FINANCE AND PROCUREMENT, LEGAL SERVICES AND DATA
Kris is NCFE’s Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for our finances, mergers and acquisitions, procurement and supplier management, legal and contractual matters, our technology, data, regulatory reporting, and information security and the project management of our key programmes and initiatives.
Tell us a bit about you
Originally from Sunderland, I couldn’t persuade my wife to move south of the Tyne – so we now live on the North Tyneside coast with our three children. With over 20 years of experience as a Chartered Accountant, I have held senior finance and trustee positions in various sectors and I’m a governor and Chair of the Finance & Premises Committee of my local high school.
Tell us a bit about your career
After leaving university, I joined PwC as an auditor. It provided a great foundation for a career in finance and allowed me to work with a wide variety of clients across multiple sectors. After leaving PwC, I moved into various Corporate Finance roles, eventually joining Newcastle College Group as it expanded from being North East-based, to a national group of colleges and training providers.
I loved this work – helping with mergers, acquisitions, business planning, investments and negotiating and structuring deals to mitigate risk. This was also my first experience of working in the education and not-for-profit sectors. It allowed me to see first-hand how education can have a transformative impact on people’s lives, but also how not-for-profit organisations can be run in a professional, commercial way that balances reach and impact with building a sustainable future – principles which are incredibly relevant to NCFE today.
I was initially asked to join NCFE on a three-month contract to help acquire the CACHE awarding organisation. What struck me during this time was how knowledgeable and passionate everyone was, and I was therefore delighted to stay on at NCFE.
Fast forward eight years and it amazes me how far we’ve come – four acquisitions, establishing one of the UK’s leading End Point Assessment Organisations, a broader, deeper suite of qualifications, a comprehensive transformation programme and, perhaps most importantly of all, a renewed emphasis and respect for our charitable purpose. We have some exciting and challenging ambitions at NCFE, and I think it is safe to say that no two days are ever the same – but I love it here and wouldn’t have it any other way.
DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY, DATA AND PMO
As NCFE’s Director of Technology, Data and PMO, I oversee all of our strategic projects from conception to delivery. Alongside this, I have responsibility for our operational excellence in technology, data, regulatory reporting, and the overarching information security posture of NCFE. I joined NCFE in 2013 working in the IT Infrastructure team, and I’ve continued to be supported to develop myself throughout my time here.
It was during my first job at Northern Rock that I first realised my passion for IT and learning, so I embarked on a self-study scheme through Learn Direct to gain an industry-recognised technical certificate with Microsoft (MCSE). This led me to other technical roles at Sage, BT and NCG, and I've continued to see education and ambition as a mechanism for improving myself whilst quenching my thirst to learn new things – my latest being a master's degree in cyber security, supported by NCFE.
Outside of work, I help to run a junior football club in the local community for 550 children and coach two football teams. I've also enjoyed some sabbatical time during my career, living and working in Australia.
HEAD OF FINANCIAL SERVICES
I first joined NCFE in 2021 as a Finance Business Partner, collaborating with teams across the organisation and gaining invaluable insight into the way that we operate. I was then promoted to Head of Financial Services in September 2023 and now lead both the finance operations and finance business partnering functions.
I’m an FCCA-qualified accountant with 12 years’ experience in both professional services and industry. I started my finance career in audit with EY (Ernst & Young) and once qualified, I relocated to New Zealand as an audit manager. This presented both personal and professional growth opportunities and I remain proud I took the plunge to move to the other side of the world! On returning to the UK, I moved away from professional services into a project lead role in a manufacturing environment, providing exposure to operational and commercial finance.
Born and bred in Newcastle, I live here with my husband and dog Ned. At weekends, I love spending time outdoors and going on adventures in Alice, my very old campervan.