Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Group

Professor John Latham 

Vice-Chancellor and CEO

John’s blend of business acumen and academic insight – as well as his passion for innovation in education – have, over the past decade, helped Coventry University to carve itself a reputation as the country’s top modern university, and one which is not afraid to do things differently.

His appointment as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Coventry University in 2014 marked a milestone in an accomplished career which began when he graduated from the very same institution he now leads. It followed an eight-year tenure as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Business Development at the University, and – prior to that – a diverse range of roles in an array of technology specialisms.

Testament to John’s successful leadership is a raft of recent awards for Coventry, most notably the 2015 ‘University of the Year’ accolade awarded by the Times Higher Education, which followed a trio of consecutive ‘Modern University of the Year’ titles in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide for 2014, 2015 and 2016.

John’s entrepreneurial approach has seen him forge connections and collaborations across the globe. The unprecedented reach and number of links Coventry University can now boast with a wide array of organisations – not just in the UK and Europe, but worldwide – continue to reflect his forward-thinking leadership.

A singular combination of business savvy and academic experience has seen him take an instrumental role in the establishment of several of Coventry University’s most ground-breaking initiatives, most notably its Technology Park and – more recently – the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering in collaboration with Unipart Manufacturing Group.

High profile roles at regional, national and European level have enabled John to engage extensively with programmes such as the EU-funded Midlands Innovation Relay Centre and Advantage West Midlands. He retains his considerable influence at a regional level through a deep and wide-ranging involvement with the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, for which, as a board member and sub-group chair, he played a key role in the successful City Deal submission. 

Ownership of a number of board-level, committee member and advisory posts at several eminent national organisations – including the Design Council, HEFCE, Universities UK and University Alliance mission group – provide John with invaluable insight and an influence for Coventry University at the highest levels.


Dr Andy Palmer

Aston Martin President & CEO

Dr Andy Palmer, CMG, is the Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. He joined the business 2014.

Andy is a chartered engineer, chartered manager and businessman with over 35 years of automotive industry experience. He has an MSc in product engineering from Warwick University and a PhD in management from Cranfield University.

In 2010, Coventry University awarded Andy an Honorary Doctorate of Technology and in 2014 he was appointed Professor, advising the University in the automotive field.

Prior to joining Aston Martin, Andy was chief planning officer at Nissan Motor Co after holding a number of senior positions during a 24 year career with the firm.

Andy started his professional career in 1979 aged 16, as an apprentice at Automotive Products Limited (UK) and after six years with Austin Rover, he joined Nissan.

In the 2014 New Year’s Honours list Andy was named a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in recognition of services to the British automotive industry.


Sir Ciarán Dervane

Chief executive, British Council

Sir Ciarán Devane took up the role of British Council chief executive in January 2015. Prior to this, Ciarán was chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support from 2007 to 2014. He transformed the scale and impact of the charity, leading to Macmillan being the UK's 'Brand of be Year' in 2014.

Ciarán was educated at University College, Dublin where he gained first-class honours in biochemical engineering. He then started his career as an engineer and manager for Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) before becoming a management consultant. A specialist in complex change programmes, he has also worked with companies such as AstraZeneca and Rolls Royce.

With MA in International Policy and Practice from George Washington University, Washington DC, Ciarán has also held non-executive roles on the board of organisations ranging from small local charities to NHS England and was awarded a knighthood in 2015 for his services to cancer patients.


Dr Brian Milington

Director, National Engineering Laboratory (NEL)

Brian has over 30 years diverse working experience in both the public sector, mainly and the oil and gas sector within the UK and overseas. 

He has worked very closely with the Dept for Trade and Industry (DTI) and now the Dept for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in relation to the measurement science which the UK public sector supports through the three National Measurement Institutes:  NEL, LGC and NPL.

Brian also chairs numerous international conferences relating to research and development in the oil and gas sector and played a major role in transferring NEL from the public sector to the private sector, during a hugely challenging time for the business.


Dr Majid Alsadi

Eastern Investment Group Holding

Majid is founder and chairman of the Eastern Investment Group Holding, a British registered company with headquarters in Jordan and operating in the Middle East. The Company manages investments in the aviation, hospitality, training and security industry.

Majid has a wide reaching academic career, including a stint as a visiting Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Coventry University.

As the founder of a scholarship foundation and sponsor of several international educational foundations, offering support across the board, from the most talented to the most opportunity-deprived children and students, Majid is a devotee of the transformative power of education.

Involved as a trustee and sponsor in several different schemes, Majid also sponsors an initiative supporting young Iraqi architects in association with Coventry University.


Kathryn Chapman

Milner Therapeutics

Kathryn Chapman is the Executive Director of the Milner Therapeutics Institute, a partnership between pharmaceutical companies and academics at the University of Cambridge. Its mission is to connect the intellectual know-how of academic institutions with the drug-developing capacity of the pharmaceutical industry and translate pioneering science into therapies.

Prior to joining the Milner Institute, Kathryn was Head of Innovation and Translation at the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). There she spent 10 years working with over 40 pharmaceutical companies in the US and Europe to improve scientific and business processes in drug development.

More recently, Kathryn founded and directed a new challenge-led open innovation platform, to increase cross-discipline and cross-sector industry/academic partnerships in applied research. Kathryn has a PhD is in the genetics of osteoarthritis and she has previously carried out biomedical research at the University of Manchester, Harvard Medical School, Welcome Trust Sanger Institute and GlaxoSmithKline. Kathryn has 50+ research publications and has been on a wide-range of national and international review panels (e.g. Innovate UK, Innovative Medicines Initiative and BBSRC).


Michael John Cook 

Partner, BuroHappold Engineering

Michael is a leading structural engineer who has made a significant contribution to the design of many innovative buildings, to the development of a thriving consultancy practice (BuroHappold Engineering), where he was Chairman from 2011 to 2017.

After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Michael worked on a range of membrane and cable net structures. He then joined a newly–formed research group at the University o, undertaking research and development and was awarded a PhD in 1983. Since that time, he has led the design of many award-winning construction projects in the UK, USA, Germany, Middle East and the Far East. He was awarded the IABSE Milne Medal in 2009 and an honorary Engineering Doctorate from the University of Bath in 2017.

Beyond his design consultancy work, Michael spends much of his time spreading his passion for design across a wide, international field. He works with students, presents lectures and contributes to press, radio and television as a means of communicating the message that engineering design is about translating nature into the man-made world.

Michael has always maintained connections with various University Schools of Architecture and Engineering, offering students every opportunity to make the most of his expertise. He is Adjunct Professor at Imperial College where he teaches Creative Design in the Department of Civil Engineering and an external examiner at the Architectural Association. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers where he chairs the Engineering for Education committee.


Phil Smith phil smith

Chairman/ Non-Executive Director

Phil is a Chairman and Director as well as an advisor mentor and speaker. As former Chief Executive and Chairman of Cisco UK and Ireland, Phil is passionate about innovation, skills, technology, digitisation and leadership. Phil is Chairman of IQE PLC, a leading advanced materials solutions company, headquartered in Cardiff, focused on the Compound Semiconductor market. Phil is also a non-executive director of Streeva a Fintech based growing company using blockchain based solutions to enhance payments.

In the broader innovation and skills space, Phil is also former chair of Innovate UK, the Government’s innovation agency as well as Chair of the Tech Partnership Degrees which is an employer led organisation championing digital skills. In his industry and government roles he also co-Chair of the Digital Skills Partnership and is on the board of the Digital Economy Council, is a member of the UKRI E-Infrastructure Advisory Board (EAB).

Additionally, Phil also sits on a number of advisory boards in organisations as diverse as Lloyds Register and the National Theatre.

Phil championed and is passionate about, innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity whilst at Cisco and continues now in many of his roles. He is founder member of the Productivity Leadership Group and a commercial trustee of Be the Business. He is additionally a Board Mentor for Critical Eye.

He has been recognised with several industry accolades and awards from mentorship for women to CSR, company culture, employee engagement and leadership as well as change and digitalisation. Those include Orange Business Leader of the year, a member of Wired 100 and listed in the inaugural 50 Kindest Leaders in 2018.

Phil’s contribution to industry has been recognised with Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham City, Warwick and Glasgow Universities and an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff.

Phil is the founder of a group of CEOs and leaders who, since 2012 have raised close to £1m for Sport Relief participating with their teams in Triathlon based events.

Phil is a keen Triathlete and cyclist and has qualified in Triathlon for Team GB in 2014, 2015 and 2017, competing in Canada and the Netherlands.


Professor Philippa Snare 

EMEA Global Business Marketing, Facebook Inc.

Philippa has spent her entire career online. She began by helping to grow Scoot into a £100m classified ads business before it was taken over by Yell. By leading key partnerships for MSN with Virgin, Sky, VNU, Semantec, Times online, Philippa helped build UK MSN team culture and operation from 40 people to 130, and from $17M to $130M in advertising revenue over four years. 

Several other high profile services and companies have benefitted from her expertise, including Hotmail, Messenger, Saas, Windows 10, Surface, Office 365, Xbox One and MS Cloud Services.

While at Microsoft, Philippa spent over a decade building a modern marketing organisation before moving on to Facebook. 

Winner of the Sunday Times Top Women under 35 in Business Award in 2012, Philippa also won the Microsoft Chairman’s award for transforming the UK developer division in 2011.

Philippa became a board member and advisor to Coventry University in 2015, the same year she scooped an award from the Leadership Trust for Inspirational Leadership.


Professor Elizabeth Kucinich

Drawing from her extensive experience inside the U.S. political system and work experience in five continents, Professor Kucinich works to strengthen the institutional capacity of organisations who work to bring social, economic, energy, health, agricultural and ecological systems into balance. Elizabeth employs a combination of systems thinking and strengths-based appreciative inquiry bringing to the table approaches that underscore the primacy of eco-logical design and human vision.

In recent years she has taken a leading position in strengthening a network of initiatives working with digital asset technology to design monetary systems based upon bioregional regeneration. She has led international dialogues and keynoted conferences helping to reframe paradigms and facilitate transformational thinking in fields of human and ecological security and systems of abundance.

In 2018, Elizabeth was appointed by the European Commission to the Sino-EU Panel on Land and Soil. She is an appointee to the Culinary Institute of America’s Liberal Arts Advisory Council, America’s highest ranked culinary school, and served as a board director for notable organizations including, Board Policy Chair for the Rodale Institute, the oldest organic research institute in America (2012-2018) and founding board member of J/P HRO, Sean Penn's Haitian Relief Organization (2010-2015).

Elizabeth is an advisor to DCEFF, the world’s largest environmental film festival and has produced several award-winning documentaries including GMO-OMG and Hot Water, about radioactive contamination of groundwater across the United States from the uranium industry.

Elizabeth was a Congressional liaison for the 63rd President of the UN General Assembly focusing on international monetary systems reform; Director of Government Affairs for PCRM, focusing on US legislative and regulatory agency promotion of the prevention and reversal of disease through plant-based diets, and the human-centered research modeling and casualty training (2009-2013); and Director of policy at the Center for Food Safety, with a focus on agriculture, biotech and health, in Washington, DC (2013-2015).


Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt 

Chief Nurse, Health Education England

Programme Lead: Influential Leadership for Policy, Nursing Now

Lisa was appointed as Director of Nursing at Health Education England (HEE) in 2012, and Chief Nurse in October 2017. As a Board Member of HEE, Lisa provides strategic, multi-professional leadership on the education and training of the NHS workforce. She provides support and policy development to the Chief Nursing Officer, senior nurse leaders across health and social care, the Secretary of State of Health, Ministers of State for Health and senior civil servants. She is also HEE’s sponsor and champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

Passionate about nurse improvement programmes, education, innovation and patient experience, Lisa has led transformational change across the system. This includes implementing the Shape of Caring Raising the Bar Nurse Education programme and the introduction of the first new nursing role for a generation – the Nursing Associate. Lisa works with NHS England to develop the Chief Nursing Officer framework, and supports the integration of health and social care, particularly through the development of the Nursing Associate role.

Lisa’s portfolio includes ensuring that the NHS workforce has the support, education and training resources to make maternity services safer, including and building partnerships with NHS Maternity Transformation Programme leads and others to help understand the maternity workforce.

Alongside this role, between October 2017 and March 2019, Lisa was also HEE’s Interim Regional Director for London, leading workforce planning for the region, implementing the strategy for London devolution; and working closely with the regional Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships.

In April 2019, Lisa began an 18-month secondment for two days a week with the global Nursing Now programme, with the strategic goal of improving health globally by developing nurse leaders and equipping them to play a more influential role in health systems.

Lisa has a number of honorary appointments:

  • Doctor of Science (DSc) in Print (Hon), University of West London (2018)
  • Senior Associate Technical Advisor to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery, January 2017
  • Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Sunderland, July 2016
  • Professor (University Advisory Panel), University of Coventry, September 2015
  • Honorary Research Fellow and Professor of Nursing and Inter-professional Education, School of Health and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, April 2015
  • Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Coventry University, July 2014
  • Trustee to the Board, Foundation of Nursing Studies, The King’s Fund, London
  • Honorary Visiting Professor, School of Health Sciences, City University London, April 2014
  • Honorary Fellow, School of Health & Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, September 2011

She holds a Doctorate of Clinical Practice from the University of Southampton and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Wolverhampton.


Professor Mark RadfordMark-Radford

Deputy Chief Nursing Officer (Delivery & Innovation)

Mark Radford's portfolio that covers workforce, quality improvement and governance. 

Mark has worked in Perioperative, Emergency and Intensive Care in the UK and Europe.  He was previously been a Chief Nurse of a University Teaching Hospital and Consultant Nurse in Emergency & Trauma care.  Mark is Professor of Nursing at Birmingham City and Coventry Universities, and has published research on staffing, advanced practice, perioperative and trauma care.