Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Group

Professor John Latham 

Vice-Chancellor and CEO

John is Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the Coventry University Group. John is a double graduate of the University and has a background in information technology and telecommunications. He previously worked for a number of private sector organisations including JHP Group, Jaguar Cars and BT - including a period as a sponsored Research Fellow based at Martlesham Research Labs, Ipswich. In 2015, John was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Fellowship of the British Computer Society for his services to the IT industry.

John has held high-profile roles at regional, national and European levels promoting innovation, technology and economic development. He 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. Previously, he has also spent periods of time working overseas including roles in France, Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as being a long-term advisor to the European Commission.

John is an Extraordinary Professor in the area of enterprise and entrepreneurship at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, where in 2019 he additionally received an Honorary Doctorate for his services to UK Higher Education. In the same year he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a CBE for his Services to Higher Education.


Professor Dr Andy Palmer

Founder and CEO Palmer Automotive Ltd., Chairman Optare plc and Non-Executive Director Ashok Leyland Ltd.

Dr Andy Palmer, CMG, is recently appointed Chairman of Optare plc, extending his long relationship with Ashok Leyland. He was until May 2020, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. He joined the business 2014 and over-saw its transformation in both product line up and profitability leading to its listing in 2018 and the launch of its first SUV, the DBX in summer 2020.

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 Operating Officer and 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. He gained his ONC / HNC from Leamington Spa’s Mid-Warwickshire College of FE followed by a IIM Diploma / Degree in Industrial Management from Coventry University (Lanchester Polytechnic)

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.

Andy is the Founder and Co-Trustee for the Palmer Foundation that seeks to give disadvantaged youths the opportunity of an apprenticeship.


Professor 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 the 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.


Professor 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.


Professor 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.


Professor 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).


Professor 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.


Professor 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 Mark RadfordMark-Radford160x200.jpg

Chief Nurse, Health Education England, & Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England

Mark Radford is Chief Nurse at Health Education England (HEE) and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer (England). Mark joined HEE in October 2019 and is seconded from his role in the CNO team where he held the lead for improvement and innovation.

Mark has worked in Perioperative, Emergency and Intensive Care in the UK and Europe. His has previously been Chief Nurse of a University Teaching Hospital and Consultant Nurse in Emergency and 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.


Professor Ian Campbell 

Interim Executive Chair for Innovate UK

Previously he was Director - Ageing Society, Health & Nutrition and Director - Health and Life Sciences, a role he took up in October 2016.
Ian has extensive entrepreneurial and business experience in the healthcare sector. Prior to Innovate UK, Ian was CEO of Arquer Diagnostics, which focuses on bladder and prostate cancer diagnosis.
Before this, Ian spent 15 years in a variety of executive management roles within the health and life science sector. 


Professor Philippe VanriePhilippe-Vanrie-160x200.jpg

During almost 20 years, Philippe Vanrie was CEO of EBN, the leading pan-European Network bringing together 200+ Business & Innovation Centers (BICs), Innovation-based Incubators, Accelerators, Clusters, Innovation Agencies and Entrepreneurship Centers across Europe and beyond. A community gathering hundreds of business & innovation support organizations, thousands of smart innovators and high-potential entrepreneurs.

During the last 4 years, Philippe took over the mandate of Heading EUREKA, a Brussels-based inter-governmental organization supporting and funding innovators, knowledge actors, SMEs and industry leaders, across 40 countries (EU Countries but also UK, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Canada, South Korea, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, etc).

He championed the transformation of EBN and EUREKA into high-caliber innovation networks, interacting between policy makers, promising innovative entrepreneurs and ecosystems enablers. Philippe became a reputed international expert in innovation, incubation/acceleration, entrepreneurship, economic development, public/private partnerships, and of course European funding & affairs. Philippe has indeed a long collaboration experience with the European Commission (EC) and other European institutions (EIB, EIT), as well as the European Space Agency (ESA), and a series of national & regional governmental agencies. He initiated and conducted a wide series of EC-funded collaborative projects in various fields: cross-border acceleration, regional innovation ecosystems, digital entrepreneurship, clusters management and inter-clusters collaboration, circular economy, satellite applications, technology transfer, open innovation, social innovation, internationalization of SMEs, innovation financing, and university/business cooperation. On the private sector side, he experimented Open Innovation partnerships between start-ups/scale-ups/business clusters, and large Corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, JP Morgan Chase and SAP.

Engineer by education (M.Sc.), graduated from the Gembloux (B) Agronomic Engineering University (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech/Liège University), and from the University of Louvain (B) in Innovation Management, Philippe started his career as a statistician at the University of Brussels (ULB).

Beside his engagement with Coventry University, he is invited Lecturer at the ICN-ARTEM Business School in Nancy (F), at the HANKEN School of Economics in Helsinki, and at the Louvain University (UCL) School of Management in Belgium.


Coventry University ranked 15 in the UK
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year for student experience
QS Five Star Rating 2019
Coventry City of Culture 2021