Who is on the Board?

Under the University's  Instrument of Government, the Board must consist of no less than 12 and no more than 24 members. The Vice-Chancellor is an ex-officio of the Board. Of the appointed members:

  • up to 13 shall be independent members

  • up to two may be teachers (academic staff) at the University nominated by the Academic Board

  • up to two may be students of the University nominated by the students

  • at least one and no more than none shall be co-opted members (at least one of this number shall be a person who has experience in the provision of education)

The most recent determination of membership numbers was approved by the Board on 20 July 2017 with a determination of 22 members. 

For information on forthcoming and future vacancies please contact the University Secretary and Clerk to the Board of Governors here.

The current membership of the Board is provided below.

Mark Hopton, FCA

Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Governors

Independent Member

Committee Membership: Finance Committee, HR Committee, Remuneration Committee, Nominations and Governance Committee (Chair) and Honorary Awards Committee


Read more about Mark...

Mark is an alumnus of Birmingham City University. He retired in late 2012 from a career with leading global professional services firm, KPMG, where he was Chairman and Senior Partner of the Midland Region until 2007 and then held leadership responsibilities in the EMEA Region until his retirement.

Mark is passionate about public and charitable service and investing time in his community . As well as his appointment as Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Governors at Birmingham City University since April 2015, he was appointed as Chairman of Trustees of Acorns Children's Hospice Trust. Mark was previously Chairman of the Governors and Trustees of Solihull School from 2011 until his retirement in 2021.

Professor Philip Plowden


Ex-Officio Member

Committee Membership: Finance Committee, Honorary Awards Committee (Chair), HR Committee, Nominations and Governance Committee


Read more about Philip...

Professor Plowden graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Oxford and then qualified as both a solicitor and barrister specialising in human rights and public law. He maintains close links to legal practice and education and is a member of the Law Society's Education and Training Committee. He was also a non-executive board member at the Office for Legal Complaints, which manages the Legal Ombudsman scheme. Before entering the legal profession, he worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau Service in London for almost a decade.

In 2005 Professor Plowden was appointed as a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His research interests are based in criminal law and practice, and in legal education and pedagogic practice. He also has an interest in the field of privacy law and freedom of information. Professor Plowden has been influential in the development of clinical legal education in the UK, and in strengthening an international network of legal clinicians, centring on the ‘International Journal of Clinical Legal Education’, which he edited for many years.  

Outside academic life, Professor Plowden is a huge fan of American Football, as well as a self-confessed geek, with a long-standing interest in genre fiction and computer gaming.

Independent Members

Joe Bates

Committee Membership:  Audit Committee (Chair)


Read more about Joe...

Joe Bates is an alumni of BCU, having attended when it was known as “Birmingham Polytechnic”.  He is a Chartered Accountant and retired from a leading independent firm in 2017 where he was latterly managing partner. He spent over 40 years in audit, servicing a range of clients including corporate clients and had a large “not for profit” portfolio of both charities and public bodies.  He currently works part time for a former client as a Director and Company Secretary.  He has also been Honorary Treasurer of a Charitable Residential Care Home for over 20 years and is also currently a Trustee of The Henry Barber Trust.

Dr. Andrew Buckley


Read more about Andrew...

As Executive Vice President for New Payment Platform Products, Andrew Buckley, leads MasterCard's real time infrastructure, real time applications, push-payments (MasterCard Send) and Open Banking products. Enabling innovations in Real Time Payments, including the exponential growth of PromptPay in Thailand, The Clearing House’s new RTP in United States and Pay by Bank in the UK. Previously with MasterCard, Andrew held roles in both London and New York, most recently leading Prepaid; which has grown through innovation to become global market leader. Previously at American Express, Andrew held senior Sales and Technology roles, in both the UK and USA. These included Vice President for Global Corporate Card Product Management, launching innovations such as Corporate Centurion, and Vice President for Global Corporate Marketing, driving digital acquisition innovations. Prior to this he was a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and before that held sales and product roles with major Telecoms and IT companies. This experience included the startup of Telco’s such as Cegetel in France and BT NIS in Japan. In addition, Andrew has held Non-Executive roles, for example with Prepay Solutions in UK. He is an Advisory Board member at the IDM (Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing), a published author, holds several patents and a regular conference speaker. Andrew holds an undergraduate Electronic Engineering degree, MBA and Doctorate.

Dr Louise Brooke-Smith  OBE, HonDTech, BSc(Hons), DipTP, FRICS, MRTPI

Committee Membership: Audit Committee, HR Committee, Nominations & Governance Committee, Remuneration Committee


Read more about Louise...

Louise is a Chartered Surveyor and Chartered Town Planner with experience drawn, over 30 years, from the public and private sectors in the UK and overseas. She has recently stepped down from being an Equity Partner of Arcadis LLP, the Global Consultancy for the Built Environment, where she was UK Head of Town Planning and Head of Social Value to take on various Non Executive roles and undertake international consultancy across the built environment with Consilio Strategic Consultancy Ltd.

Louise was the first female Global President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (2014-15). She championed diversity & inclusivity and led a series of initiatives, including the RICS Inclusive Employers Quality Mark and the Property Strategy for Sub Saharan Africa.

Louise was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2019 for services to the built environment, diversity and inclusion.  She is also a Freeman of the City of London and her various accolades include; Outstanding Woman in Construction (2015), National Achiever in Construction (2015) and finalise for the First Woman Awards in 2014 and 2015. She has Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Wolverhampton, Sheffield Hallam and Birmingham City. Louise is retained as a UKGov adviser, is a Trustee of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and is Chairman of All We Can – the International Aid Agency.

Photo of Sue Hall

Sue Hall

Committee Membership: HR Committee (Chair), Remuneration Committee (Chair)


Read more about Sue...

Sue Hall has worked in HR for over 35 years. Following graduation from the University of Hull with a modern languages degree, she worked for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London before relocating to Birmingham to work for IMI plc. She held a variety of UK and international HR roles with IMI and was Head of Capability Development from 2013 until her retirement in 2020. She has been a Governor at Tudor Grange Academy, Kingshurst for seven years. Sue enjoys theatre, live music, reading, walking, pilates and yoga in her leisure time.

Glenn Howells

Committee Membership: Finance Committee


Read more about Glenn...

Glenn Howells established Glenn Howells Architects (GHA) in 1990 and since then has built a strong reputation for designing innovative, award winning buildings and shaping cities throughout the UK, winning numerous major design competitions and built a portfolio of award winning projects across all sectors and across a diverse range of building types. Key projects include Savill Building, London City Island, The National Memorial Arboretum, English National Ballet HQ and a 55-storey tower in London’s Docklands.

Glenn has led some of Britain’s most complex and ambitious regeneration projects and has been particularly influential in shaping Birmingham over the last three decades. The practice has advised Birmingham City Council on regeneration of the city including the Big City Plan and is involved in major regeneration projects of Paradise, Brindley Place and HS2 alongside significant projects in the city core, Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth and the Westside of the city.

Outside GHA, Glenn has been involved in an advisory role for several leading cultural and education organisations including Ikon Gallery, MADE (the West Midlands Architecture Centre), RIBA, CABE, University of Warwick, Birmingham City University and Birmingham Hippodrome. In 2018 he was appointed as Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University’s School of Architecture and Design.

Neil Jones

Committee Membership: Finance Committee


Read more about Neil...

Neil is native to the Midlands having grown up near Dudley before reading Chemistry at Exeter University and pursuing a career across Europe and the US. Neil has been a Birmingham based Deloitte partner for almost twenty years where he specialises in technology enabled business transformation projects that embrace organizational, process and technology change. Neil is a Chartered Accountant (FCA) and has also been a Financial Controller in the fast moving High Tech sector. Neil is currently the COO of Deloitte’s European Consulting business and prior to that he was the COO of Deloitte’s UK Technology Practice. Neil’s experience as a Partner also includes leading Deloitte’s CFO Advisory practice, leading Deloitte’s Shared Services practice, leading Deloitte’s Finance Systems practice and leading Deloitte’s Travel and Hospitality practice. Neil is the Partner responsible for clients including Intercontinental Hotels, National Air Traffic Services, International Airlines Group (including British Airways). Neil is also a passionate Mental Health Champion and mentor of Women in Technology across Deloitte. When not at work Neil likes to be at home in Worcestershire and active outdoors with his three teenage children and enjoying running, cycling, sailing and skiing.

Nicola McGowan MA (Cantab.) MSt.FCA

Committee membership:  Audit Committee


Read more about Nicola...

Nicola McGowan is the Director of Internal Audit and Risk for Travis Perkins plc and previously held a number of senior finance and audit roles in in large listed Groups including GKN and Marconi. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte LLP in 2001, after graduating with degrees in Theology and Religious Studies from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Nicola is also an experienced pension scheme Trustee and serves as a non-executive member of an Audit & Risk Committee for a Birmingham-based housing association. Nicola served as a co-opted member of the University’s Audit Committee before joining the Board of Governors in November 2021.

Peter Phillips, FCA, FCT

Committee Membership: Finance Committee (Chair)


Read more about Peter...

Peter is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Association of Corporate Treasurers with wide financial and commercial experience from a main stream career in the private, public, and charity sectors, holding executive group board finance director roles with amongst others fashion retailer Laura Ashley plc and Government owned science and technology based British Nuclear Fuels. He is currently a non-executive director, Deputy Chair and Audit Chair of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, and has also held non-executive roles in social housing in both London and the West Midlands. Peter was until recently the Midlands Area Chair for Arts Council England, and remains a trustee of West Midlands Arts Trust. He was previously Chair of Birmingham Opera Company and is passionate about education and communication enabling a wider reach to diverse community participation, particularly in arts and music in Birmingham and the West Midlands, and of his involvement with Arts in Health in support of patient care and recovery.

Parmjit Singh

Committee Membership: Nominations and Governance Committee, HR Committee, Remuneration Committee


Read more about Parm...

Parm joined Eversheds as a trainee in 1987 and became a Partner in 1997. Parm is currently Operations Partner for Eversheds Sutherland’s Global Account Management Team which manages the firm’s largest, most complex global clients legal needs across multiple jurisdictions.

Parm is the founding member of Eversheds' India Group and is currently Eversheds Sutherland’s Head of the Group. Parm and colleagues visit India regularly on trips to its main cities, meeting clients doing business in India and Indian companies looking to do business outside of India. Parm is a Board member of the UK India Business Council.

Parm specialises in urban regeneration, development and management/ investment. He was recommended as a leading lawyer in Real Estate Legal 500 and led the teams advising on the redevelopment of the Bullring, The Mailbox and Fort Dunlop in Birmingham.

Co-opted Members of the Board

Hugh Jones

Committee Membership: Audit Committee


Read more about Hugh...

Hugh Jones is an independent management consultant working with universities and other organisations across higher education. Prior to this role, he worked within university professional services at five universities in London and Wales, including executive leadership roles at Goldsmiths, University of London; and Cardiff University. Hugh is a Fellow of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) and is programme lead on the AUA’s Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Administration, Management and Leadership, and holds degrees from the LSE and from the University of London Institute of Education, now part of UCL. You can follow Hugh on Twitter @hughjconsulting – on most weekdays he’ll share an old postcard relating to higher education.

Tracy Westall

Committee Membership: HR Committee, Remuneration Committee, Nominations and Governance Committee


Read more about Tracy...

Tracy Westall is a Board Executive in the Digital and Technology sector with over 30 years’ experience.  

Tracy was a Board Director at the Midlands tech firm SCC plc, running a £350 million public sector business. Latterly, as Director of Corporate Services at SCC, Tracy was responsible for running a range of operational functions and oversaw in excess of 250 staff. In addition to her corporate career, Tracy was a Director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and was responsible for stimulating innovation in the West Midlands. Tracy also sat on the Smart City Commission and the Birmingham Science City Boards, where she championed the Digital Leaders West Midlands programme, and provided support to the West Midlands’ Mayor through the West Midlands Digital Advisory Board.

 Now Tracy is a Non-Executive Director at the Department for Transport and sits on the Future of Mobility Advisory Board, supporting the UK government’s Department for Business Energy & Industry and Strategy’s Industrial Grand Challenge. Tracy is also an Advisory Board Member for Bruntwood Scitech Birmingham, Executive Chair at Curium Solutions and founder of her own advisory business, Westmill Solutions, which helps businesses scale up.

Tracy spent several years on the Board of Tech UK, the trade association for the UK tech sector. Tracy is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in this sector, speaking regularly at events. In 2018 she was recognised as the Digital Leaders West Midlands Champion.

Staff Governors

Mohammed Ayaz

General Staff representative



Read more about Mohammed...

Mohammed is a graduate of Birmingham City University and has completed an Executive-MBA, an MSc in Data Networks and Security and a BSc (Hons) in Computer Networks for Business.

Mohammed has over 10 years of IT experience and is a member of the Board of Governors at City Road Primary School part of the Inspire Academies Trust. Mohammed holds MCITP, MCSA, MCSE and MTA certifications from Microsoft and has held certifications from Oracle and Cisco. Mohammed's experience covers both the retail and IT Sectors.

Andrew Kulman

Teaching Staff representative


Read more about Andrew...

Professor Andrew Kulman divides his professional life between working as a practicing graphic artist and being an educator. His career milestones have been marked by innovative curriculum design and collaborative practice, with a particular interest in developing overseas partnerships. Andrew is a strong believer in continual professional development and has developed workshops for colleagues in his faculty, enabling them to gain teaching fellowships and progression. Recently he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and Principal Fellowship of the HEA.

Andrew has worked with D&AD and the Association of Illustrators. In 2016 he was elected to serve on the Representative Board of the European League of Institutes of the Arts. This prestigious appointment means that he can work alongside colleagues from leading European institutions in helping to form policies and strategies that will impact on future directions in art and design education.

Andrew has developed exciting workshops and classes at institutes of art and design overseas. He works closely with colleagues at in Hong Kong, where he supports colleagues in their teaching and development of innovative programmes. In NID in India, he ran a very successful series of workshops investigating the wordless novel. This built on new research that he has undertaken in visual communication practice.

Student Governors

Victoria Bennett-Salvador

President of the Students’ Union


Read more about Victoria...

Joining BCU for five years ago and having completed a Certificate in Education for Media and Communications (Journalism) and undergraduate degree in Digital Marketing Victoria desired to learn more about other people’s cultures, religions and views. Coming from a mixed background of Spanish and British Victoria grew up feeling that she had to try to justify to others who she was and what she stood for. This gave her the drive to want to find and use her voice to support others in their journey in expressing and representing themselves. BCUSU has been a huge part of Victoria's university experience and she wanted to give back in the most authentic way she could; by giving a voice to the students she had listened to over the past five years. Since joining BCU in 2016 Victoria has been part of a number of societies and sports clubs, including: Women’s Football, Burlesque, Cheerleading (Stunt Group) and Women’s Society. Victoria discovered the Women’s Society with the support of the Students’ Union Women’s Officer at the time; Aishah Din and became its President, reaching over 100 members and won Best New Student Group in 2020. 

Leanna Grant

Vice President Academic Experience


Read more about Leanna...

Bio coming soon

Clerk to the Board of Governors

Karen Stephenson LLB, Solicitor, MA

University Secretary and Clerk to the Board of Governors


Read more about Karen...

As University Secretary, Karen is responsible for all matters of governance, and legal and statutory compliance. She is Clerk to the Board of Governors and Company Secretary to the University's subsidiary companies. Karen is a qualified solicitor with particular expertise in higher education corporate governance and all issues that arise out of the institutional relationship with students. Prior to joining the University in 2016, Karen spent seven years as an external legal adviser in private practice advising a number of HEIs on issues involving corporate governance, strategic management (including faculty, department and course restructuring) and Board matters. She also advised on all aspects of the student/university relationship and management of complex student litigation. Karen also spent 15 years at London South Bank University; nine years as the University Secretary and Principal Solicitor and six years as an Academic Lecturer in Law. Karen is the sub-editor for the higher and further education section of the Education Law Journal, writing regularly on strategic management issues. Karen is a member of the Law Society and AHUA (the Association of Heads of University Administration).

Co-opted Committee Members