The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) is delighted to announce the appointment of Sam Laidlaw as its incoming Chair, and David Willetts as a non-executive board director.

Sam Laidlaw brings extensive experience of working in business both in the UK, and internationally – having held responsibility for businesses across four continents. Sam was 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.

David Willetts served as the MP for Havant from 1992 to March 2015, and has worked at HM Treasury, and the Number 10 Policy Unit. From May 2010 to July 2014, David served as Minister for Universities and Science, where he commissioned the Wilson Review of business–university collaboration, and successfully made the case for protecting science and research funding. He was appointed as a Privy Councillor in June 2010. Currently, Visiting Professor at King’s College, London, David is also Executive Chairman of the Resolution Foundation.

NCUB’s outgoing Chair, Richard Greenhalgh, said:

“I am delighted that someone with Sam Laidlaw’s deep business experience and commitment to university-business collaboration has taken over as Chair of NCUB. It has been a privilege to serve as Chairman for ten years and I know that Sam will take it on to the next level.

“In addition, David Willetts’ keen understanding of the Higher Education landscape and the potential for academic research to help drive business innovation will be of immense value to NCUB going forward.”

Sam Laidlaw and David Willetts take up their roles on the NCUB Board on 1 June.

For further information please contact the NCUB media office on 0207 843 8189 /8187

Photos of Sam Laidlaw and David Willetts are available on request.