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Members of the Board of Governors

Stephen Parker

Pro-Chancellor & Chair of the Board of Governors

Stephen is a Non-Executive Director and Senior Advisor of FEV Group GmbH, a Non-Executive Director of the Transport Research Foundation and a Non-Executive Director of YASA Ltd. Stephen previously held a number of senior industry positions including Group Strategy Director Unipart Group of Companies, Group Director and member of the Board of Ricardo Plc, Vice President of A.T. Kearney, the international management consulting firm, Business Director and General Manager of Perkins Technology at Perkins Engines Group and a Divisional Director of Babcock International Plc. Stephen has broad international experience having been responsible for establishing and running companies in the USA, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea and China.

He joined the University Board in 2010, was Deputy Chair from 2014-15 and became Chair in 2015. In addition to his position as Chair of the Board of Governors he is also chairs the Strategy & Resources Committee, and is a member of the Investment Committee and Remuneration Committee. He is also a Trustee of Coventry University Charitable Trust and the CU Welfare Fund.

Keith Bissett

Pro-Chancellor & Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors

Keith is Chairman of the Warwickshire based consultancy & training company Bourton Group. His clients include MOD, Highways Agency, Sellafield, Rail, Rolls Royce and other Blue Chip companies. He was a member of the council for the Management Consultancies Association for 17 years and has served for 9 years as a member of the Warwickshire Advisory Committee which is responsible for the selection & appointment of magistrates.

Adedoyinsola Adebanjo

Adedoyinsola Adebanjo

Student Governor

Adedoyinsola is currently the Vice President for Education of CUSU, and member of the Union’s Board of Trustees. He was previously CUSU’s Black and Minority Students’ Councillor (2016/2017). As Vice President for Education of CUSU for 2017/2018, Adedoyinsola will act as the voice and support all students with academic issues, review academic regulations and make significant contributions towards a better student experience for all.

Adedoyinsola is interested in promoting and supporting the rep system to ensure that students' voices are heard across all levels of the University. Adedoyinsola is also interested in international diplomacy as he was a student ambassador of American University of Nigeria to American University in DC.

Chidiebere Francis Ahanonu

Chidiebere Francis Ahanonu

Student Governor

Francis is currently the President of Coventry University Students’ Union (CUSU) 2017/2018, Chair of CUSU’s Executive Committee and Deputy Chair of the Union’s Board of Trustees. He was previously Vice President for Postgraduates (2016/2017). He has been involved with the Students’ Union as Course Rep and Student Councillor (2015/2016).

As President of CUSU for 2017/2018, Francis will lead the Executive committee as the voice for the Union. He plans to be an advocate for more support for Mental Health and awareness, to improve sustainability of services and excellent educational and social experience, whilst building a bond between the University and the student body.

Francis is interested in leadership, entrepreneurship, and accountancy as well as guiding the young minds.

Val Cox

Staff Governor

Following BSc and PhD degrees at the University of Liverpool Dr Val Cox held Research Fellow posts at the University of Leeds Medical School and a lectureship in Biosciences at The University of Durham. She joined Coventry University in 1999 and for 10 years was Head of Biomolecular and Sport Sciences. She remained research active in physiology (including cardiac rehabilitation and changes in skeletal muscle in response to exercise), with pedagogic publications (new technology; supporting minority groups) and a significant teaching load. Hence, she has both hands-on and managerial understanding of changing student expectations in Higher Education and operational challenges in maintaining quality and balancing teaching/research demands for academic staff.

Externally she has also held Committee posts in the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences and acted as external examiner/advisor for various Universities. She now has a new role at Coventry, which includes timetabling and helping with estates planning.

Neil Crockett


Neil has a strong track record as a CEO, General Manager and Director bringing together a unique combination of skills and experience around innovation, finance, business development and sales and marketing in both global blue chip and start up organisations. Neil spent 14 years at Cisco Systems and from 2013 until 2016 Neil was CEO of the Digital Catapult, a not-for-profit organisation accelerating the best UK digital ideas to markets.

Neil was also responsible for CISCO’s sponsorship and deployments at the London 2012 games and an active GB board member for Co-operation Ireland Limited, a peace-building charity. He has also been on the Innovation panel for the Queens Awards for Industry and a member of the EIT Digital London Steering Board, the Smart London Board, the Northern Ireland Matrix ICT panel and on the board of the Bradford Digital Health Enterprise Zone.

David Frost CBE, DL

Governor and Chair of Educational Common Board

David is Chairman of the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire LEP and also an adviser to Empactis, a company providing employee management and engagement systems. Previously he was Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, where from offices in Westminster he represented the interests of 100,000 businesses. He was also Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands.

Jenny Hully

Governor and Co-Chair of Academic Affairs Committee

Jenny Hully is Head of Strategic Planning at the National Physical Laboratory, where for the last 3 years she has been leading on the strategy development, initiatives and transition. She graduated from Maastricht University with a Masters in International Economics and Management Sciences. Always at the interface of science and business, her experience includes Knowledge Transfer and business support at NPL, business management for an engineering consultancy in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices, business development for a start up in Biomedical Imaging and conference production for the Hannover Fair, Germany. She is currently the co-chair for the International Metrology Conference 2015 in Paris, France.

John Latham


Originally having a background in IT and Telecommunications John is a double graduate of the University. Since 1995 he has been involved in the development of Coventry Technology Park, which has been recognised nationally and internationally for its business incubator facilities. The park also offers a number of award winning start-up programmes including the very successful Vision Works.

John has a number of high profile roles at the local, regional, national and European level which include: Director of the EU-funded Midlands Innovation Relay Centre - which supports innovation across the two Midland regions, he is also a Member of various UK Government Science advisory bodies. Additionally at a regional level, John has worked as a secondee to Advantage West Midlands (the RDA) and Government Office for the West Midlands.

John has worked for a number of private sector organisations in the last twenty years (including JHP Group Limited, BT, GEC, GPT and Jaguar Cars). He has a long history of engagement in co-operation and development programmes - including involvement in a number of networks, committees and partnership projects in many of the major European Research and Development and Education and Training Programmes.

Viplavi Mahendra


Viplavi Mahendra is one of the leading India qualified corporate lawyers in the United Kingdom (UK). Viplavi comes from family of well-known freedom fighters, philanthropists and doctors in South India. Having worked with some of the best law firms in India and the UK, she set her firm up, India Business Hub (IBH) in the UK in 2012 which is one of the few firms in UK and probably Europe, which specifically focusses on Business/trade between India, UK and Europe, with a very niche business and legal offering with offices in India and the UK. She also lends her expertise to businesses as an Independent and non-executive director. Viplavi’s talks delving into doing business with India and UK are the highlights of numerous national and international events. She also works with a number of charities in India and UK.

Viplavi works with a number of inward investment organisations, particularly in the Midlands. She is a firm believer in the dynamic environment offered by the Midlands for local and international businesses and very passionately supports the region. In fact, her primary objective in setting up in Midlands was to highlight the region and its offering to her Indian clients and also demonstrate that a successful business can be built in Midlands. She has aided many investments into the region and is responsible for the world’s third largest interior infrastructure company to be set up in Birmingham.

Viplavi has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from MNCs to start-ups, SMEs to not for profit organisations, Universities to colleges. She has also facilitated multi-million pound investments into India and UK. International business and trade is her forte. Having worked with some of the top universities and colleges in India, education sector and skill development are her special interests. She regularly addresses various education and skills events.

Anil Majithia


Anil is a highly experienced professional executive with over 25+ years' international experience of delivering major transformational change (Technology, Business, Culture and organisational) within different industry sectors - Financial Services, Defence, Banking, Utilities, Consumer Products and Transportations. He also has significant Board level experience of governance, strategic management, working with senior executives, influencing stakeholders and contributing to overall wellbeing of the organisations and their future sustainability.

Anil is also Chair of Voluntary Action Leicestershire, Trustee of DSU, Governor North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College and independent member of Governance Committee, Science Council.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management, a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and a member of the Institute of Directors.

Tim Matthews

Governor and Chair of Human Resources Committee & Remuneration Committee

Tim was appointed as Chief Executive of Remploy in October 2008 and retired from this role in December 2013. He has spent most of his career in senior executive roles in the public sector. These include Chief Executive of the Highways Agency (2000-2003) and Chief Executive of Guys and St Thomas' NHS Hospital Trust (1993-2000). From 2003-2008 he was Managing Director and then Senior Vice President of global consulting engineering and project management company Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. In addition to Coventry University, Tim is a non-executive director of Geoffrey Osborne Ltd and chairs PIP, a learning disability charity in London.

Graham McKean


Graham is a career banker responsible for Santander’s UK Healthcare and Education team, providing funding and banking services to Higher Education and Further Education institutions, and healthcare businesses. Graham was formerly the Head of Real Estate for Lloyds Banking Group.

Andrew Meehan


Andy is a graduate of Oxford University, a Chartered Accountant and for 30 years enjoyed an executive career mainly in the retail sector, having had roles as Finance Director and Chief Executive of several companies including Selfridges, Mothercare and Co-operative Retail Services.

For the last 11 years, he has had a portfolio of chairmanships and non-executive directorships across commercial, public and charity sectors, including GHD Group, Fortnum and Mason and Myton Hospice.

He is currently Chairman of Ramsdens Holdings PLC, Direct Healthcare Services Ltd and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and the hospitals’ charity.

He is also Chairman of Mayday Trust, a charity working with people experiencing homelessness, a trustee of CVQO, an educational charity, treasurer of his local church and is a member of the Safeguarding Scrutiny Group of the Church of England Diocese of Coventry.

Jim Norton FREng

Governor and Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

Jim is a Chartered Director, Chartered Engineer and Chartered IT Professional. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Jim has a special interest in communications and spectrum engineering and his career spans the private sector (BT, Cable & Wireless, Deutsche Telecom), the Public Sector (Department of Trade & Industry & Cabinet Office) and Third Sector (BCS). His current research interests include the resilience to cascade failure of National Infrastructure.

Marion Plant, OBE

Governor and Co-Chair of Academic Affairs Committee

Marion Plant has been a non-executive DfE board member since January 2015. She is Principal and Chief Executive of two Colleges of FE (North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and South Leicestershire College). She is Chief Executive of the Midland Academies Trust which sponsors seven secondary schools including two Studio Schools. She is a board member of the Coventry and Warwickshire and the Leicester and Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnerships and has a lead role for skills on both.

She previously worked in the NHS as both a midwife and a health visitor.

Martin Reeves


Martin has been Chief Executive of Coventry City Council since April 2009. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.

Martin was previously Head of Performance Improvement at Westminster City Council in the heart of London. He was also Programme Director for WorkSmart, the City Council's flagship transformation programme. Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher, and has a PhD in applied economics. He is the first Honorary President of LARIA (Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association).

He was the President of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) in 2013 and now leads their Digital Leadership Network. He is also the Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.

He co-chairs the national systems leadership board and sits on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Advisory Board. In 2014 he was ranked at 32 in the Local Government Chronicle's list of the 100 most influential people in local government.

In 2015 he was ranked in the top 20 of the Local Government Chronicle's list of the 100 most influential people in local government.

Steve Rogers


Steve is Director of UX (user experience) for Google Inc., leading the design of ads products in London. He has led their design of privacy products and products for emerging markets. From 2001 until 2006 he was head of production and development at BBC New Media where he was responsible for building and running and BBC Interactive TV. From 2006 to 2008 he was with BT where he formed their digital product strategy.
 After studying transport design at Coventry, he worked at Philips Electronics as an Industrial Designer, ultimately helping run Philips' Incubator Centre in Silicon Valley California. From 2000 until 2001 he was VP of product development at Razorfish in San Francisco.

Fiona Secondino

Staff Governor

Fiona joined Coventry University in 1988 as a Secretarial Assistant working for the University Secretary and Assistant Director [Administration]. In 1990 she joined Committee Services operating in committee and governance positions. In 2005 she became interested in project management and joined the Business Development Support Office as a Project Officer, before being promoted to the post of Senior Project Manager. In November 2014 Fiona became the Head of the Research Delivery Support Unit within the newly formed Research Office.

During her employment at the University Fiona has also been a Company Secretary for University spin-out companies and a Director and Company Secretary for an ‘Out of School Club’ at her local Primary School for which she had secured lottery funding to establish.

Robert Stockdale


Robert has over 30 years of international HR experience, gained primarily in manufacturing. He has broad experience in managing re-structuring and supporting growth across both Europe and the Americas, as well as parts of Asia-pacific. Robert continues to act as an adviser to NSK Ltd., on global executive compensation and is a Trustee of their UK pension scheme. He is a Fellow of the C.I.P.D. and volunteers as an adviser for Warwick District C.A.B.

Helen Nixseaman


Helen is a Chartered Accountant with expertise in risk management and internal controls. Her career has included being a Risk Assurance partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. She is also on the boards of James Allens' Girls School, Young Enterprise and Phillips Racing Ltd. Helen has an MA in Natural Sciences and an MSc in Biochemical Engineering. She lives in Oxfordshire and has an interest in horse racing.

Linda Ryan


Linda is a Chartered Accountant with a commercial and operational focus, experienced at operating at board level, with a strong emphasis on team working.

External Co-opted Members

Geoff Berry

External Co-opted Member (Investment Committee and Audit & Risk Committee)

Geoff is a Chartered Accountant with a special interest in SME and start-up businesses. He is a past Finance Director of High Duty Alloys Ltd., a supplier of components in aluminum, titanium, and other specialist materials primarily to the aerospace and defence sector.

Ian Davidson

External Co-opted Member (Investment Committee)

Ian is a Chartered Accountant with more than 25 years’ experience in industry. Most recently he was Chairman of the GSH Group plc, an international facilities and energy management group with operations across the UK, Europe, North America and India. He has held board level positions in several companies in a diverse range of sectors, including engineering, automotive, pharmaceuticals and retailing. He has a broad background of working internationally.

Ian has particular expertise in the financing and restructuring of businesses with a distinct emphasis on mergers, acquisitions and disposals.

Mike Gansser-Potts

External Co-opted Member (Strategy & Resource Committee)

Mike is a Chartered Engineer with an MBA from INSEAD in France, and has spent the majority of his career in managerial roles in UK industry. Mike was a lead member of the management buy-out of Coventry based business Amtico International and subsequently spent 15 years working in SMEs for private equity owners. In addition Mike has 10 years' experience working for much larger businesses - Shell, Courtaulds, Lavendon Group and IMI. Currently Mike is Managing Director of MGP Executive Ltd., providing interim management services to industry and private equity.

Mark Jones

External Co-opted Member (Investment Committee)

Mark is a Director at Arup with over 28 years of international experience of management consultancy with a strong focus on the design, procurement and construction of capital projects in UK and overseas. Mark is the Consulting Practice Leader for the Midlands and North West and Yorkshire Region. This remit links Mark into the global Arup consulting network through which he has responsibilities to develop and implement various firm-wide and local initiatives to improve service offerings to clients.

Mike Judge

Pro-Chancellor and External Co-opted Member (HR Committee)

'Helping people achieve their potential'

Mike has a lifelong interest in education and training and works extensively in his local community in a variety of charitable causes. He has a particular interest and involvement in amateur dramatics.

Susan Morton

External Co-opted Member (HR Committee)

Most recently Susan was HR Director for Carillion plc. She was one of the executive team responsible for Carillion's demerger from Tarmac in 1999. Her particular remit for 13 years focused upon people, values and culture change. Susan spent a decade working in a number of automotive and manufacturing companies leading behaviour changes for performance improvement. Whilst working in the Finance sector Susan was instrumental in the transformation of and subsequent demutualisation of Birmingham Midshires Building Society. She has a degree in Behavioural Science from Aston University and an MBA from Warwick. Susan was a founder member of the Government Training Standards Council and the Deputy Prime Minister's private sector advisory panel on Neighbourhood Renewal. She currently holds a number of non-executive positions in education charities.

Tony Scanlon

External Co-opted Member (Audit & Risk Committee)

Formerly Chief Executive High Duty Alloys Ltd (1995-2000) and Managing Director Dunlop Ltd Aviation Division (1989-95). Tony is a past president of the Engineering Employers Federation West Midlands, and was a member of the DTI West Midlands Industrial Development Board. He also served on the Governing Councils of SBAC and EEF and held non-executive directorships with Firth Rixson Plc and Mettis Aerospace Group Ltd. Tony has been a Governor since 2001/02.

Liz Watson

External Co-opted Member (Academic Affairs Committee)

Liz held various senior management posts during her long career at Rolls-Royce. She worked on engine development programmes and was the first woman to become Chief Engineer, a prestigious position leading the engineering team. She worked on several international collaborative engine programmes and managed large service fleets. In Combustion she led the engineering design team working with UK, European and US universities developing low emissions technologies, new manufacturing methods and test facilities. Latterly she held a corporate position on Product Safety, making the risks the products pose and how they are controlled meaningful for everyone. Liz retired from Rolls-Royce in April 2015.

Liz won the Women in Science and Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 in recognition of what she had achieved in her years in industry.