr Stephen Cox, Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO), is the chairman of the Council and several committees including the Remuneration Committee. This sets the pay of the Principal and College Secretary. The Principal, Professor Paul Layzell, is answerable to the Chairman.

The Principal and President of the Student’s Union are ex officio members of the Council.

The remaining membership is made up as follows: three members elected by non-academic staff, two members elected by the academic teaching staff and one member of the academic teaching staff elected by members of the Academic Board. There is also one student member elected by the students.

All Council members devote a considerable amount of their own time to the College. Much of this is devoted to governance activities but they also help promote the interests of the College, build networks and encourage supporters.

Council members have a Statement of Primary Responsibilities and the Duties of Council members can be found here

Current membership of the Council

College counc

Council members at their annual strategy day meeting on 17 November 2015, which was held at Cumberland Lodge.  The following members are absent from the photograph -  Mr Mark Newlands, Mr Iain Ross, Professor Liz Schafer, Ms Chris Shoukry and Ms Colette Wilson.

Members of the Council are also trustees of Royal Holloway as a charity. Further information on the College's charitable status and a list of other charities that Council members are trustees of can be found here.



Mr Stephen Cox CVO (Chairman)  

Stephen became Chairman of College Council in November 2011.

Stephen was the executive director of the Royal Society for 14 years from July 1997 until his retirement in February 2011. During his time there, he led the Society’s 350th anniversary celebrations.

He started his career by joining the Overseas Career Service of the British Council in 1969 and was posted to Warsaw after language training. Stephen spent time in West Africa, notably Ghana and Togo, with the British Council. He was then education attaché at the British Embassy in Washington DC in the early 1980s.

In 1985, Stephen joined the Royal Society where he ran the international office until 1990 before becoming executive director in 1997. From 1991-97, he was director-general of the Commonwealth Institute; an organisation he remodelled in the light of reducing government grants. He was also chief executive for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, where he worked closely with both Houses of Parliament to support institutions in the emerging democracies of central Europe, the former Soviet Union and sub-Saharan Africa.

Stephen is a trustee of the International Polar Foundation, the Frederick Soddy Trust and was a trustee of  the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics 1997-2009. He also chaired the Board of Atlantic College in South Wales from 2010-2015.  In the 1997 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order ( CVO). He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and was awarded an honorary DSc by Lancaster University.

 Iain Ross

Mr Iain Ross (Vice-Chairman)

Iain is an alumnus of the College (BSc Biochemistry, 1975, Royal Holloway College). He joined Council as an alumni representative in 2007 and has been Vice-Chairman since 2011.

Iain Ross is a veteran of the Biotech industry having raised more than £300m for private and public biotech companies. He has been Chairman and CEO of numerous biotech companies and has led 5 IPOs on the London, New York and Australian Stock exchanges. Currently he is Executive Chairman of e-Therapeutics plc, Biomer Limited and sits on the Boards of ‎Anatara Ltd, Benitec Ltd, Novogen Ltd and Premier Veterinary Group plc. He is a Chartered Director and Vice Chair of Council of RHUL. 



Mr Gurpreet Dehal  


Gurpreet joined College Council in 2010.151118_024

Gurpreet has more than 20 years' experience of financial risk management and operational experience gained across major Investment Banking firms such as Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch. His Risk and Chief Operating Officer roles included responsibility for financial planning, audit and risk management across global businesses, and liaising with regulators and trading exchanges.

Having retired from full-time Investment Banking in 2014, he is now a Board Member with the UK Ministry of Defence and a member of the Audit Committee for Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group. He is also developing his Higher Education interests by undertaking a PhD in Higher Education Research, Evaluation & Enhancement with the University of Lancaster. 


Ms Ann EwingAnn Ewing


Ann joined College Council in July 2014.

Ann graduated from Royal Holloway with a degree in History and went on to complete her PGCE and PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge.  She was awarded her MBA at Warwick University Business School. She is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Ann is an experienced executive and has held a wide range of roles in the private and not-for-profit sectors as well as consultancy assignments in the UK and internationally. Many of her roles have focused on strategy, change management, and leadership development.

In addition to her membership of Royal Holloway Council, Ann is a governor at De Montfort University, chairs the governing body of ARK Oval School in Croydon, and works with the Open University Business School.

Mrs Christine GoodyearCG

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.


Mr Majid Hawa _DSC9257MHawa

Majid is an Honorary Fellow of the College. He joined College Council in 2011.

Born and educated in Nairobi, where he began as a freelance photographer, Majid came to the UK and settled into a sales career for 3M. 

In 1988, he moved to Englefield Green; at the time when the College was contemplating a Muslim prayer room. Being aware of the additional support that Muslim students might need, from breaking fast during Ramadan to assisting with trips to Mecca, Majid helped form the Islamic Welfare Association of West Surrey.

He was the Association's chairman for seven years, and, with his fellow elders, has lent great support to Muslim students of Royal Holloway. Majid stays in touch with graduates who have returned to their homelands and “moved into greater and better things”.


Mrs Margaret Jack _DSC9238MJack

Margaret joined College Council in 2011.

Margaret has held a number of senior roles in the higher education sector, including deputy academic registrar at South Bank Polytechnic, assistant director (Programmes) at the Polytechnics Funding Council and director of Quality Assurance at BTEC.

Most recently, she was chief executive of the Guildford Chamber of Commerce and business development manager at Hart Brown Solicitors. Margaret is a trustee of the Guildford Institute and three other charities. 


Ms Sarah KingG5LS8574 LR

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 charitiy, Tearfund.


Mr Jeremy McIlroy     

Jeremy McIlroy

Jeremy joined College Council in 2010.

Jeremy is a chartered accountant who spent his entire career with Ernst & Young, one of the “Big Four” accountancy firms, until his recent retirement. During his career, he undertook a number of roles in management as well as advising clients. Jeremy acted as the head of the London tax department for a number of years too. He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.  


Mr Mark Newlands  

Mark Newlands

Mark joined College Council in 2010 and has been a co-opted member of the Audit and Compliance Committee since 2005.

Mark is head of risk management and business assurance at Anglo American PLC. He is responsible for internal audit, risk management, business integrity, compliance and insurance. He was previously director of risk management for the BOC Group. Mark has an MBA from Henley Management College and is a Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management.


Mr Gerry O'Hagan

Gerry joined College Council in July 2014.Gerry-O-Hagen

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.


Mr Nick Perryman                                                                      NickPerryman_councilmember

Nick is an alumnus of the College (BSc Psychology, Royal Holloway 1997). 

He joined College Council in 2014.

Nick Perryman is a Managing Director at UBS. He is Head of Wealth Management, Global Emerging Markets in London, and leads a team of 90 professionals serving clients in Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Prior to this role, for five years, Nick was Head of Investment Products & Services, UK where he led a team of specialists - across investment management, capital markets, alternative investments, lending and wealth planning – responsible for over £30bn of client assets. Additionally, he oversees the UBS UK philanthropy offering and, in this capacity, is a member of the boards of directors of the UBS Optimus Foundation UK and the UBS UK Donor Advised Foundation. He joined UBS in 2002.

In addition to having a BSc in Psychology from the College, he holds an MBA in Banking from the University of London, is a Chartered Wealth Manager and Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. In 2015, Nick was selected as an Institute of International Finance - Future Leader, and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Mrs Chris Shoukry


Chris joined 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.


Mr David Spence 

David Spence

David joined College Council in 2010.

David was a partner in Grant Thornton UK until 2005. A chartered accountant, he has been a Department of Trade and Industry Inspector and has specialised in corporate finance, investigations, audit, forensic and expert witness work.

He was president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, chairing their research committee. He has also been a member of the UK Auditing Practices Board, chairman of the Chartered Accountants Joint Ethics Committee and convenor of the ICAS Research Committee.

Currently, David is chairman of the Scottish Accountancy Trust for Education and Research. He is a member of the Rules of Golf Committee of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club as well as a trustee and treasurer of health charity DEBRA too.


Ms Colette Wilson  


Colette is an alumna of the College (BA Honours Economics and Public Administration, Royal Holloway 1993).  She joined College Council in March 2012.

Colette is a chartered accountant with 17 years’ experience in audit and a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

In her current role in Ernst & Young Global, she is part of a small team building a single global internal audit function for the company and responsible for devising and delivering the programme of internal audits.

Previously, in Ernst & Young she worked with a number of FTSE 50 organisations to assess the performance of their internal audit and risk functions and identify areas for improvement.  Colette’s previous roles include European audit director for American Express and internal auditor, financial and IT auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She is an independent member of the Corporation and chair of the Audit Committee at Richmond upon Thames College, Twickenham.


Professor Paul Layzell - Principal

Professor Layzell joined the College on 16 August 2010. He is an Ex Officio member of the Council.


Ms Natasha Barrett, President of the Students' Union 2016/17

Ex Officio member of Council 



Ms Emilie Ancelin

Student member of Council


Mr John Gregory

Elected by the non- academic staff. 


Professor David Gilbert


Elected by the Academic teaching staff

David is Professor of Urban and Historical Geography at Royal Holloway and has been head of the Geography Department since 2011.  He has been employed as an academic since 1991, following an earlier appointment at Queen Mary, University of London.  He was brought up in Reading, and was educated at St Catharine's College, Cambridge University and completed his D.Phil. at Exeter College, Oxford University.  His research has focused on the modern history of London, and has published widely on themes such as London and empire, modern urban tourism, London's role as a fashion capital, and the nature of suburbia.  Major grants for his work have come from AHRC, ESRC and Leverhulme.  He has a strong record of collaborative PhD supervision, and has worked closely with the Museum of London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and Botanic Gardens Conservation International in this respect.  He serves on the academic advisory panel for the Museum of London.


Mrs Denise Keable


Member of Council elected by the non-academic staff







Dr Nicole Rickett

Member of Council elected by the non-academic staff

Professor Sarah Ansari

Elected by the academic teaching staff  151118_020

Sarah Ansari is currently Professor of History at Royal Holloway, University of London, with research interests in the history of South Asia and Pakistan in particular.  She was formerly Head of the History department (2010-13), and has carried out other departmental roles
such as Chair of the History Sub-Board of Examiners (2007-10).  She
has spent the greater part of her academic career associated with Royal Holloway, progressing from an undergraduate to postgraduate to postdoctoral fellow to member of staff over the last 30 years, with only a few short interruptions at other institutions!  She is a trustee (member of its Council) of the Royal Asiatic Society (and the editor of its journal, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society [( published by CUP)], and also one of the trustees of the Charles Wallace Trust (Pakistan), which operates in partnership with the British Council.  She is also a governor at a local primary school in Egham.


Professor Elizabeth Schafer_DSC9283LSchafer

Elected by the academic teaching staff

Elizabeth Schafer is Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London.  She has taught at universities in Australia, Canada, Brazil,  France and Hungary and her research focuses around two main areas: Shakespeare in production and Australian drama and theatre.  Her publications include Ms-Directing Shakespeare: Women Direct Shakespeare and performance histories of The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night.  Her Lilian Baylis: A Biography was short listed for the Theatre Book Prize 2006 and she edited The City Wit for pioneering Richard Brome Online (2010).  She is general editor of the online  journal Australian Studies (hosted by the National Library of Australia) and is currently writing a performance history of The Merry Wives of Windsor.



Secretary to Council: Dr David Ashton

The Council and College Secretary are supported by Pauline Martin, Executive Officer for Council. Should you wish to contact a member of Council, please send all mail items care of the College Secretary, or email secretariat@royalholloway.ac.uk.



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