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College Council

The College Council is the governing body of the College, with responsibility for financial probity and setting its overall strategic direction.

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 CVO is the Chairman of the Council and of 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, 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, building networks and encouraging supporters.

Council members have a Statement of Primary Responsibilities|.

Current membership of the Council


Council Members at their annual strategy day meeting on 28th November 2013, which was held at Cumberland Lodge.  The following members are absent from the photograph - Mrs Margaret Jack, Mr Mark Newlands, Mr David Spence.

Members of the Council are also Trustees of Royal Holloway as a charity, and of the Founder’s Endowment Fund.

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 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 Council for Assisting Refugee Academics and the Frederick Soddy Trust. He also chairs the Board of Atlantic College in South Wales. In the 1997 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was made a Commander ( 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) and Chairs the Alumni Advisory Group. He has been Vice Chairman of College Council since 2011 and an alumni representative on Council since 2007.

An entrepreneur with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector, Iain is Chairman of both Ark Therapeutics PLC (a FTSE listed biotechnology company) and Pharminox Ltd. He has considerable experience of mergers and acquisitions in both the UK and USA and raised substantial funds both publicly and privately.

He has also held senior commercial and general management positions with an array of large firms such as Hoffman-La-Roche, Reed International and Sandoz AG. He is a Chartered Director of the UK Institute of Directors and a Trustee of the Peter Samuel Royal Free Charity.

After graduating, he was Vice President of the Students’ Union in 1975. He is married to fellow alumnus Barbara.

Mr Paul Blagbrough  

Paul Blagbrough

Paul has been a member of College Council since 2006. 

Whilst at the Save and Prosper Group in the 1980s, Paul helped to establish the Senior Management training programme at Royal Holloway. Now a business consultant, he is Chairman of Remote Diagnostics Technologies Ltd. He was also Director of Finance of the Labour Party until 1997.

He was a Councillor for Woking for 14 years and Mayor of Woking in 1983-84 before becoming involved in the development of mutual funds and their application during the process of mass privatisation in Eastern Europe during the early 1990s.


Mr Gurpreet Dehal 

Gurpreet Dehal

Gurpreet joined College Council in 2010

Gurpreet is a Managing Director within the Equity Division of Credit Suisse Investment Bank and is the Chief Operating Officer for the Prime Services Business globally. 

He has more than 20 years' experience of Financial Risk Management and Operational experience gained across major firms in both London and New York, which allows him to coordinate all aspects of the business which supports mainly Hedge Fund clients.    

Mrs Christine Goodyear


Christine joined the 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 a 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


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 its 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

Margaret Jack

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 Guildford Chamber of Commerce and Business Development Manager at Hart Brown Solicitors. Margaret is a Trustee of the Guildford Institute and three other charities.

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.

Mrs Chris Shoukry


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.

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, RHUL 1993).  She joined the College Council in March 2012.

Colette is a Chartered Accountant with 17 years’ experience in audit and is 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 Ernst & Young and is 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 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

Mr Amabeer Singh-Gill, President of the Students' Union 2013-14

Mr Alex Cadier, Student Union Chair  2013-14

Professor Clare Bradley, elected by the Academic Teaching Staff

Professor Anne Sheppard, elected by the Academic Teaching Staff

Dr David Gilbert,   elected by  the Academic Board Academic Teaching Staff

Mr John  Brannan, elected by the Non-Academic Staff

Mr David Cobb, elected by the Non-Academic Staff 

Ms Sarah Moffat, elected by the Non-Academic Staff


College Secretary: Simon Higman

The Council and College Secretary are supported by Pauline Martin, Governance Support Officer. Should you wish to contact a member of Council, please send all mail items care of the College Secretary, or email secretariatrhul.ac.uk|.


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