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About our governors

The Birkbeck governing body is collectively responsible for overseeing Birkbeck’s activities. The Governors determine Birkbeck’s future direction and promote the fulfilment of our mission, the advancement of our values and the potential of all our learners.

They are responsible for ensuring compliance with the College’s constitutional and regulatory framework and take all final decisions on strategic matters and issues of fundamental concern to the College. They are bound by the:


The governing body includes independent Governors to bring an external perspective and provide specific business, financial, legal, managerial and other skills.


  • Sir Andrew has had a long and distinguished career at the highest levels of Whitehall, the private sector and the European Union. He was principal advisor on EU issues to Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, and went on to become CEO and Chair of UK Trade and Investment, driving forward the internationalisation of UK-based businesses and attracting foreign investment to the UK.
  • He is currently a trustee of a number of charities, including the Gatsby Foundation and the Institute for Government. He was previously Chair of the Board of Trustees at WWF UK.
  • His previous non-executive director roles include Lloyds of London, and Nomura International plc and Nomura Europe Holdings, where he was also Vice Chairman.

Mr Simon Davis (Deputy Chair)

  • Simon Davis was appointed as an independent Governor in October 2016.
  • Simon joined Clifford Chance in 1982 and became Partner in 1994, retiring from the firm in 2020. He was Head of Commercial Litigation in Clifford Chance's London office and a member of the firm's Partnership Council.
  • He is a former President of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and former President of the Law Society of England and Wales.
  • Simon is a member of the Council of the Law Society, committee member of the City of London Law Society, member of the Court of Appeal Mediation Panel and an accredited CEDR mediator. He is a trustee of the Access to Justice Foundation and trustee of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


  • Nana was appointed as an independent Governor of Birkbeck in 2020 and is currently non-executive director on a number of other boards, including Shepherd’s Bush Housing Group, where she co-chairs the Transformation Committee and is a member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee.
  • She brings many years of experience of business transformation, commercial strategy, change management, and organisational design, in complex public, private, and not-for-profit organisations; and is a graduate of Birkbeck and London Business School.


  • Gillian Broadley was appointed as an independent Governor in October 2016. She had previously served as a co-opted member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee from 2014 to 2016.
  • She is a maths graduate from Warwick University, and qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen, after which she spent ten years with Kleinwort Benson in their corporate finance and equities departments, specialising in the food manufacturing and consumer goods sectors.
  • Since her career break, she has served as a governor of a primary school in Merton for nine years. She took an extra-mural Certificate in History of Art and Architecture at Birkbeck and continued with a Master's Degree in the History of Art between 2010 and 2012.


  • Cindy Leslie was appointed as an independent Governor in October 2016.
  • She was a partner and Dispute Resolution solicitor in City firm Dentons for over 25 years, and throughout that time a strong proponent of mediation.
  • She has held a number of non-executive positions, including Director of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Governor of Bristol University and Trustee of Bristol University Students' Union.
  • Currently her appointments include being a non-executive director of Ofqual and the Architects Registration Board, chair of the governors of a school in North London and member of fitness to practise panels for the Health and Care Professions Council.


  • Andy is a finance professional with over 38 years' experience, working with many of the UK's largest multinational companies. He has deep expertise in finance, risk and governance matters, having been an audit partner for 27 years.
  • Andy’s experience is directly relevant to the work of audit and risk committees, but he could equally serve on remuneration and nomination committees. Andy has also experienced general management as a member of the Assurance Executive Board that ran PwC’s £800 million UK Audit and Risk Assurance business.
  • He brings multi-sectoral experience and insight, deep knowledge about how organisations operate, a proven track record of relationship building and navigating different corporate cultures, digital literacy, a resilient personality, and a curiosity to get to the heart of issues and seek solutions.


  • Rachel is an influential technology leader specialising in digital transformation, leadership, health tech, skills and inclusion. She has extensive senior leadership experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in the UK and internationally, including at the European Union, as the first Chief Digital Officer for the Department of Health, and as a CEO.
  • She is now a business adviser and mentor to senior leaders and runs her own consultancy providing advice and coaching to boards and executive teams on strategy, leadership and digital transformation.
  • Rachel is a frequent keynote speaker at UK and international conferences, has appeared regularly before parliamentary Select Committees, is a frequent judge of digital awards, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).


  • Daniel is CEO of London Freeholds Plc. He is an Honorary Fellow of King’s College and Birkbeck. He sits on the King’s Campaign Board and is a Trustee of the National Gallery Foundation, the MCC Foundation, the Anna Freud Centre, the Warburg Institute and the City of London School Bursary Trust.
  • Additionally, he is Governor of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University and a panellist on the Education Panel of the Wolfson Foundation.
  • In 2015 he was awarded the OBE for Philanthropic and Charitable services.


  • Duncan is a former student of Birkbeck, having graduated with an MSc in Corporate Governance and Ethics in 2007. He has served as a co-opted member of the Audit Committee from 2018.
  • Since 2003 he has been Head of Credit Research at Cheyne Capital Management, one of Europe’s leading alternative asset managers, where he was made a partner in 2008.
  • Prior to joining Cheyne, he headed research for a range of investment banks, including Nomura International and Greenwich NatWest, before which he spent a number of years as a senior analyst with Moody’s Investors’ Service in New York and London. He began his career with Morgan Guaranty Trust in 1987.
  • In 2015 Duncan co-authored ‘Opening Credit. A Practitioner’s Guide to Credit Investment’. He has served on the Education and Exams Committee of CFA UK and was a member of the London Centre for Corporate Governance and Ethics.


  • Andreas is a British businessman, private investor and philanthropist.
  • He was CEO and previously Co-Head of Allianz Global Investors, a global asset manager within Allianz’s asset management division, from January 2012 to December 2019, and continued as adviser to the firm until June 2020.


Our staff and student Governors bring knowledge and experience of academic, collegial and student-centred matters.


  • Sally Wheeler was appointed as Vice-Chancellor on 1 January 2024.
  • Prior to taking up her role at Birkbeck, Sally was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Corporate) at the Australian National University.
  • She was awarded an OBE for Services to Higher Education in Northern Ireland in 2017.


  • Professor Matthew Innes was appointed Vice-Master of Birkbeck in 2014 (his title is now Deputy Vice-Chancellor).
  • Matthew came to Birkbeck in 1999 as Lecturer in History, and was promoted to Professor of History in 2005. His academic honours include the Gladstone History Book Prize, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize.
  • He has previously served two terms as an elected Academic Board Governor, and as Head of School, Dean of Faculty. Prior to his current post he was Pro-Vice-Master (Strategy) from 2008 to 2013, in which capacity he provided the academic leadership for the wholesale reorganisation of the College's academic structures and business model in the aftermath of a series of policy changes which threatened the college's future. Visit Professor Matthew Innes's academic staff profile.

Alumni Governor: Odessa S. Hamilton

  • Odessa S. Hamilton is a behavioural scientist who leads on thought leadership, consults, and leverages behavioural insights at the London School of Economics to advance the directives of global corporations.
  • With experience that traverses corporate and government, Odessa has notable transatlantic successes and a longstanding practitioner history.
  • She is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, and an ESRC/BBSRC-funded doctoral researcher in Biobehavioural Epidemiology and Precision Medicine at UCL, where, by appointment, she teaches postgraduate biostatistics.

Academic Board Governor: Professor Anthony Bale

  • Professor of Medieval Studies, School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication.
  • Anthony Bale is Professor of Medieval Studies and, from 2017-21, was Executive Dean of the School of Arts. He has taught on the BA English and MA Medieval Literature and Culture and currently supervises doctoral students working on medieval topics.

Academic Board Governor: Dr Pamela Yeow

  • Reader in Management, Birkbeck Business School, Faculty of Business and Law.
  • Pamela Yeow is Reader in Management and was, until recently, Assistant Dean for External Engagement for the Business School. She is currently Co-Director, Research Centre for Environment and Sustainability, and also the Head of the Centre for Professional Development. She has taught across the business school programmes and supervises undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students.

Academic Staff Governors

  • Dr Imke Henkel, Lecturer (School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication)
  • Dr Sarah Marks, Senior Lecturer (School of Historical Studies)

Staff Governor: Ms Wendy James

  • Wendy James joined Birkbeck in 2016, initially working in the School of Law as an Assistant School Manager before moving to her current position as Admissions and Student Records Manager in Registry Services.
  • She has over 20 years' experience in higher education administration and plays a key role in the College's recruitment activities and is responsible for organising Clearing each year during which time hundreds of students apply to Birkbeck. 
  • She is a facilitator for the Astrea staff network and was previously Co-Chair of OutAtBBK, the network for LGBT+ staff at Birkbeck. 

Student Governors

  • William Sarenden 
  • Ellie Rivera