Sam Laidlaw brings extensive experience of working in business both in the UK, and internationally – having held responsibility for businesses across four continents.
Sam is a founder of Neptune Energy and became its first Executive Chairman in 2015. Previously Sam served as CEO of Centrica – Britain’s largest energy provider – from 2006 until 2014 where he rebuilt the company to increase efficiency and competitiveness. Prior to his Centrica role he was Executive Vice President of Chevron.
A qualified solicitor, with an INSEAD MBA, Sam was also a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group, and the lead non-executive director at the Department of Transport. Currently a non-executive director of HSBC Holdings plc, Sam was also the Chair of the CBI’s report into business and higher education collaboration.
Bob Rabone is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of commercial experience as a Finance Director with private and public companies, operating in a range of sectors.
He began his career training with Coopers & Lybrand (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers) before joining a medium-sized accountancy firm offering consultancy services in financial planning, funding and information technology to a range of clients: from owner-managed enterprises to public companies.
A common thread through all of Bob’s executive roles has been the development of clear organisational strategies during periods of business growth or change. Whilst Chief Financial Officer with the international law firm Eversheds, Bob had a primary role in the merger of its seven legal partnerships into one.
Bob was chair of the British University Finance Directors Group from 2013 to 2016 and contributed to several HE sector reviews, such as the Diamond Efficiency, Effectiveness and Value for Money review.
In 2019 Bob was appointed to the Board of the National Centre for Universities and Business as Treasurer.
A focus of his activity in the HE sector has been to aid a better understanding of financial performance and financial sustainability by funders, regulators, governors, staff and students. This focus continues as a member of the sector’s Financial Sustainability Steering Group.
David is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the University of Edinburgh, having recently retired as a Partner at PwC, where he was the Lead Partner in Scotland for Government and Public Sector.
David has extensive advisory experience in the public sector and financial services industries specialising in strategy and large scale transformations.
He has been extensively involved in pension reform and paying for Long Term Care; he was a member of the Dilnot Implementation Working Group and the Extended Working Lives Working Group.
Professor Jean-Noël Ezingeard
Professor Jean-Noël Ezingeard was appointed Vice-Chancellor at the University of Roehampton on 1st May 2019, having previously held senior leadership and academic positions at Manchester Metropolitan University, Kingston University, Henley Business School and Brunel University London.
Jean-Noël is a graduate of École Centrale de Lille where he studied Engineering Systems, followed by postgraduate study at Brunel University London where he also studied for his PhD in Information Systems. His research expertise is in systems and processes management with a focus on the social aspect of information systems management (including information security).
In addition to his role as Vice-Chancellor and board member for the National Centre for Universities and Business, Jean-Noël has held Board and advisory positions with Warrington and Halton NHS Trust, Henley Management College, Richmond upon Thames College, the Association of Business Schools. Jean-Noël has also worked on a number of steering groups with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Office for Students and the Institute for Apprenticeships.
Professor Roy Sandbach OBE
Roy is President of the Royal Society of Chemistry Industry & Technology Council. Until September 2017, he was Director of the £40m National Innovation Centre for Ageing at Newcastle University. He remains engaged with the University as Professor of Practice in Ageing Science & Innovation.
From 2012 to 2016 Roy led the development of the regional innovation strategy for North East England and was the founding Chair of the North East LEP Innovation Board. He remains a board member.
Prior to 2012, Roy spent 31 years with the Procter & Gamble Company, holding global R&D positions and leading innovation programmes in Europe and the Far East including China. One of his inventions is a $150M business in the US.
Nationally, Roy is a non-executive director with the Technology Services Association. He sits on the Advisory Board for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity and the BEIS Advisory Board for Industrial Strategy & Smart Specialisation.
He chairs Northern Accelerator, the North East Universities research commercialisation programme (involving Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria and Sunderland) and is an Advisory Board member with Newcastle University Business School and Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University.
He is a trustee at the Centre for Life, a public science centre in Newcastle, a trustee of the Reece Foundation and a governor at the Beacon School in Sunderland.
Roy was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2017 for services to science, innovation & skills.
Adele is the Managing Director for Public Sector at Cisco.
Focused on driving sustainable business growth through her sales and specialist teams bringing value to government, Adele drives operational excellence and rigour with a focus on account strategy and planning activities to drive targeted sales and marketing campaigns.
Prior to joining Cisco, Adele spent 17 years at Capgemini. As Vice President she led a high-performing cross-functional team to deliver on their largest global account which was circa £1 billion per annum to fulfil programmes of national importance including Brexit and COVID-19 support packages. She has also established and sat on innovation programme boards within the public sector focused on bringing a broad ecosystem of partner offers to support the transformation and SME agenda.
She has a mature network across government, connecting MPs, lobby groups, SME tech partners and start-ups and has featured in many tech publications including, Technology Record, IT Pro Journal and the New Statesman.
Professor Ian White
Professor Ian White joined the University of Bath from the University of Cambridge where he had been Master of Jesus College, van Eck Professor of Engineering, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of Photonics Research in the Electrical Division of the Department of Engineering.
Ian gained his BA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge (in 1980 and 1984) and was then appointed a Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Cambridge before becoming Professor of Physics at the University of Bath in 1991.
In 1996 he moved to the University of Bristol as Professor of Optical Communications and became Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1998. He returned to the University of Cambridge in 2001 as van Eck Professor of Engineering and Head of Photonics Research, becoming Chair and subsequently Head of the School of Technology in 2005. He was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs in 2010, and Master of Jesus College and Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2011.
Ian has carried out substantial research in the field of optoelectronics and optical communications. Highlights of this include the invention of new techniques for transmitting signals at low cost over optical fibre links for data and wireless communication systems. He is a co-founder of Zinwave Ltd, a company providing wireless coverage solutions, and PervasID Ltd which develops ultra-high-frequency RFID readers. He has published in excess of 1,000 papers and associated patents. Ian is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He was a Member of the Board of Governors of the Global IEEE Photonics Society (2008-2011) and is currently Editor-in-Chief of Electronics Letters and Nature Microsystems and Nanoengineering.
Professor Judith Petts CBE
Professor Judith Petts is the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Plymouth, a post she has held since February 2016. She joined Plymouth from the University of Southampton where she had been Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and previously the inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (2010-13). Prior to this, she had spent 12 years at the University of Birmingham completing as Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Transfer (2007-10).
Over some 30 years, her research has particularly examined the interface between science and policy-making, and the effective use of evidence in decision-making. Currently she is a Director of the Heart of the South-West LEP and a Trustee of the Marine Biological Association. She Chairs the UUK Climate Action Steering Group. Previous appointments have included as a member of the Council of BBSRC (2014-18); NERC’s Innovation Board (2011-16); the Science Advisory Council of Defra (2011-16); Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (2006-11); the Council of NERC (2000-6); of EPSRC’s Societal Issues Panel and Strategic Advisory Network; the Royal Society’s Science in Society Consultative Committee; and the Advisory Board of Veolia Environmental Services.
She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year Honours, 2012, for services to Scientific Research.
Professor Trevor McMillan OBE
Professor Trevor McMillan became Vice-Chancellor of Keele University in August 2015.
Before moving to Keele as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost in January 2014 he was Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at Lancaster University, where he led several major academic developments and was the lead for many partnerships with other Universities and external organisations in the UK and abroad. Prior to being PVC at Lancaster Professor McMillan was Dean of the Institute of Environmental and Natural Sciences and Head of the Department of Biological Sciences.
Currently, he has a national role as Knowledge Exchange Champion for Research England. As part of this Professor McMillan published a report on technology transfer from universities, the recommendations of which have been supported by government, in part through inclusion in the Industrial Strategy. He also led the development of the Knowledge Exchange Concordat with UUK/GuildHE and Research England.
Professor McMillan is Chair of the Midlands Innovation Board. Midlands Innovation is a world-class university partnership pooling the collective excellence of 8 universities in the Midlands to power growth across the region. He is on the boards of Universities West Midlands, National Centre for Universities and Business, Shropshire Telford & Wrekin Integrated Care, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and also chairs Network Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme Town Deal Board.
Sir John Manzoni
Sir John A. Manzoni KCB is a former British senior civil servant (2014 to 2020) and business executive. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 2020. Sir John served as Chief Executive of the Major Projects Authority from February 2014 to October 2014. In October 2014, he became the first ever Chief Executive of the UK Civil Service, a role that is the second most senior civil servant, and in August 2015, he added the post of Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office. From 2007 to 2012, Sir John served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Talisman Energy Inc., a global oil and gas exploration and production company based in Canada. Prior to that role, Sir John spent almost 25 years at BP plc, one of the world’s leading integrated oil and gas companies. Beginning in 1983, he served in numerous roles across varying functions and operations, including engineering, investor relations, strategy, and mergers and integration. From 2001 to 2002, Sir John served as BP’s Chief Executive of Gas and Power, and from 2002 to 2007, he served as Chief Executive of Refining and Marketing. He also served as a director on BP’s Main Board from 2003 to 2007.
Sir John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Imperial College London. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Management from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and was a Sloan Fellow. Sir John received an Honorary Doctorate from Aberdeen University.
Sir John serves as Chair of the Board for SSE plc. He also serves as Chair of the Board for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE plc), a UK Ministry of Defence facility. He is a non executive director at Diageo plc., and also at KBR Inc in the US. Sir John is an advisor for Mace Ltd and also serves on the Global Leadership Council of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and is a mentor for Chairman Mentors International (CMi). Sir John previously served on the boards of BP plc, Leyshon Energy Ltd, and SABMiller plc. He previously served as an advisory board member for Accenture Energy, Aspen Institute Corporate Values Group, and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Sir Jon Symonds CBE
Jon was appointed to the Board of GSK as Chairman on 1 September 2019.
Jon has extensive international financial, life sciences and governance experience.
He served as an Independent Non-Executive Director of HSBC Holdings plc from April 2014, and as Deputy Group Chairman from August 2018, until his retirement from the Board in February 2020. He was previously Chairman of HSBC Bank plc, Chief Financial Officer of Novartis AG, Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, Chief Financial Officer of AstraZeneca plc, and a Partner at KPMG. His governance experience includes roles as Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committees of Diageo plc and QinetiQ Group plc, Non-Executive Chair of Proteus Digital Health Inc and Non-Executive Director of Rubius Therapeutics, Inc.
Jon is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
• Non-Executive Director, Genomics England Limited having previously served as its Chair
• Non-Executive Chair, Energy Aspects
• Member, European Round Table for Industry
• Senior Advisor to Chatham House