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

Chair

Appointed as an Independent Governor 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 Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee and Governance and Nominations Committee and a member of the People 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.


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,  International Advisory 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 and a member of the Charities Advisory Committee.


Kevin Baughan

Kevin Baughan OBE

Co-opted Governor

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 the Academic Affairs Committee and a member of the Board of Governors.


David Frost

David Frost CBE, DL

Independent Governor

David was appointed as an Independent Governor in February 2017 and is also currently Chair of the Education Advisory Committee. He is currently the Chairman of Coltman Precast Concrete Ltd and a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands. Between 2003 and 2011 he was appointed as the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, representing the interests of 100,000 businesses from Westminster. Prior to this, David was the Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

David is also Chair of the Education Advisory Committee and a member of the Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee.


Sue Horner

Sue Horner MBE

Independent Governor

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 the Charities Advisory Committee and a member of the Education Advisory Committee and the Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee.


Ian Davidson

Ian Davidson

Independent Governor

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.


Obinna Okereke

Obinna Okereke

Student Governor

Obinna was appointed as a student governor in 2020 and is the Vice-President for Education at Coventry University Students’ Union and a member of the SU’s Board of Trustees. As the Vice-President for Education, Obinna serves as the voice and support for students across the Coventry University Group and seeks to ensure that students are at the heart of every decision taken. They served as an International Office Ambassador and Secretary of the Coventry University Amnesty Society in 2019/20 and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations at Coventry University.

Obinna is also a member of the Academic Affairs Committee.


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Linda Ryan

Co-opted Governor

Currently in their second term as Governor, Linda was appointed in February 2017. Prior to this Linda was an external co-opted member. They are a Chartered Accountant with a commercial and operational focus, experienced at operating at board level, with a strong emphasis on team working.

Linda is also Chair of Audit and Risk Committee.


Fiona Secondino

Fiona Secondino

Co-opted (Staff) Governor (Professional Services)

Fiona was appointed as Staff Governor in September 2016, having joined Coventry University in 1988 as a secretarial assistant working for the University Secretary and Assistant Director, Administration. In 1990 they joined the Committee Services operating in committee and governance positions. In 2005 Fiona 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 their employment at the University, they have also been a company secretary for the University’s spin-out companies and a director and company secretary for an out of school club at her local primary school, for which they secured lottery funding to aid its establishment. Fiona is a Coventry University Coach and Mentor and a Mentor for the Association of University Administrators.

Fiona is also a member of Academic Affairs Committee.


Fred Wright

Fred Wright

Independent Governor

Appointed as an Independent Governor in September 2018, Fred is the Group Operations Director of the volume housebuilder and developer, HarperCrewe (Holdings) Ltd. As both a board advisor and consultant, Fred has worked with clients including the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Homes England, UK Home Office and a selection of FTSE 100 companies.

With over 30 years’ experience in the private sector, they have worked at C-level for a range of multinationals including Royal Dutch Shell, Michelin Tyre Plc, Calor Group Plc and on an international basis for the world's largest privately-owned trading group SHV Energy NV.

Fred currently holds a portfolio of non-executive director roles in both the public and private sectors and is Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee of two SE based local authority trading companies (LATCs), engaged in construction, regeneration and place making.

Fred is also Chair of the Enterprise Advisory Committee and a member of the Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee.


Anne Obey

Anne Obey OBE

Independent Governor

Appointed as an independent governor in September 2020, Anne is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years’ experience. Anne is Director of Financial Reporting at Nationwide Building Society, having worked since 2007 in leadership roles in finance and internal audit. They have spent over 20 years in the audit practice of a PricewaterhouseCoopers specialising in retail financial services Aand has extensive experience of finance, risk management and internal controls.

Anne also chairs the board of Centre for Sustainable Energy, a charity working to change the way we think and act about energy.

Anne is also a member of the Enterprise Advisory Committee and the Governance and Nominations Committee.


Karen Martin

Karen Martin

Independent Governor

Karen is in her first term of office as an Independent Governor 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 Governor

Peter, first appointed to the Board of Governors as an Independent Governor 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 and a member of the International Advisory Committee.


Nicolas Taylor

Nicolas Taylor

External Co-opted Governor

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 General Counsel to Jones Lang LaSalle EMEA, having previously been the Legal Director for Dell Computer in Europe and Latin America and a solicitor in 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.


Catarina Fernandes Cardoso

Catarina Fernandes Cardoso

Student Governor

Catarina was appointed as a student governor in 2021 and is the President at Coventry University Students’ Union and a member of the SU’s Board of Trustees. As the President, Catarina heads the Executive Team at the Students’ Union and leads on campaigns and democracy, across the Coventry University Group. Catarina was previously the Engineering, Environment and Computing Faculty Officer and a Student Ambassador. Catarina has just graduated from her BSc in Mathematics and is currently pursuing an MSc in International Business Management.

Catarina is also a member of the Academic Affairs Committee.


David Secher portrait wearing a shirt

Dr David Secher

Co-opted Governor

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 a member of the Academic Affairs Commitee.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021