Board of Governors and Committees

Board of Governors

The University governing body is appointed under the provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988. It is collectively responsible for overseeing the University activities, determining its future direction, and fostering an environment in which its mission is achieved and the potential of all learners is maximised.

Nick Sale chair of the board of governors at Coventry university

Nick Sale


Appointed as an Independent member of the Board of Governors in September 2018, Nick became Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors and Pro-Chancellor in September 2020, before being appointed as Chair in September 2021. An experienced business leader and company director who worked as a chief operating officer in the automotive industry until early in 2018, Nick has a successful track record working throughout the world in Professional Services for both IT and Engineering Companies. More recently Nick has worked as an advisor and Non-Executive Director to both UK and International Technology Companies and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

Nick is also Chair of the Governance and Nominations Committee and a member of the People Committee, Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Helen Nixseaman

Helen Nixseaman

Deputy Chair

Currently in their first term as Deputy Chair and second term as a Governor, Helen was appointed in September 2017. Prior to this Helen was an external co-opted member. Helen is a Chartered Accountant with expertise in risk management and internal controls, with a career that has included being a risk assurance partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Helen has an MA in Natural Sciences and an MSc in Biochemical Engineering.

Helen is also a member of the Governance and Nominations Committee, Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee, People Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Anand Shukla

Anand Shukla

Independent Governor

Anand is Chief Executive of the Henry Smith Charity, one of the UK’s largest grant giving foundations. His extensive leadership experience at executive and non-executive level spans the civil society, public and higher education sectors.

He was the Chief Executive of Brightside between 2015 and 2020 – a mentoring charity that works with 10,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds every year. Previously, he led Daycare Trust and Family and Childcare Trust which advocate for high-quality universal childcare and support for families across the UK.

Anand was the chair of the governing body of his children’s primary school and has also served as a Non-Executive Director at the Social Investment Business. He is currently a Trustee at the Richard Thornton Foundation.

Anand’s leadership skills were recognised when he became a Clore Social Leadership Fellow in 2012, and when he was awarded a scholarship by the Harvard Business School Alumni Club of London in 2018 to study strategy at Harvard Business School.

He grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands and studied French and History at Keble College, Oxford. In his early career, he worked in private sector publishing for Reed Elsevier, Butterworths and Lexis- Nexis. He has also worked for the children’s charity Barnardo’s. Anand is also a Non-Executive Director of CU Social Enterprise CIC.

Professor John Latham

Professor John Latham CBE

Executive Member (Vice-Chancellor)

John leads the delivery of the University Group’s strategic objectives as agreed by the Board of Governors and was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2014. A double graduate of the University, they have a background in information technology and telecommunications, having held high-profile roles at regional, national and European levels promoting innovation, technology and economic development.

John is a non-executive Director of Health Education England (the primary funder of health related education in England), is a Council member of InnovateUK (part of the UK’s National Research Agency (UKRI)) and is a Board member of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. John is additionally an advisory board member of the UK’s National Growth Board, which is responsible for the oversight of the UK’s European Structural Funds Programme.

John is the Extraordinary Professor in the area of enterprise and entrepreneurship at Stellenbosch University, South Africa and is also a member of the Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee and People Committee.

Dr Furrkh Aslam

Furrkh Aslam

Staff Governor (Academic)

Appointed as a Staff Governor in September 2018, Furrkh is a Senior Lecturer in Computing based within the Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computer.

Furrkh first joined the university in 1998 and has taught in the areas of E and M Commence, Business Continuity, Global Business development and System analysis. They are interested in overseas recruitment and collaboration, having travelled extensively to the Indian sub-continent.

Furrkh has held posts in secondary schools and Further Education and was also an Ofsted inspector. They have managed their own printing and marketing company, IT consultancy and software development house.

A senior yoga instructor for Yoga Alliance UK and joint co-founder of his own martial arts school, Furrkh is also a trustee on the board at the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre and is an advisor to the Coventry Girls and Boys club.

Furrkh is also a trustee of the Coventry University Students’ Union.

Kevin Baughan

Kevin Baughan OBE

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Kevin is the former Deputy Chief Executive of Innovate UK where they focused on the development and delivery of Innovate UK’s investment portfolio regionally, nationally and globally. Progressing from roles as Innovate UK’s Director of Technology and Chief Development Officer, Kevin championed and pioneered many new important initiatives such as the proposals which led to the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and the forging of closer working partnerships with Venture Capital funds leading to the Investment Acceleration programmes.

Kevin has an extensive track record in delivering transformative growth through leading edge innovations, in particular for the telecommunications industry, where they held leadership positions with BT, Nortel Networks and Virgin Media. Whilst Director of Technical Strategy at Virgin Media: Kevin pioneered Virgin’s rollout of the UK’s first mass-market superfast broadband in 2008; championed Virgin’s migration to a new generation digital entertainment service in 2010 and then as Director of Wireless, was responsible for the roll out of high-speed WiFi access across the London Underground in time for the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Birmingham in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Aston University and an MBA with distinction from Imperial College.

In addition to their role as a Governor at Coventry University Group, Kevin is a Trustee on the Board of the City and Guilds Group and an industry advisor on innovation.

Kevin is also Chair of Education Committee and Research Committee.

Sue Horner

Sue Horner MBE

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Appointed to the Board of Governors in September 2018, Sue began a career as a school teacher and has been at the forefront of developments within the national curriculum in the UK in her capacity as Director of Curriculum for England, leading a team working on the national curriculum and regulating GCSE and A level examinations. Sue is a leader in education and the arts with a commitment to young people, their futures and what they need to succeed.

Sue has also worked at an international level in Rwanda and Oman assisting in the redevelopment of their education systems and is recognised as an international expert on reading and its assessments.

Closely involved with arts charities, particularly those working with children and young people, they are focussed on creative writing and reading. In 2013 Sue was awarded an MBE for services to literature.

Sue is also Chair of Charities Committee and a member of the Education Committee.

Ian Davidson

Ian Davidson

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Ian is a Chartered Accountant with more than 25 years’ experience in the industry and most recently was chairman of the GSH Group Plc, an international facilities and energy management group with operations across the UK, Europe, North America and India. They have held board-level positions in several companies in a diverse range of sectors, including engineering, automotive, pharmaceuticals and retailing. Ian 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.

Ian is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Anne Obey

Anne Obey OBE

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Appointed as an Independent member of the Board of Governors in September 2020, Anne is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience. Anne is a non-executive director of Western Provident Association and chairs the board of Centre for Sustainable Energy, a charity working to change the way we think and act about energy.

Anne’s executive career included 15 years in leadership positions at Nationwide Building Society, including as Director of Financial Reporting and as Chief Internal Auditor, following a career in the audit practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers specialising in retail financial services. Anne has extensive experience of finance, risk management and internal controls. In 2019 Anne was awarded an OBE for services to financial reporting and sustainable energy.

Anne is also Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Karen Martin

Karen Martin

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Karen is in her first term of office as an Independent member of the Board of Governors and member of the People Committee and Remuneration Committee. Karen’s background has been in the NHS where she has worked for 38 years. Karen has extensive experience as an Executive Board Director in different NHS organisations, including Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and a wealth of experience in transformation, Human Resources/workforce, organisational development, leadership, communications, corporate affairs and change management. Her career has spanned a range of health organisations including health authority and both acute and mental health services and has always held responsibility for education, learning and development within these different organisations.

Karen has previously been a school governor and a Trustee at Foxford School academy and is a qualified Executive Coach.

Karen is also Chair of the People Committee and Remuneration Committee.

Peter Reynolds

Peter Reynolds

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Peter, first appointed to the Board of Governors as an Independent member of the Board of Governors in September 2020, is a marketing and sales specialist with over 30 years’ experience in consumer goods and professional services in national and international leadership roles. He was previously a board governor of Instructus (a charity that supports apprenticeships and other workplace learning) and Chair of The Institute of Paralegals.

Peter’s international know-how comes from 15 years living and working overseas. Based in Bangkok for seven years, he worked across the whole of Asia helping companies create and implement growth strategies. On moving to Switzerland, he led the EMEA sales function for a large US consultancy.

Peter is active in his local community, being a committee member of drama and folk music groups.

Peter is also a member of Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee and he is the Chair of the Global Committee.

Nicolas Taylor

Nicolas Taylor

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Appointed to the Board of Governors in September 2020, Nicolas is an International Business Lawyer, Board Adviser and Legal and Compliance Specialist, expert in guiding the development and delivery of critical business and legal strategies for high-growth businesses to drive sustainability and risk awareness.

Nicolas currently serves as Head of Legal to Realty Income, Europe, having previously held the roles of General Counsel for JLL in EMEA, Legal Director for Dell Computer in Europe and Latin America, and practised as a solicitor in the City of London. They have a proven track record leading and integrating a broad range of acquisitions to expand into emerging territories and enable core market transformations. Nicolas has extensive experience of negotiating and delivering international projects and investments and building strong cross-cultural senior stakeholder relationships to board and government level.

Nicolas holds an LL.B. with French Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Strasbourg and can speak six languages including English, French and Spanish.

Nicolas is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

David Secher

Dr David Secher

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Dr David Secher is an independent consultant in the areas of research commercialisation, intellectual property and technology transfer, in the UK and internationally. Assignments include work in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South America, Africa, and Europe. He is based in Cambridge University, where he is a Life Fellow of Gonville & Caius College.

In 2002, together with Lita Nelsen of MIT, he founded Praxis (now PraxisAuril), the leading UK knowledge exchange organisation. He served as chairman or as a director until 2014 and is now Patron. For his contributions to “creating environments that favour enterprise, specialising in the practical aspects of commercialising the results of academic research”, he was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2007.

Previous roles include Senior Bursar, Gonville & Caius College; CEO of the N8 Research Partnership; Director of Research Services, Cambridge University; Director of Drug Development, Cancer Research Campaign; Director of Monoclonal Therapeutics, Celltech Ltd.; and Tenured Group Leader, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. As a consultant, he has advised universities, governments and individuals on commercialisation of intellectual property, as well as acting as a non-executive director of technology and investment companies. He is a director of Crossword Cybersecurity plc.

Secher graduated from the Cambridge University (Churchill College) with first class honours in biochemistry. His PhD work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology was with César Milstein (Nobel Prize-­winner for discovery of monoclonal antibodies). Together with Derek Burke, Secher made and patented the first monoclonal antibody to human interferon.

David is also Chair of the Enterprise and Innovation Committee and a member of the Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee and Research Committee.

Kerry McGreavy

Kerry McGreavy

Staff Governor

Kerry was appointed as Staff Governor in September 2022. Having joined Coventry University in 2011 as an Employment Personal Tutor based within the Faculty of Business and Law, in 2018 she moved into a role managing the apprenticeship team, and is now the Head of Apprenticeships within CU Apprenticeships (Better Futures).

In 2013 Kerry, as a mature student, joined the first cohort of part time learners to study through the newly formed Coventry University College (later becoming the CU Group), achieving her BA in Management and Leadership in 2017.

Kerry developed an interest in coaching and mentoring during her early years as an Employment Personal Tutor, writing her dissertation on the topic while establishing a student mentoring scheme with the Government Economics Service. When the Coventry University Coaching and Mentoring Academy was formed in 2018 she joined the first cohort of internal staff to be trained as coach/mentors, and has continued to support colleagues though her involvement with the Academy ever since.

She also developed an interest in supporting the career ambitions of women, and has been part of both the Athena Swan Action Team and the Gender Leadership and Development Group. Kerry later joined the first cohort of staff members to undertake the Aurora programme, and has used these experience to further inform the support she offers colleagues through the Coaching and Mentoring Academy.

Kerry is also a member of the Education Committee and Research Committee.

Akhil portrait

Akhil Sha

Student Governor

Appointed as Student Governor in July 2023, Akhil is Your SU’s Welfare Officer and a trustee of the Coventry University Students' Union. His journey at the University began in May 2022 when he joined as a Master of Business Administration student, specialising in Artificial Intelligence.

Akhil has played a number of diverse roles within the University, previously serving both as an Educational Transformation Representative and as a mentor, providing invaluable support to fellow students. Before venturing into academia, Akhil previously worked as a marketing manager for a sports company and held a position as an Assistant Professor in Engineering.

Outside of University, Akhil is a martial arts enthusiast and is a Karate black belt instructor affiliated with the Karate Federation of India. Most notably, in March 2018, he achieved a Guinness World Record certificate for partaking in the organisation of a 5000 all-female assembly of Karate students, showcasing their commitment to women's empowerment.

Academically, Akhil holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a Master's degree in Thermal Engineering, a testament to his passion for diverse fields.

Akhil is also involved in Coventry University’s Citizen scientist team project and is a member of the Education Committee.

Panchami Satheesh

Panchami Satheesh

Student Governor

Appointed as Student Governor in July 2023, Panchami is Your SU’s Education Officer and through her role is determined to leave a lasting impact on her community. Despite facing challenges related to her disability, Panchami's academic journey led her to achieve an MSc in International Business Management from Coventry University. Within the Coventry University community, Panchami has made significant contributions as a Student Ambassador, Peer Mentor, and Education Transformation Representative.

In July 2023 Panchami joined the esteemed Coventry Students’ Union Team. In both her roles as an Education Officer and student Governor, Panchami’s voice and insights will shape decisions, ensuring the student perspective is well-represented.

Panchami is also a member of the Education Committee.

Fred Wright

Fred Wright

Independent member of the Board of Governors

Appointed to the Board of Governors in September 2018, Fred is Commercial Director of the Warwickshire based business consultancy Clearing House Ltd and as a managing consultant worked with clients including the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK Home Office, Northern Ireland Civil Service, and a selection of FTSE 100 companies. With over 30 years experience in the private sector, he has worked at C-level for a range of multinationals; including Royal Dutch Shell, Michelin Tyre Plc, Calor Group Plc and on international basis for the world’s largest privately owned trading group SHV Energy NV.

He currently holds a portfolio of Non-Executive Director roles in both the Public and Private Sectors and consults commercially across all sectors. Fred is currently Chair of the Audit & Risk Assurance Committee of a successful SE based local authority trading company (LATC), engaged in construction, regeneration and place making.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023