Board of Governors


Louise Evans.jpgLouise Evans

Louise Evans is a retired (2018) executive and former member of the leadership team at Grant Thornton UK LLP. Louise was a Tax Partner in the Cardiff and Bristol Offices of Grant Thornton and worked there from 2000, firstly as Tax Partner, then as Managing Partner of Bristol and Cardiff Offices from 2006.

In 2010 Louise became one of the three members of the Region’s Managing Board. In 2015 she was invited to be a member of Grant Thornton’s national leadership team, and as Business Unit Leader for the South Region, she had overall responsibility for 5 offices and almost 700 employees.

Louise became a lay governor on the Board of USW in August 2017, becoming Chair of the Finance & Resources Committee. She was appointed Chair of the Board from 1 August 2019.

Louise is also a non-executive director of No Fit State Circus and Chair (and a Trustee) for Kidney Wales. Louise is a former international field hockey umpire, an international assessor of umpires and a former board member of the Welsh National Hockey Union.

Lay Governors

Sanjay Balakrishnan.jpgSanjay Balakrishnan

Member of the People & Values Committee: Over the past 20+ years, Sanjay has built and operated global eCommerce businesses in Retail, Travel and Entertainment, and led organizations in six countries across three continents.

He currently serves Europe in multiple capacities, including as General Manager for Amazon Prime, Director for Consumer Marketing, and member of the Management Board for A.E.C.

He served as a member of the Industry Panel for Committee of Advertising Practice, ASA, UK. Sanjay is a Computer Scientist by training, and an alumnus of the London Business School and the Indian Institute of Management.

John Derrick, Chair of Royal Welsh College of Welsh and DramaJohn Derrick 

Chair of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) Board of Directors.

John is an experienced leader in investment and private banking, including senior roles at Barclays, Lombard Odier and Goldman Sachs.

Chair of the RWCMD London advisory group and Pimlico Opera and trustee of Orion Orchestra. John lives in London.

David Francis.jpgDavid Francis 

Independent Governor and member of the Audit Committee: David is a chartered accountant, with a career spanning more than 20 years in a variety of global finance roles in large UK corporates including Marks & Spencer and Diageo.

David has lead Finance teams around the world and brings a wide range of experience across all aspects of the finance function from systems and process implementation and governance to commercial finance and pricing, control and compliance, and performance management.

He is also a Non Executive Board member at Brandon Trust, Audit Wales and Hockey Wales.

Philip Gummett.jpgProfessor Philip Gummett CBE

Independent Governor and member of the Audit Committee: Philip was Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales from 2004 – 2012. He is now a higher education consultant.

Recent assignments include advice on higher education restructuring, funding and strategy in Ireland, Trustee of Jisc (the body that provides digital infrastructure and services to UK HE and FE) and chair of its Audit and Risk Committee, and consultant to the 2020 Research Assessment Exercise in Hong Kong.

Prior to HEFCW he was Professor of Government and Technology Policy, and Pro-Vice Chancellor, at the University of Manchester.

Michael Gunn.jpgProfessor Michael Gunn 

Chair of the Nominations Committee and governor nominee on the Higher Academic Awards Committee: Michael is the former Vice Chancellor of Staffordshire University.

Before that he had a long career in Universities, having been a pro-vice chancellor at Derby University, Dean of Nottingham Law School at Nottingham Trent University, a research professor in mental health law at De Montfort University, Leicester, Head of the Law School at University of Westminster and a lecturer and senior lecturer in law at University of Nottingham. 

Debbie Jones.JPGDebbie Jones

USW Independent Governor and Chair (elect) HR Committee. Debbie is an Executive board level HR professional experienced in the international environment of a FTSE 100/250 plc having transitioned it from IGO status to private, private equity to plc and most recently, integrating four subsidiaries.

An accredited member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council. IPD Graduate, ONC Public Admin. NLP Coach. IIP Advisor. Chair British Medical Association Living our Values Panel; currently Chief People Officer Inmarsat plc 2000 – 2017 (Satellite communications FTSE plc inc. 11 geo-stationery satellites $1bn+ revenue. 1900 staff across 63 global locations, 50+ nationalities.)

Previously Non-Executive Director, Capital Law LLP, HR Consultant – Eversheds LLP and Head of HR Companies House.

Richard Lloyd Owen_original.jpgRichard Lloyd-Owen

Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee: Previously a Partner for Deloitte, Richard has more than 30 years' experience of finance, M&A and corporate relationship building. 

Richard grew up in South Wales and has a law degree from the University of Birmingham.

Sion O'Connor.jpgSion O'Connor

Sion has 25 years’ experience leading brand and marketing teams in the UK, the US and across Europe. 

He has led local, national and global organisations encouraging participation in grassroots sport, and was a member of Lancaster University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Sion has a degree in European Business Studies from Coventry University and an MBA from Lancaster University. 

Alison Phillips.jpgAlison Phillips

Chair of the Audit Committee: Alison has 20 years’ experience working in finance, delivering service improvement and organisational change and has held a number of leadership roles across public services in Wales.

A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Alison’s early career was spent working with PwC.

Alison has a BA Hons in French and is a graduate of the University of Southampton.

Michael Stevens.jpg Michael Stevens

Member of Finance and Resources Committee: Michael Stevens was previously Group CEO of Shearwater Group, former Head of International Markets & Board member Airbus Defence & Space UK, former CEO of Cassidian UK. Michael joined Airbus Group from BAE Systems in April 2012, leaving Airbus to join Shearwater in September 2016.

With a background in Electrical/Electronic Engineering and an MSc in Information Systems Management, Michael has held various senior & board level roles in Design & Development, Manufacturing, Project/Programme Management, Strategy, Business Development and Business Management over the last 30 years in the areas of leading edge technology, complex systems, solutions & services primarily within the Security, Defence, Cyber & Information sectors.

Chris Sutton.jpegChris Sutton

Member of Finance & Resources Committee and Chair of the Board of Directors, Merthyr Tydfil College.

Chris is a chartered surveyor and a past Chair of both CBI Wales and the Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone.

Chris is also a current member of the Investment Panel for Cardiff Capital Region’s City Deal.

He graduated from the Polytechnic of Wales (Treforest campus) in 1988. 

Jemma Terry.PNGJemma Terry

RWCMD Board of Directors: Managing Partner and founder of the Wales Odgers office based in Cardiff.

Jemma has 20 years’ search experience delivering Executive &Non-Executive assignments across all functions.

Member of the Prince’s Trust Cymru Council; Member of the CBI Council for Wales and an Ambassador for Pembrokeshire. Jemma's early career was spent with Marks and Spencer.

Jemma has a BSc Honours in Management Science and French with subsidiary Maths and Spanish. She is a graduate of one of France’s 'Grandes Ecoles',  L' Ecole Superieure de Commerce.

Steve Wilson.jpgSteve Wilson

Steve has around 20 years’ experience in industry as a leader in digital and marketing disciplines including delivering digital transformations in large, blue chip organisations.

He is currently Chief Digital Officer for Admiral and previous roles include Digital Director at BT, Head of Online at British Gas Business and Head of E-Commerce at O2.

Steve has an MBA from the University of Leicester Management School as well as a Humanities degree and postgraduate qualifications in marketing.

Representative of Academic Board

Louise Bright.jpgDr Louise Bright

Dr Bright is the Director of Research and Business Engagement and has worked for USW for 21 years. During that time, her profile has resulted in secondments to Welsh Government and The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (which is now Advance HE). Louise continues to be an influential colleague in various fora and continues to influence policy and practice in higher education by virtue of membership on boards and committees of external (and influential) organisations. These include being a peer reviewer for the HR Excellence in Research Award; Board member at South Gloucestershire and Stroud Further Education; lead for the Civic Mission interface with Universities Wales; and was a key member of the Chief Science Advisor for Wales Task and Finish Group which wrote a report considering women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medical research in Wales. 

Louise has co-authored a research report published by the Leadership Foundation, the results of which were used to inform Welsh Government's ambitious strategy to increase research capacity in science to enhance economic growth in Wales. Thus, she has had a sustained and impactful influence on higher education. Louise is co-leading on the work to make USW an inclusive environment where staff and students can achieve their full potential and make real differences to their communities, economies and society, and will bring this drive, enthusiasm and commitment to the Board. 


Ben Calvert.jpgDr Ben Calvert

Dr Ben Calvert took up the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales in September 2021. Ben joined USW in 2015 as Pro Vice Chancellor for Student Experience, before becoming Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2019.

Prior to joining USW, he worked at the University of Gloucestershire, progressing from being a Course Leader, to Head of Department, to Dean of Faculty; a post that he held for six years.

As a Dean, Ben managed across a broad discipline base including Schools of Media, Humanities, Art and Design and Computing and Technology. He established several new degree courses including Popular Music, Television Production and Radio Production, and was part of a team that secured Skillset Academy accreditation for the School of Media.

Student Governor

Cobi Flowers.jpgCobi Flowers, President of the Students' Union

As President of the Students’ Union, Cobi is responsible for leading the Full-time Officer team and ensuring the student voice is heard at a university, local and national level by lobbying and campaigning.

The President is the key communicator between the Union, the University, the NUS and external stakeholders.

Elected Staff Governor

Angela Lewis.jpgAngela Lewis

Angela Lewis is currently based in Learning Services, as a Work Placement Partner. She has over 15 years’ experience within the University’s support function, including ten as a Union Rep and more recently as Chair of Unison.

Co-opted Members of the Executive

Mark Milton.jpgMark Milton, Chief Operating Officer 

Mark Milton took up the position of Chief Operating Officer of the University in January 2020. He brings with him a wealth of experience as the former Director of People & Organisational Development for Avon & Somerset Police. Spending the early part of his career in the pensions sector, Mark built his expertise in HR, accounting, audit and marketing, while studying at the University of the West of England for professional qualifications in people management and development.

He worked for Prudential and Clerical Medical for 25 years in a number of roles, before taking up the position of a Chief Officer at Wiltshire Police in 2005. This role also included a new collaborative element, with the opportunity to offer strategic advice to a neighbouring force, Gwent Police. Mark joined Avon & Somerset Constabulary in 2017, before taking up his role at USW. He is former Vice-Chair of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Police Forum, and recently became a Fellow of the CIPD.

Catherine Thomas.jpgCatherine Thomas, Director of Organisational Development

Catherine Thomas was appointed as Director of Human Resources on the formation of USW in 2013. Previously she was Director of HR at the University of Glamorgan which she joined in 2001. Before moving into the HE sector Catherine worked in several organisations across the private sector, in a large charity and in Local Government.

In 2018 Catherine became Director of Organisational Development.  

Declaration of Interests