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The University Council

The University Council is made up of a maximum of 24 members, the majority of whom are independent.  Further information on Council members can be found below. The Chair of Council is Lord Keith Bradley.

Chair of Council, Member of Finance and Resources Committee, Member of Governance, Nominations and Ethics Committee, Member of Honorary Degrees Committee, Member of Remuneration Committee

Keith was awarded a life peerage in 2006, having served as MP for Manchester Withington from 1987 until 2005. In addition he brings a wealth of experience as a chair and a non-executive director, with positions held across a number of statutory and voluntary sector organisations, including the NHS. Key examples over the last few years include his position as a non-executive director and then Chair of the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Chair of two NHS Mast partnerships, a board member of Pennine Care NHS Foundation, a council member of the Medical Protection Society and work as a Trustee on the Prison Reform Trust and the Centre for Mental Health. Keith also authored the Bradley report on people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, published in 2009.

Deputy Chair of Council, Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee, Member of Finance & Resources Committee.

Sean O’Hara is Director and founder of the International Market & Business Development Group; an international strategy consultancy providing expert advice and support to companies looking to grow internationally through new market entry, joint ventures or acquisition.    

Sean has over 25 years' experience of strategic marketing and commercial leadership. He initially started his career as a graduate management trainee for the, Manchester based, Tootal Group plc. Going on to work for several multinational companies in senior sales and marketing roles, covering over 100 markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.    

Until recently Sean was a Director on the Group Management Board of PZ Cussons plc, the FTSE 250 listed consumer products group, based in the North West, with operations in Africa, Asia and Europe. As the International Market & Business Development Director he was responsible for identifying and developing growth opportunities in new and existing categories and market geographies, as well as shared board responsibility for; five-year strategic planning, annual budgets, and the commercial day-management of the overall business.    

In his spare time Sean enjoys; scuba diving, skiing and – now only watching – rugby and football.

Biography under construction.

Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

Geoff is a Salford Alumnus both as an undergraduate and postgraduate. A Chartered Management Accountant by profession, in the private sector up to 2009 he held several senior level financial and commercial positions in international manufacturing companies in sectors including automotive, paper making equipment and for healthcare, defence, environmental and Sky Sports products. A key role was at Voith and Scapa where Geoff oversaw all financial aspects of divisions covering 24 manufacturing sites across North America, Europe and Asia, managing a large global team.          

Until 2015 in the public sector, he was a Non-Executive Director at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust for eight years where he was also Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, and was a Non-Executive Director at Harvest subsequently Your Housing Group for five years.          

He has recently become Chair of Darwen Vale Aldridge Academy, a co-opted member of One Manchester Housing’s Audit & Risk Committee, a Non-Executive Director of Contour Housing and a Board Member of Lancashire Mind, a mental health and wellbeing charity.

Member of Audit and Risk Committee

Tony has almost 30 years of international business leadership experience in marketing and pharmaceutical development in the pharmaceutical industries, working for companies such as Astra Zeneca and Merck Serono, and as CEO of Vifor Pharma, an international company based in Switzerland. More recently he has been extensively involved with university start up companies in biotech/healthcare. In addition, Tony has wide non-executive experience in the health and third sectors as a non-executive director and Senior Independent Director of East Cheshire NHS Trust, and as a Trustee of the Roy Castle Lung Foundation.

Member of Remuneration Committee

Phil was brought up in Eccles and went to school at De La Salle College in Salford.  He went on to receive his BA (Hons) in Urban and Regional Planning from Lanchester Polytechnic (now Coventry University) in 1977 and became a Chartered Town Planner, working in local government in Greater Manchester. He then moved into the private sector in senior business development roles at regional board level for major construction companies  in the North West including Amec, Wimpey Construction and Kier.    

He obtained post-graduate diplomas in Marketing and Management Studies and a Masters in Business Management from Manchester Metropolitan University and is a member of the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.          

Phil is Chairman of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, was President of the Chamber from 2012-2014 and has chaired its Property and Construction Group.  He developed the Greater Manchester Building of the Year award (now an annual event) and was a founder of the annual North West Construction Summit.  He is a non-executive Director of the Manchester Growth Company and a member of the Strategic Enterprise Zone Board of Manchester Airport City.  He has also been a board member of the Atlantic Gateway and the North Liverpool Urban Regeneration Partnership where he chaired the development group.

He lives in Boothstown in Salford and is keenly interested in Salford local government, local history, architecture, the built environment and music. He is a Trustee of the Manchester Jazz Festival despite being (in his own words), “a worse than useless guitarist.”

Until March 2016, Phil was Director at Capita Property and Infrastructure after ten years as a Regional Director at built environment consultants Aecom.

Member of Finance & Resources Committee

Garry Dowdle is currently the Chief Information Officer for Manchester Airports Group.As a senior IT executive working for global organisations he has wide ranging leadership, commercial and technology experience. His skills and expertise include strategy development, large scale organisational change, mergers & acquisitions, leading geographically dispersed teams and outsourcing. He has worked in the petroleum, food, logistics and aviation sectors and has lived and worked in the United States and Europe.

Chair of Remuneration Committee

Andrea has held the Group HR Director position on the top team of a number of leading global organisations and FTSE companies across a range of industry sectors including pharmaceuticals, electronics, financial services, FMCG and manufacturing. Her most recent post was on the Executive of Premier Farnell PLC.

Member of Student Experience Committee

Ben Gallop leads the radio and digital departments within BBC Sport.  He has responsibility for - which is the largest sports website in the UK, with an average weekly audience of around 20m unique users across mobile, desktop and connected TV.    

He heads up radio sport, overseeing the teams who deliver sports output for 5 Live, which is the UK’s most popular sports radio station, reaching more than 3.5m listeners every week.    

Ben was previously head of the BBC’s Formula 1 operation across all platforms.  F1 returned to BBC screens in 2009 after an absence of 12 years and established itself as one of the most popular sports on TV and online, winning a BAFTA in 2011.    

He led the BBC's Digital Olympics project, which scoped the broadcaster's editorial and technological strategy for London 2012 and resulted in record audiences for BBC Online and helped set a new benchmark for digital sports coverage.    

Ben joined the BBC in 1998, first working for BBC News before being appointed sports editor on the launch team for the BBC Sport website.  Before that Ben worked for a number of years as a journalist for BSkyB and the Press Association, having started his career in local newspapers.

Biography under construction.

Member of Finance and Resources Committee

John was elected to represent Broughton ward in 1990 and, until becoming Deputy Leader in 1998, held various educational positions both within the City Council and externally, most notably as Vice Chairman of the AMA Education Committee and Chair of the Council of Local Education Authorities. John was elected to the position of Leader of Salford City Council in May 2003. Following the election of the City’s first Directly Elected Mayor in 2012 John was given responsibility for the Children & Young People portfolio and later the Skills & Work agenda. The
election of the second Directly Elected Mayor in May 2016 led to his appointment as Deputy City Mayor.

Member of Audit and Risk Committee

Ian is the Executive Director of Finance and Information at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. He joined the Board of Directors in May 2014 from the NHS Trust Development Authority where he was the Business Finance Director for London.    

He started his NHS career in 1991 as a Regional Financial Management Trainee and has held Finance Director positions in Primary Care, Acute and Intermediate Tier Organisations since 2005.  During this time he has worked on a number of large scale transactions including the development of a new national service for cancer treatment, organisational merger and acquisition and the development of a joint venture company to deliver commercial benefits to the NHS.    

Alongside his NHS roles Ian has significant experience from working with a number of other public, private and charitable sectors and he is currently Vice Chair of Weaver Vale Housing Trust.    

Ian has had a career long interest in Staff Development and until recently was Chair of the NW Towards Excellence Accreditation Programme and is National Chair of the HealthCare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Policy and Research Committee.

Chair of Governance, Nominations and Ethics Committee, Member of Governance, Nominations and Ethics Committee and Honorary Degrees Committee.

Sam Plant was until recently Company Secretary and Director of Corporate Services of PZ Cussons Plc, the FTSE 250 listed consumer products group. PZ Cussons has operations in Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and Europe and a long-standing connection with Manchester.  Its head office is in the City and its liquid soap factory and innovation centre are in Salford, a short distance from the University.        

Sam is a solicitor with over 20 years’ experience and was responsible for providing legal advice across all of the Company’s global operations.  A founding member of the Company’s Executive Company, he was also jointly responsible for strategic planning, the delivery of change initiatives, budgeting, talent management and the day to day financial performance of the business.  He played a leading role in the Group's corporate social responsibility programme and drove its global risk management activities.        

Outside of work, Sam spends his time painting, playing tennis, providing (unpaid) taxi services to his two daughters and supporting Crystal Palace FC.

Member of Student Experince Committee

Susan Price retired as Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University in August 2015. She holds a First Class degree in Modern Languages from the University of Salford, as well as a PhD in Linguistics and an MBA. Her research interests have included Linguistics, Comparative Management and International Business Strategy. Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University in 2010, she was Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of East London and also held academic posts at the Universities of Manchester, Bradford and the West of England. She has a broad range of board experience at national and regional levels having been a member of Boards including Yorkshire Universities, the UK National Centre for Languages, Canterbury Christ Church University, the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the Royal Docks Partnership, Marketing Leeds, and Leeds and Partners, the inward investment agency for Leeds and the Leeds City Region.        

Susan has also been a member of a number of policy groups on behalf of Universities UK and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, including the Leadership Foundation's diversity advisory group, the access and widening participation strategy group, the higher education public information strategy group, the Higher Education International and Europe strategic advisory board and the national steering committee for the NSS, and worked extensively with the QAA as an auditor and degree awarding powers assessor. She speaks six European languages.        

In 2016 Susan was awarded a CBE for Services to Higher Education.

Biography under construction.

Member of Remuneration Committee

Helen is currently HR and Professional Services Director at the esure Group. She has operated at director level in the HR space since 1997, developing her experience in a range of commercial organisations, including Royal and Sun Alliance and the Co-Operative Banking Group. Helen has also served as a non-executive director, holding roles on the Co-Operative Management Service Company and the Yorkshire and Leeds Co-Operative Pension Fund.

Professor Sheila Pankhurst joined the University in March 2017 as Dean of the School of Environment & Life Sciences.        

Sheila was previously Deputy Dean at the University of Cumbria where she has secured significant external funding for the University, and delivered strong growth in student recruitment following new curriculum development.  Prior to her role at the University of Cumbria, Sheila headed up a large and highly successful Department of Life Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, where she grew student numbers by more than 60%.        

An accomplished and supportive leader and outside of her primary field of expertise, Sheila brings a range of experience relevant across several of our Industry Collaboration Zones. She is a member of the working group for the new National College for Nuclear and academic lead for a formal partnership with the University of Manchester’s School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.        

With a long interest and strong background in zoo research and zoo biology, Sheila has published a best-selling undergraduate textbook on the subject. She continues to remain research active and strongly values the importance of a vibrant research community as fundamental to the success of a School.        

Sheila graduated from Durham University in 1982 and has a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge. She holds several trusteeships and is an external examiner, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

Biography under construction.

Biography under construction.

Biography under construction.

Member of Finance and Resources Committee, Remuneration Committee, Governance and Nominations Committee.

Helen Marshall is the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Salford, previously holding the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor since July 2013.    

Helen studied Law before continuing to postgraduate research in Corporate Merger Law at the University of Birmingham. She became Glamorgan's Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2010 and, in her time there, led on academic and business development initiatives. She has been responsible for the development of a new curriculum in creative industries, the establishment of a Centre for Financial and Professional Services and the review and renewal of the law curriculum.    

Born in Cardiff, Helen has lived in the North West for a significant period of her career. Before moving to South Wales, Helen held positions at the University of Central Lancashire and at the University of Cumbria, as well as gaining extensive experience in quality assurance through a secondment to the QAA.    

She has also led on widening participation and, before starting at Salford, was Director for the University of South Wales’ Universities Heads of the Valleys Institute (UHOVI) - a ground breaking initiative backed by the Welsh Government to provide opportunities for local people and businesses to improve skills and qualifications by making learning accessible across the Valleys region. In three years, UHOVI enrolment grew from less than 100 to more than 2200.