Board Members

Board Declaration of Interest

  • Deborah Jenkins

    Chair of the Board

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    Deborah joins the NCFE as Chair in December 2017.

    Deborah runs her own consultancy (Kindling Ltd) which delivers project creation, consultancy and facilitation, exploring better ways of working together.

    First as Chair since its creation in 1991, and then since 2006 as CEO, Deborah has run The Derwent Initiative (TDI).  TDI are a small independent charity based in Newcastle upon Tyne which aims to reduce the risk of sexual offending.  Providing a pragmatic, partnership approach to risk reduction and creating and operating public protection schemes.

    Deborah is also Visiting Professor on Leadership to the University of Newcastle and has held Non-Executive Director roles such as Chair of the Barnard Castle Vision Partnership, Chair of the South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust, Independent Chair of the Northern Neonatal Network, Vice Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission, Chaired the AllTalk FM North East bid for North East commercial radio franchise The Wireless Group, and was Board member of the Northern Community of Interest and Decision making among other roles.

    Deborah was awarded the MBE in 1995 for services to urban regeneration and the North East Alternative Business Person of the Year in 2011.

    Deborah co-founded and held various Director Roles at Common Purpose, the national charity running leadership programmes for city decision-makers aimed at improving active citizenship and strategic direction, based on the US model.  Deborah developed and ran programmes for senior urban leaders in Tyneside, Teesside, County Durham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, then set up independent Civilia companies for Germany and Sweden, running programmes in Hanover (Germany) and Orebro (Sweden) with development in Berlin, Prague, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, The Hague and Budapest. During her time at Common Purpose, Deborah wrote an impact study commissioned by Baring Foundation in 2000.

    Deborah is married and lives in County Durham with her husband, but also spends time in Newcastle and Nice in the South of France, where she and her husband like to take time out by being honorary Nicois and pick up many generation and other ideas that they can use in their work.

    Deborah has a lifelong interest in domesticity, which she tries to find time for and greatly enjoys spending time with her family.

    Deborah joins us as Chair of the NCFE Board following 8 years as Chair at South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust.

  • Roz Cuschieri

    Board Member

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    Roz is a CEO and Non-Executive Director with a passion for growing brands, people and business. She operates at board level with Plc, family and private companies.

    Roz’s experience spans over three decades in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry.  After graduating from Aberdeen University with a pure Science degree, Roz embarked on a commercial career with United Biscuits. Roz then spent five years with Scottish and Newcastle Plc progressing to the role of Trade Marketing Director and then 12 years with Warburton’s in marketing and commercial board positions.

    More recently Roz spent five years at Genius Gluten Free as CEO; growing the brand to be the leading gluten free player in the UK, overseeing the acquisition of three bakeries and undertaking rapid international expansion.

    Roz has held a number of Non Exec positions including Marston’s plc and currently sits on the board of Scottish Golf Ltd, Worldwide Cancer Research Charity, Social Bite Ltd, Lightbody Ventures Ltd and is Chairwoman of Emily Crisps Ltd.

    Roz joined the NCFE Board in October 2017.

  • Heather Ashton

    Board Member

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    Heather is an experienced Director and Non-Executive Director who has worked in the quasi-public sector for the last 10 years in both Housing and Higher Education. Heather has many years of commercial experience in both the retail and manufacturing sectors.

    Heather’s current role is Executive Director of Resources at Thirteen Housing Group, which was formed from a merger of Fabrick and Vela in April 2014, creating a 33,000 unit Social Housing Provider with £160m turnover and over 1,400 employees gaining vast experience in organisational transformation and change.

    Having qualified as an accountant a number of years ago, Heather also holds a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)

    Heather holds a number of Non-Executive roles which include Chair of the National Housing Federation Finance and Policy Advisory Group, Founding Member of the Teesside Learning Trust (Multi Academy), member of the CBI NE Regional Council and Trustee of Teesside University Student Union.

    Heather joined the NCFE Board in October 2017.

  • Chris Peel

    Board Member

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    Chris joins us with experience from across multiple sectors and specialises in product innovation, strategy development and transformational change. Chris has a great track record in developing and growing businesses, predominantly in front line public services, capitalising on market change to gain competitive advantage.

    Chris is the Managing Director of Interserve Learning & Employment UK and is responsible for the development and delivery of its UK welfare, skills and education business. Chris was previously the Managing Director of Rehab Jobfit, a unique, Joint Venture partnership between Interserve and the Rehab Group, delivering employability programmes on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

    Chris remains a Board Director of Rehab Jobfit as well as being on the Board of Interserve Service Futures and a Trustee at Aspire, a national charity supporting the spinally injured. Chris is also a Non-Executive Director at Aspire Law.

    In his spare time, Chris enjoys spending time with his family along with sports such as Cricket, Rugby and Golf.

    Chris joined the NCFE Board in October 2017.

  • David Wilson

    Board Member

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    David joins the NCFE Board with a demonstrable track record of improving shareholder value across multiple industries – Financial Services, Manufacturing and Service sectors. David’s experience combines a strong operational background with commercial/entrepreneurial acumen in focussing on how companies can leverage digital/data/cultural innovation to address the challenges/opportunities in the near term.

    David brings significant international experience, working for 3 years in the United States for a USD 200m subsidiary manufacturing firm Courtalds as part of an Advanced Development Programme after joining Courtaulds on their graduate entry programme. David spent a total of 9 years developing from Production Management through to Operations Director. 

    David continued his International experience as a Director of International Operations for NYSE Company Nautilus (NLS) where he was responsible for defining and delivering operational strategy across a USD 100m International Division.

    Most recently, David was Head of Global Payments, Infrastructure and Innovation before his current appointment of Director of Strategic Transformation at Barclays Bank PLC, one of the top four UK clearing banks with a revenue of £30 billion and 130,000 employees.

    David joined the NCFE Board in October 2017.

  • Michael Robinson

    Board Member

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    Michael Robinson was born and educated in the North East before leaving to study law at Oxford University.  After qualifying as a solicitor, Michael spent 15 years at one of the largest law firms in the UK.  In 2002 he joined The Sage Group plc, the Newcastle based supplier of business management software, as Group Legal Director and Company Secretary. Michael lives near Barnard Castle (and has a flat on the Quayside in Gateshead!) with a wife and two grown up children.

    Michael joined the NCFE Board in August 2014.

  • Greg Austin

    Board Member

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    Greg joined Sodexo in October 2012 from G4S, a leading FTSE 100 company, where he was the HR Director for the Government and Outsourcing Services Division.

    At Sodexo, Greg is responsible for leading the efforts in employee engagement and relations, to ensure that Sodexo attracts and retains the best quality people to deliver their services. He is focused on understanding what their employees and customers need, both now and in the future, and making sure that Sodexo develops — and clearly articulates — solutions that meet these ever-changing needs.

    The HR team that reports to Greg has a broad range of experience, both in and out of the healthcare sector, and is supported by an experienced centralised team for the UK, covering specialist areas including organisational development, learning and development, rewards, pensions and employee relations.

    Greg has spent more than 20 years working in HR across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, with a number of FTSE 250 companies in utilities, retail, telecommunications and service provision. These roles covered the UK and Ireland, leading national teams of HR professionals to support the achievement of business goals and to implement innovative and commercially focused HR strategies.