About>University Structure & Governance>The Board of Governors

The Board of Governors

Aerial image of Llandaff Campus

Our Board of Governors is made up of both external and internal members, with a lay majority; they have responsibility for the educational character and mission of our university, as well as having oversight of its activities.

Key functions of the Board include considering and approving our strategic plan, which sets our university's aims and objectives, and overseeing the financial, physical, and staffing strategies necessary to achieve this plan.

Details of the work of the Board of Governors and opportunities for membership may be obtained from the University Secretary & Clerk to the Board of Governors (CJFraser@cardiffmet.ac.uk).

Key Documents and Minutes

Board of Governors | Independent and Co-opted Members

Our Independent and Co-opted Members provide specialist skills and experience to the university by providing advice, guidance, and critique on the University's strategy.

Chair of the Board | John Taylor CBE | Chair of Strategic Planning & Performance Committee 

John Taylor

​Member of: Remuneration Committee, and Strategic Planning & Performance Committee

John began his career in HR before going on to lead companies in the employment, training, economic development sectors. His leaderships roles include work at the Training and Enterprise Council (South East Wales), the Development Board for Rural Wales, and as Chief Executive of ACAS.

Also having experience as a Non-Executive Director for a range of private, public and not-for-profit organisations, and with a passion for employment, education, and organisational development, John shared his passion further having been on the Board of the University of West London for nine years, as well as the University of Reading and Cardiff and Vale College.

John was appointed Chair from 1 August 2021 and said "The resilience and innovation shown by staff and students at Cardiff Metropolitan during these unprecedented times is nothing short of remarkable and I am looking forward to working with the Vice-Chancellor and her Executive Team as we begin to emerge from the pandemic and face the challenges of a post -Covid world."

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • CBE in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours

  • Doctorate of Literature (University of West London)

  • Chartered Manager and Companion

Vice-Chair of the Board | Dr Chris Turner | Chair of Remuneration Committee

Chris Turner Member of: Remuneration Committee

Chris retired after many years of experience in the higher education sector in Wales. Chris has worked in managerial positions at Bangor, Aberystwyth and UW College of Medicine, as well as being appointed University Secretary at Cardiff University and later combining this post with being Academic Registrar. 

Chris' depth of knowledge in higher education makes him an asset to the university's Board of Governors, with his good understanding of academic quality and of the centrality of the student experience. Chris brings insights into governance and leadership matters at Cardiff Met.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • Number of non-executive positions
  • Chair of the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee for Wales.


Vice-Chair of the Board | Menai Owen-Jones

Menai Owen-Jones

Member of: Audit Committee, and Strategic Planning & Performance Committee

As well as previously being the Chief Executive of the Pituitary Foundation, Menai holds a variety of non-executive director and advisory roles. This includes Samaritans Cymru, Race Council Cymru, and Daring to Dream, whilst also being an experienced Chief Executive and trustee.

Menai has nearly 20 years of experience across many different disciplines in the voluntary sector and is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Holding the belief that higher education makes a fundamentally important difference to individuals, the economy and society, and committed to our values & purpose, Menai is a passionate member of the Board. 

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • Chartered Director (2020) 
  • Ambassador for the Institute of Directors Wales 

  • Fellow of the Institute of Directors 

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts 


Member of the Board | Nick Capaldi | Chair of Governance & Nominations Committee

Nick Capaldi Member of: Governance & Nominations Committee, and Strategic Planning & Performance Committee

Nick was Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales for 13 years to September 2021. He's also worked as an Executive Director for the Arts Council England in the South West.

Nick clearly has a passion for the arts, having originally trained as a musician at Chetham's School of Music and the Royal College of Music before starting his career in media doing broadcasting on TV and radio but also playing his instruments in hotels and bars, and then working at festivals and in orchestral management. 

Nick is delighted to be working with Cardiff Met, sharing our passion to widen the university's engagement.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from City University, London.


Member of the Board | Scott Waddington | Chair of Audit Committee

​Member of: Audit Committee

Scott spent most of his career in the hospitality sector, working with businesses such as Bass, Carlsberg, and Century Inns, as well as being the Chief Executive of SA Brain for 17 years, overseeing huge change for the business.

Scott has also sat on various boards, in the past being Chair of CBI for Wales; Wales Commissioner to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills; and has been part of the British Beer & Pub Association. 

Having a diverse level of high-profile roles, Scott offers broad and practical knowledge as an Governor.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • Economics and Accounting (Reading University)
  • Chair of Cardiff Business Club
  • Chair of Transport for Wales

Member of the Board | David Warrender | Chair of Resources Committee

Member of: Resources Committee, and Governance & Nominations Committee

David is currently a Director of Airbus Endeavr and an owner of an international freight services business, and also brings a background in both the private and public sector, software, and management consultancy. 

Whilst in the public sector, David has been in a variety of senior positions within the Welsh Government, as well as creating and leading Digital Wales and then finding and serving as CEO of Innovation Point.

Impressed by Cardiff Met's strength of purpose and potential, David contributes his knowledge and skills as governor, towards our ambitious goals in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • Board member of Hafod
  • Representative of the Welsh Government's interests in the Alacrity Foundation


Member of the Board | Roisin Connolly

Member of: Strategic Planning & Performance Committee

A Senior Management Consultant at Accenture since 2012, Roisin provides strategic direction to c-suites, and will often focus on difficult programmes of work including digital transformation or inclusion, diversity, and behavioural measures to improve and make an organisation more impactful.

Passionate about getting more women into in tech, Roisin regularly speaks at events and schools to advocate the area.

Rosin is eager to lend her expertise as a governor, feeling the vision and values of CMU resonate with her. Roisin finds enjoyment in helping others and supporting the next generation to drive a sustainable economy.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • BSc Economics & European Politics (University of Birmingham)
  • Part of PICTFOR (The Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum) via DevelopHer
  • We are the City Tech Women Top 50 Women winner 2017


Member of the Board | Gareth Davies

Member of: Resources Committee

Gareth has previously held roles such as Chair of the Welsh Rugby Union, CEO of the Newport Gwent Dragons, Chairman of the Sports Council for Wales and Commissioning Editor for Welsh TV company S4C, as well as having a distinguished rugby and business career.

However, as well as a sport background, Gareth has held positions such as Dean of Leeds Metropolitan University, the Welsh Government's Head of Australia and New Zealand for Trade and Investment, and he has also worked at the Royal Mail as Director of Welsh Affairs. 

Gareth joined the Board as a Co-opted Governor, offering an abundance of experience to the University. 

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • Director of World Rugby, the Six Nations, and the British and Irish Lions. 

  • BSc Chemistry (University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology) 

  • PGCE (Oxford University) 

  • Honorary degrees from Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales

Member of the Board | Karen Fiagbe

Member of: Resources Committee

Karen has a wealth of experience in public sector, currently working at Lewisham Council as Interim Head of Economy and Partnerships, as well as holding previous experience at Croydon Council and past roles such as a governor at a primary school and on business improvement district boards.

With a wealth of experience in community and supporting the local population, Karen has worked with a variety of bodies to innovate and develop city regions. Karen is particularly interested in Cardiff Met's focus on enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, feeling her own passions and interests would be used well as a governor.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • BSc Business Economics (Cardiff University)
  • Prosperity through Partnership Award winner 2020


Member of the Board | Sheila Hendrickson-Brown

​Member of: Governance & Nominations Committee, and Resources Committee

Sheila is currently Chief Executive of Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC), where she has been since July 2012. C3SC is the hub for Cardiff's charities, local volunteering and community action. 

With experience in a variety of leadership roles, including both as a trustee/chair of local, national, and UK charities and as the Chief Officer in charitable organisations, Sheila has a passion of social justice, equalities and social action.

Being passionate about accessible, inclusive and enabling opportunities for learning, Sheila brings this passion to her role as a governor at Cardiff Met. 

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • Member of the Board of Cardiff Public Services Board and Cardiff and Vale Regional Partnership Board 

  • Chair of the Wales Third Sector Equality and Human Rights Coalition 

  • LLB Law 


Member of the Board | Paul Matthews

Member of: Governance & Nominations Committee, and Strategic Planning & Performance Committee

Paul is currently the Chief Executive of Monmouthshire County Council, where he has been for over 10 years. However, Paul's public sector experience doesn't stop there, he's also Innovation and Business Engagement lead for the Cardiff Capital Region, Solace Wales lead for Economy and Digital, and a Board Member of SRS (wales), you can also see more below.

As well as offering his advice and knowledge in the boardroom, Paul also teaches as a visiting Professor at Cardiff University.

Paul brings a breadth of experience in in a variety of settings, from educational to entrepreneurial to public sector. 

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • Clerk to the Lord Lieutenancy of Gwent 

  • Member of Wales Government Brexit Advisory Panel 

  • Member of Wales Government Digital Advisory Panel 

  • Chair of the Monmouthshire Public Service Board 


Member of the Board | Professor Myra Nimmo

Member of: Remuneration Committee, and Resources Committee

As well as holding other posts in an education setting, Myra was Chair of England Athletics until August 2021, and has an academic background in physiology. 

Myra's research focussed on questions in metabolic physiology as applied to elite athletes, obese adults and the older person.

Believing us to be a robust and dynamic university, being both innovative and committed to staff and students, Myra is excited to be a member of the Board. 

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham 

  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Loughborough University 

  • Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Life and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham 

Member of the Board | Professor Kelechi Nnoaham

Member of: Resources Committee

Kelechi is currently Executive Director of Public Health and Executive Lead for Research & Development at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board. Since qualifying with an MBBS degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 1999, Kelechi has carried out significant research on a range of public health subjects including population & geodemographic segmentation, determinants of health, endometriosis and experiences of stigma amongst African migrants living with tuberculosis in East London.

A co-founder, Trustee, and current President of the Public Health Foundation of Nigeria, a co-developer of the '4-4-54' construct and Thrive Plymouth programme, Kelechi demonstrates passion for health and access to healthcare.

With an impressive background in health and the public sector, Kelechi will offer a different set of strengths and opinions to the Board.  

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition: 

  • MSc in Tropical Health Medicine/International Health (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  • MPH in Global Health Science (Oxford University)
  • DPhil in Public Health & Epidemiology (Oxford University)
  • Winner of the Frederick-Murgatroyd prize for academic excellence

Member of the Board | Christopher Pilgrim

​Member of: Remuneration Committee

With experience in the UK and overseas, Chris has developed a significant skillset in HR within ExxonMobil, Shell, and E.on-Npower. Leading in change within culture and behaviour, Chris has built relationships on trust and credibility throughout the organisations he's been part of.

Chris has had a number of NED and Executive roles, notably he is currently Chair of the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body and Chief HR and People Officer at E.on-Npower.

Chris is keen to be part of a board in a sector that is important to him, hoping to bring his experience in commercial organisations with a focus on HR and change.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • MA Organisation Behaviour and Analytics (Lancaster University)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in HR Management (Cardiff University)
  • BA Politics (University of Exeter)


Member of the Board | David Surdeau

Member of: Resources Committee

David has had a significant global career, having spent time in a variety of countries, including Hungary, the USA, and South Korea. This wealth of experience had provided him with broader cultural understanding as well as the ability to build relationships across the world.

With a background in finance, when working for M&S, David worked closely with shareholders as the impact of COVID-19 was felt.

David's background in finance was utilised in further education at Newham College where he has acted as Governor, Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee. David is passionate about education and its ability to lift young people (and older generations) and provide them with greater opportunities.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • MA European History (Oxford University) - in progress
  • INSEAD Certificate of Corporate Governance
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Member of the Board | Alison Thorne

Member of: Remuneration Committee

Following a successful commercial retail career as an executive director in listed and private companies Alison developed a second career in executive search and business development as Founder and MD of atconnect, Alison is passionate about mentoring and people development, and has also lead post graduate studies at London Collage of Fashion to foster talent.

Alison has a focus on building effective relationships for organisations, both internally and externally, and she is known for her creative strategic thinking and asking the right questions.

Alison has a breadth of experience to offer Cardiff Met, with experience as Non-Executive Director, Chair, Executive Director, and committee member across sectors with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

Memberships, roles, qualifications, and recognition:

  • Wales Lead for Women on Boards

  • Special Independent Panel Member for Public Appointments (Welsh Government)

  • Board Member and Member of the Finance and Audit Committee (Sport Wales)

  • Chair and former committee member Finance and Risk, Commercial Innovation ( Chwarae Teg - leading equality charity)

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Development (UAL 2012)


Member of the Board | Matthew Tossell

Member of: Audit Committee

As Managing Partner of Hugh James from 1999 to 2011 and Chief Executive of Hugh James Involegal LLP from 2011 to the present day, Matthew has had a notable legal career, building up a significant client base, and transforming the business to become more digital. Establishing a Hugh James Training Academy, Matthew has developed relationships with various educational institutions in city to provide bespoke training.

Recently appointed to the Cardiff Capital Region Business Council Board, Matthew will represent the business interests of the city whilst the region is being developed.

Matthew likes to achieve consensus where possible, and his legal background will be of significant value as a governor at Cardiff Met.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • LLB Law (UWIST Cardiff)
  • Dreams and Wishes Ambassador and Governance Advisor

Board of Governors | Staff Members

These are members of the University's staff who sit on the Board.

Vice Chancellor | Professor Cara Aitchison

Cara is our current President & Vice Chancellor as well as being a Professor of Geography and Cultural Economy, joining the University in 2016.

Cara has a breadth of experience in education, previously Vice-Chancellor of Plymouth Marjon University (2013-2016), Head of Moray House School of Education at Edinburgh University (2010-13), Dean of the Faculty of Education and Sport at the University of Bedfordshire (2008-10), Professor in Human Geography at UWE Bristol (2003-08) and among other senior educational posts, she also spent her early career in London.

Cara joins the Board and the University with a passion for values-driven leadership that promotes the integration of widening participation, civic engagement, sustainable economy and international diplomacy. She has published widely on identity, inclusion, cultural economy and rural sustainability and her research has resulted in new theoretical perspectives and policy impacts in rural planning, cultural strategy, tourism, sport and education.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • MA (Hons) PgDRLP PGCE MA PhD
  • Fellow of the Royal Geological Society
  • Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Council Member of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Council Member of CBI Cymru/Wales

Academic Staff Representative | Malcolm James

Malcolm has been with the University since 1993, being a lecturer and module leader for a variety of subjects, including financial reporting and financial management, whilst a specialist in taxation.

Malcolm has been active in the local branch of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, written journals, and books, and is now carrying out a PhD, researching the ways in which power relationships and power dynamics shape tax policy and practice.

Malcolm joins the Board as a representative of the academic staff at the University.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • PhD (in progress)
  • British Tax Review published

Professional Services Staff Representative | Denn Yearwood

Denn joined the University back in 2008 and currently works as a project manager / business analyst within Business Improvement Services. However, prior to settling in project management, Denn spent time working on live music gigs, among other things.

Alongside working here at the University, Denn is also branch secretary of Cardiff Met Unison, Chair of the BAME network, and now resides on the Board of Governors as Professional Services Representative.

Denn is a proud member of the Cardiff Met community, setting up the BAME staff network, and an LGBTQ+ ally, working closely with the Women's LGBTQ+ group, as well as the Disabled Networks.

Memberships, qualifications, and recognition:

  • MA Creative Writing (Cardiff Metropolitan University)

Board of Governors | Student Members

The President and Vice-President of the Cardiff Met Student's Union are ex officio members of the Board of Governors, and they ensure that the voices of the students at our university are heard.

SU President | Venky Gonavaram

Venky is the 2021/2022 Cardiff Met SU President, having joined the university in January 2020 studying for her MBA.

Originally from India, Venky completed her Pharmacy degree in 2015 before working as a clinical coder for two years and gaining leadership experience in healthcare.

Venky hopes to address a variety of issues in her role as President, including: scholarship awareness, IT issues, and campus community.


SU Vice President | Naomi Wrigley

Naomi is the 2021/2022 Cardiff Met SU Vice-President, having joined the university in 2018 to study Sport Management BSc (Hons).

A passionate representative, Naomi was actively involved in the SU and student life throughout her time at Cardiff Met, as well as being an active Korfball player, and representative of on a number of related committees.

Naomi said, "I understand the importance of fairly representing the student voice and using the student voice as a means of driving positive change at Cardiff Metropolitan University."

External Co-opted Members

External Co-opted members of the Board are not 'full' members of the Board, and instead provide specific expert advice on matters such as HR or finance.

Adrian Piper


Member of: Audit Committee

Once working at the Bank of England, Adrian has had a significant career, previously holding the role of Chair of Julian Hodge Bank, where he was also a NED since 2010, as well as having sat on several other boards including global law firm Eversheds Sutherland, and as a Trustee of the National Trust.

Receiving an OBE in 2005 for services to the legal profession and the community, Adrian brings a variety of skills to the Audit Committee.

Lisa Winstone


Member of: Audit Committee

Lisa is currently Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the Education and Workforce Council, where she is responsible for a range of financial matters, including audit, as well as HR and other areas. Having previously worked in leading roles at the Office of National Statistics, RSM Tenon, and EY, Lisa has an in-depth knowledge in the financial field.

With significant experience in finance and audit, Lisa is a valuable member of the Audit Committee.