Executive Recruitment

Our Board

Chair of the Board, Chris Banks CBE

Chris Banks is Chair of the QAA Board. He has developed a commitment to public services and their reform alongside a successful commercial career with multinational companies like Mars and Coca-Cola, and more recently as an entrepreneur. He currently chairs the Public Chairs' Forum, a network of Chairs of Public Bodies committed to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness with which public services are delivered.

Matthew Adie, Student at the University of Stirling

Matt is currently a student at the University of Stirling and is in his final year of studying towards a joint bachelor’s degree in Business Studies, Computing Science and Secondary Education. Originally from Edinburgh, Matt is passionate about the role students can play in assuring and enhancing the quality of their learning experience, and is a strong advocate of the Scottish Sector’s enhancement-led approach to quality.

Stephen Criddle, Principal and Chief Executive and South Devon College

Stephen Criddle is Principal and Chief Executive at South Devon College, a role he has held since 1 September 2009. Stephen was previously Deputy Principle at the College which he joined as part of a leadership team transforming the college to its current Ofsted ‘outstanding’ status and high level of community and employer engagement.

Stephen’s background and career is primarily in Further Education, following qualification as a Chartered Accountant and time in the media industry. He is passionate about the role of high quality local education in raising aspiration, ambition and skills levels.

Dr Vanessa Davies, Director of the Bar Standards Board

Dr Vanessa Davies is the Director General of the Bar Standards Board (BSB), the regulatory body for barristers in England and Wales. 

She started her professional life as a linguist at King’s College London, where she was a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow in French and then a senior lecturer, leading the College’s language centre for seven years. She then moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and spent nearly a decade as a senior civil servant, initially as the Director of the Diplomatic Service Language Centre and subsequently leading a Group delivering a range of professional services in support of UK foreign policy. 

Amatey Doku, Vice President for Higher Education at the National Union of Students

Amatey Doku is the current Vice President for Higher Education at the National Union of Students. In that role he is also on the Board of Trustees for NUS and was appointed as Deputy President by the NUS President, Shakira Martin.

Before taking up his position within NUS, Amatey had served for a year as the President of Cambridge University Students’ Union where he was a Trustee of the University of Cambridge, by virtue of his position, as well as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Students’ Union.

Sara Drake, Chief Executive of the Association for Project Management

Sara studied law at the University of Cambridge and has spent much of her career working in the media sector for both publishing and television companies and as a writers’ agent. In recent years she has worked with professional bodies in the built environment and construction sectors and has been managing director of the Homebuilders Federation and the Royal Town Planning Institute. She was appointed Chief Executive of the Association for Project Management in 2015 which was awarded a royal charter in 2016 and will launch a new chartered standard for the profession in 2018.


Linda Duncan, Board Member and Advisor and Finance and Audit Professional

Linda Duncan is an established Board Member and Advisor and an accomplished Finance and Audit professional working in the UK, Europe and the US. Throughout her successful career at PwC, KPMG and more recently as an international entrepreneur, she is a recognised expert in Corporate Governance and Risk Management working with large complex organisations across public and private sectors.

Linda went to school in the north of Scotland and graduated in Accountancy from Napier University, Edinburgh. She went on to qualify with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, and led audit and value for money exercises in central and local government for over 25 years.

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Professor Maria Hinfelaar is Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, a role she has held since 1 April 2016. Prior to this position, Maria served as President and Chief Accounting Officer of the Limerick Institute of Technology, where she oversaw significant development of the Institute, increasing enrolments to nearly 7,000 students and adding campus locations in Limerick and Tipperary.

During her career she has published various articles in journals on the subject of international retailing, in addition to a book entitled Key Success Factors in International Retailing, compiling the findings of her PhD at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. 

Oliver Johnson, Mentor at UEA Business School

Oliver Johnson has wide experience in different sectors and types of organisation, including more than ten years as a CEO and as a Non-Executive Director. He is on the board of Reliance Insurance, a school governor and until recently was CEO of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. He mentors and occasionally lectures at the UEA’s business school, and elsewhere.

Professor Craig Mahoney Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West of Scotland

Professor Craig Mahoney is Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of the West of Scotland. His previous roles have included CEO at the Higher Education Academy and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Northumbria University. A dynamic public advocate of higher education, Craig has a keen interest in differentiated student-centred learning, teaching excellence, internationalisation and research informed teaching. He is an ardent supporter of the use of e-learning; technology to support teaching and open educational resources.

Professor Denise McAlister, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Student Experience) at the Ulster University 

Professor Denise McAlister assumed responsibilities as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Student Experience) at the Ulster University in September 2002.

Previous to this she held positions as Head of School, School of Public Policy, Economics and Law, and Dean of the Faculties of Business and Management and Social Sciences and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Quality Assurance and Enhancement).

Previously educated at the Queen’s University of Belfast, the University of Salford and the University of Tromso, Norway, Professor McAlister was appointed to a personal Chair in Health Policy in 1998. Her research interests and expertise include economic appraisal and evaluation, the economics of contracting and the role of the user in health policy evaluation and she is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education.

Professor Oliver Turnbull, Pro Vice Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) at Bangor University

Professor Oliver Turnbull is Pro Vice Chancellor (Teaching & Learning) at Bangor University, where he has held the post since 2012. He is especially interested in improving the quality of teaching. He led the University’s 2017 TEF application, the University’s 2018 QAA Quality Enhancement Review, and on measures of student satisfaction has overseen the University’s National Student Survey.

Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University

Professor Andrew Wathey has been Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University since September 2008. He is the University's fourth Vice-Chancellor.

Born in Plymouth, he graduated in Music from the University of Oxford in 1979, where he took his doctorate in Music in 1987.

Professor Wathey's published research has focused on the social and cultural history of music in late-medieval England and France, in particular court patronage, music in medieval towns, and the 14th-century motet. He has also been heavily involved in the digital study of medieval music manuscripts, and was a co-founder of the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM). He is a member of the British Academy's Early English Church Music Committee, which he chaired 2002-2007, and of the RISM (UK) Trust. He was also Chair of the Music subject panel in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. 

Craig Watkins, Business Development Director for Ernst & Young’s UK Government & Public Sector Practice

Craig has been the Business Development Director for Ernst & Young’s (EY) UK Government & Public Sector practice since September 2015.

Craig grew up in Newport, South Wales before graduating from University College Cardiff in Zoology.

Prior to joining EY Craig spent nearly 25 years in the public sector, entering the Civil Service graduate scheme in 1991 and joining the Metropolitan Police Service. During his time with the Metropolitan Police he moved into Finance as a profession and gained an MBA. Craig moved into Whitehall in 2006 as the Head of Strategy at the Office for Criminal Justice Reform for in the Home Office, leading the development of the criminal justice system’s cross agency strategy. In 2008 he became the Director of Corporate Services and CFO for the Youth Justice Board.

Philip Wilson, Chair of Independent HE

Philip Wilson is the Chair of Independent HE, the representative body for private higher education institutions, and one of the founders of UCFB, a higher education institution focusing on the football and sport industries. In his time as Chief Executive of UCFB he led the institution in the development of three higher education campus locations, and established partnerships with, among other global institutions, the Real Madrid graduate school.

In addition to his current role at Independent HE, Philip is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management, a visiting fellow at the University of Northampton, a member of the Institute of Directors, and has been recognised with awards from both the private and public sectors, including the Paul Roy Award for 'outstanding academic achievement and contribution' from the University of Liverpool.

Professor Philip Winn, Research Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Strathclyde

Professor Philip Winn (BA, PhD - Hull) is Research Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Strathclyde. He has been Head of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and a Deputy Principal at Strathclyde, and was previously Dean of Science then Vice Principal (Learning and Teaching) at St Andrews. He has worked with QAA Scotland for several years, chairing Enhancement Theme committees. In parallel with his work in learning and teaching, he and his research team explore brain–behaviour relationships with particular interest in deep brain structures. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and of the Association for Psychological Science (USA).

You can find out more information on our Board Members here.