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Board Members

The Board comprises a maximum of 25 individuals - 15 external members, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, 2 staff representatives, 2 academic board representatives and 2 student representatives (the Students' Union President and one other sabbatical officer).

Role descriptions for members of the Board are as follows:


Independent Governors

Craig Apsey

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Employment and Finance Committee - Member
  • Strategic Performance Committee - Chair
  • Nominations Committee - Member


Craig Apsey has been on the Board of Northumbria University since November 2012, and is Chair of its Strategic Performance Committee.

Until 2016, Craig was Managing Director at Mouchel Business Services (MBS), one of two divisions of Mouchel Group which provided a range of expert and consultancy services in workforce management, property design, back office and education services until the company floated for £500m.

Previously Craig was Chief Operating Officer for BT's Local, Regional & Devolved Government Business, having spent a number of years in various roles in BT and Syntegra (a wholly owned subsidiary of BT) with a wide range of complex delivery responsibilities to organisations such as Land Registry of Northern Ireland and City of Edinburgh Council, based around the restructuring of customer services using ICT as a key enabler.  During this period he held a number of Directorships of BT Joint Venture Organisations.

Craig has also held roles with the Civil Service where he worked in the IT department of the DSS for 10 years and prior to this as a marketing manager for a group of small companies.

Craig has a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from Newcastle University and an MSc in Management of Information Technology from Sunderland University.

Outside work, he enjoys running, horse riding, fishing and wandering about the countryside, in fact anything to do with being outside.

James Bromiley

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Audit Committee - Chair
  • Nominations Committee - Member

James Bromiley has been on the Board of Northumbria University since December 2014, and is Chair of its Audit Committee.

James is Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of Elevate Multi Academy Trust, based in North Yorkshire. Previously he was Strategic Director of Finance, Governance and Support at Middlesbrough Council, with a remit covering key corporate services; and before that he was  a senior civil servant with in excess of ten years’ experience in the Department for Education as Deputy Director for Academies and Deputy Director of Finance. James has worked in a variety of other senior roles across local and central government -  North Yorkshire County Council; HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office; and at the National Audit Office.

James gained an MA in Modern History from Oxford University in 1994 and an MBA from Imperial College Business School in 2002.

James is a qualified chartered accountant and from 1998 has been a full member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).


Hassan Kajee

Board of Governors - Independent Governor


Hassan Kajee joined the Board of Northumbria University in September 2022.

He is a Senior Responsible Officer for the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA,) leading a portfolio of major and complex digital programmes including the Covid Pass. He Co-Chairs the BAME Network and is passionate about creating an inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplace for all.   

Hassan has been a senior leader in the NHS since 2014 and has operated across several business disciplines including Commercial and Procurement, Learning and Organisational Development and Digital, Data and Technology. He has led the NHS into commercial negotiations with large, global technology providers for Deep Tech solutions and played a key role in the design of public sector procurement frameworks for digital development services. 

Prior to his current role, Hassan led the NHSBSA’s organisational development programme to design and implement a hybrid working business model for the NHSBSA.

In addition to his NHS role, Hassan is also co-owner and Non-Executive Director of a law firm in Manchester specialising in personal and business immigration matters.

Hassan has a BA (Hons) in Politics with Philosophy from the University of Central Lancashire and an MA in Management from Durham University Business School.

Outside work, Hassan is a football coach for two junior teams at Heaton Hawks FC, is a qualified referee and works with the county Football Association to improve the involvement and engagement of South Asians in grassroots and elite levels. He is an anti-racist campaigner and works with charities such as Show Racism the Red Card to raise awareness and funds to combat racism. 

Sally Pelham

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Audit Committee - Member
  • Employment and Finance Committee - Observer
  • Northumbria University Services Limited – Director

  • Honorary Awards Committee - Member

  • University Health, Safety & Wellbeing Management Group - Governor Representative

  • Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors

Sally has been on the Board of Northumbria University since December 2014. Sally is also a founding Director of Northumbria University Services Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary company of the University. Sally is also the Governor representative on the University, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management Group.

Sally is Chair of the Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books, Newcastle, Chair of Governors at Polam Hall School, Darlington and a Trustee of Kipling Hall, North Yorkshire.

As a qualified solicitor with sixteen years’ experience in the profession, Sally has held senior positions with Eversheds LLP (Leeds), Christie’s International Plc (London), Stephens Innocent (London) and Travers Smith Braithwaite (London).

Sally graduated with 1st Class Honours in Jurisprudence (Law) from Worcester College, Oxford University in 1988 and holds an MA in History of Art from the University of York in 2009.

In 1991, Sally was admitted as a Qualified Solicitor to the Law Society.

Amy Rice-Thomson

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Audit Committee - Member

Amy Rice-Thomson has been on the Board of Northumbria University since June 2014.

Amy is Executive Director for Justice and Young People with the Seetec Group. Up to July 2022 she was the CEO of a large multi-academy trust for three years, after over twenty years working in the criminal justice sector. She was a Director in the Ministry of Justice with a range of portfolios and spent much of her career in operational management of prisons at a senior executive level.

Amy has experience of corporate governance, including serving as an Independent Director on the Board of the Special Purpose Company established to oversee the Grand Depart stages of the Tour de France which took place in Yorkshire and the South East of England in July 2014. Amy hails from Newcastle, and holds a degree in Law with French from the University of Leicester and an MPLA from the University of Oxford Business School.

Helen Thorne, MBE

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Strategic Performance Committee - Member

Helen Thorne has been on the Board of Northumbria University since June 2016.

Helen is the Director of External Relations at UCAS, which provides information, advice and admissions services to people looking to enter higher education or purse other educational opportunities. 

In 2010 she worked at the Russell Group of Universities as Head of Policy, and prior to this Helen worked for the UK’s Research Councils for 17 years in a variety of management roles.  She led the Research Councils UK team for 5 years from its inception, promoting partnerships and joint working between the Councils and established and led the Research Councils UK office in the United States, strengthening collaboration between UK and US universities. 

With a degree in biology from the University of York, Helen began her career in pesticides regulation and managing food safety research for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

She was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to the administration of science.

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods - Chair 

Roberta Blackman Woods

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods stepped down as a Member of Parliament, having been the MP for the City of Durham from 2005-2019.  During her time in parliament Roberta served as a Deputy Minister in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, where she was involved in shaping higher education policy.  From 2011-2019 she was the Shadow Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Roberta helped establish the Westminster Higher Education Form and the Higher Education Commission and chaired the Parliamentary University Group for several years, a forum where Vice-Chancellors and other senior university officers discuss policy and strategic issues with parliamentarians and ministers.

At an international level Roberta was an active member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and made extensive use of these networks to support global education initiatives and foster better parliamentary governance. She was also the Vice-Chair of the United Nations APPG for a number of years.

Her career before entering parliament included working in social services at Newcastle City Council and as a social policy academic at the University of Ulster and the University of Newcastle. She was Dean of Social and Labour Studies at Ruskin College, Oxford and a Head of School and Associate Dean at Northumbria University.

Having worked in the North East for many years as well as being a local councillor and MP, Roberta has excellent relationships with leaders in the North East region in business, industry, education, culture and politics. She is committed to the development of the region and what the talent and skills of the people offer for the future prosperity of the country.

Roberta has a strong belief in the power of universities not only to transform individual lives but transform communities and societies too. She believes the research, innovation and knowledge exchange they undertake are essential for the creation of new jobs and whole new sectors of the economy. She also greatly values the role universities play in educating  and growing leaders of the future.

Her goal as Chair of the Board at Northumbria University is to support and challenge the senior team  to take the University forward as a major player in the sector and globally, realising this potential with its excellent and distinctive mission, its highly engaged colleagues and successful students.

Roberta maintained close links with Northumbria over many years including as a Visiting Professor and she is delighted to be able to contribute to its ongoing success as Chair of the Board.

Dr Stuart Fancey

Dr Stuart Fancey, governor

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Employment and Finance Committee - Member

Dr Stuart Fancey has been on the Board of Northumbria University since January 2020.

Stuart is University Secretary and a member of the senior management team at the University of Strathclyde, where he is responsible for university governance and for leadership of professional services teams focusing on strategy, policy, educational enhancement and the student experience.

Prior to taking up his role at the University of Strathclyde in June 2022, Stuart spent 17 years at the Scottish Funding Council (SFC, latterly as Director of Research and Innovation, and was responsible for research funding in Scotland and advising the SFC board and Scottish government on policy issues affecting Scottish universities.

Stuart began his career as a researcher in Scotland, including a fellowship in Germany, before helping to establish a start-up company (Helia Photonics.)

A graduate of the University of St. Andrews (BSc) and Heriot-Watt University (MSc and PhD), Stuart is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Arts and the Academy of Social Sciences.

Helen Fairfoul

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Employment and Finance Committee - Chair
  • Nominations Committee - Member
  • Remuneration Committee - Member

Helen Fairfoul has been on the Board of Northumbria University since March 2020, and is Chair of its Employment and Finance Committee.

Helen is the former Chief Executive of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), having been in that role from 2012 until February 2020. She was also Deputy CEO at UCEA from 2007. In this role Helen has contributed at a sector-level on employment and employee relations, nationally and internationally, including working extensively with trade union representatives.

Prior to working at UCEA Helen has held various lead roles as a Human Resources specialist. She was HR Director at the University of Roehampton, where she also spent three years as Clerk to the University Council, and Director of Personnel at the London Borough of Greenwich. Helen began her career in local government, joining the Inner London Education Authority and undertaking roles there ranging from teacher recruitment to school governance.

Helen has a degree in History and an MBA. She is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Employment Studies

Sophie Haagensen

Sophie Haagensen, governor

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Strategic Performance Committee - Member

Sophie Haagensen has been on the Board of Northumbria University since January 2020.

Sophie is currently Head of Strategy and Planning at Atom Bank, one of the UK’s leading challenger banks and a globally recognised FinTech. Sophie joined Atom at its inception in 2014 and has covered a number of disciplines to support the start-up’s rapid growth from a team of just six to c.400 today. She played a significant role in securing Atom’s banking license, was Programme Director for the launch of the bank and has acted as Chief of Staff to the CIO.

Sophie joined Atom Bank from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership where, as Deputy Director, she played a central role in driving the development of the Strategic Economic Plan for the North East. The plan secured £290m in a competitive national bidding process - the third highest award in the country.

Previously, Sophie led a strategy team at the Department for Work and Pensions responsible for advising ministers on the viability of new policy proposals. She also advised on the digitalisation of services and a major organisational restructure to deliver digital transformation.

Sophie joined the Civil Service Fast Stream in 2010 before joining the Cabinet Office, where she project managed the launch of Big Society Capital – the world’s first social investment bank, and oversaw the £150m loan book of the Futurebuilders fund.

Sophie gained a BSc in Biology from the University of Nottingham (2004) and graduated with distinction from Northumbria University in both her MSc in Business and Management (2009) and her MBA (2014).

Peter Judge, MBE

Peter Judge, governor

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Audit Committee - Member
  • Remuneration Committee - Chair
  • Nominations Committee - Member
  • Senior Independent Governor

Peter Judge has been on the Board of Northumbria University since January 2020 and is Chair of its Remuneration Committee.

A Northumbria graduate (Law 1993 and Legal Practice Course 1994), Peter re-joined the Board in January 2020 having previously served on the Board from 2010-2012.  Peter also holds a master’s degree in International and European law from Durham University and has served as Durham’s University Secretary.

Peter currently chairs the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI), and the Development Trust of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM).  He is also a Board member of the Marine Management Organisation.

A solicitor with a wealth of leadership experience gained in complex organisations, Peter’s early career was as a corporate lawyer in private practice before serving as Legal and Procurement Director and Group Company Secretary of the Regional Development Agency, One North East and other in-house roles. Peter most recently worked as the Chief Legal Officer of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, continuing his work in the North East’s economic development.

As Attorney General of the British Overseas Territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (2014-2017), Peter was responsible for all the Governments’ legal and regulatory functions including directing public prosecutions and new legislation.

Peter was appointed as an MBE for services to Economic Development and the North East region in 2012 and named UK In-House Lawyer of the Year by The Lawyer Magazine in 2010.

Simon Yellowley

Simon Yellowley, governor

  • Board of Governors - Independent Governor
  • Strategic Performance Committee - Member

Simon Yellowley has been on the Board of Northumbria University since January 2020.

Simon is Senior Consultant at Regional Network Solutions. Simon previously worked for BT having left in June 2020 where he was the North of England Regional Chair for British Telecoms (BT), and he also ran BT’s Public Sector business across the North of England with customers including Local Authorities, Health (National and Regional), Ambulance, Fire and Rescue, Universities and the largest Housing Associations. Simon is also a CBI Regional Councillor.

Previously Simon was the North East Regional Chair for BT and has run BT’s Public Sector business across various geographies in the UK.

Simon has held a number of different roles within his 22 year BT career, including Industry Executive, Business Development Director, Principle Consultant and Business Analyst. Simon has worked in the ICT industry for 30 years and one of his personal highlights was to Partner with South Tyneside Council to create BT South Tyneside, a successful 10 year strategic partnership to create local jobs, operate efficient Council services and build a new BT building on the riverside in South Tyneside.

Outside work, he enjoys running, art, dog walking and the historic Northumberland coast and countryside.

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andy Long

Andy Long VC

  • Board of Governors – Member
  • Audit Committee- Member
  • Employment and Finance Committee- Member
  • Nominations Committee- Member
  • Strategic Performance Committee- Member

Andy joined Northumbria University in 2022 as Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive. Prior to joining Northumbria, Andy was a member of staff at the University of Nottingham since 1990. He most recently served as Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor leading on strategy development and resource allocation across the University and line managing the five Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors. Previously he was Dean and then Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Engineering from 2011 to 2018. Andy was also Chair of the Executive Management Group for Midlands Innovation, a partnership between Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick Universities. He was awarded a personal Chair in Mechanics of Materials in 2004.

Andy has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham, which was awarded for work on process modelling for the manufacture of composite materials. Prior to this, he obtained a BSc in Applied Mathematics from Warwick University and an MSc in Computer Integrated Engineering from Loughborough University. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He served as Course Director in Mechanical Engineering (2004-08) and Head of the Polymer Composites Group (2004-08).

Andy’s research interests are on the design and manufacture of Polymer Composites for demanding applications particularly in the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. Andy was founding Director of the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub, collaborating with a number of other universities as well as companies in the field of high performance composites. He has published over 350 papers including around 130 refereed journal papers, co-authored/edited three textbooks on polymer composites, supervised over 30 successful PhD students, and been principal investigator for research grants totalling around £33million. 

Staff Representatives

profile imageKatherine Fawcett

  • Board of Governors –  Elected Professional Support Staff Governor
  • Academic Board – Faculty Aligned Staff Representative Member

  • Employment and Finance Committee - Observer

Katherine Fawcett has been on the Board of Northumbria University since December 2021. Katherine is the Faculty Registrar aligned to the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences (including Pathway provision and Northumbria Language Centre) as part of the University’s Student, Library and Academic Services (SLAS) portfolio. 

Katherine joined the University in 2006 working initially in the Newcastle Business School and brings 15 years experience of working at Northumbria in both her immediate role and across faculties and services, through the leadership of and contribution to multiple cross-university team projects and initiatives focused on improving experiences and ways of working. 

Katherine represents Faculty-Aligned Professional Support teams on the University Academic Board alongside holding the role of Foundation Governor at a regional Primary School. She is an experienced mentor, supporting the Aurora Women’s leadership Programme, with a real desire to help colleagues and as a recent Northumbria Graduate on the Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship Master in Business Administration she holds a recent, real-life student experience and relevant leadership study and knowledge.  


 John Taylor

  • Board of Governors – Elected Academic Staff Governor

John Taylor has been on the Board of Northumbria University since December 2018, having served two previous terms as academic staff Governor between 2007 and 2011.

Please see John Taylor's staff profile page here

Academic Board Representatives 

Professor Libby Orme

  • Board of Governors – Academic Staff Representative Member

Libby is an Associate Professor of Learning and Teaching, and Deputy Head of the Department of Psychology.

Her doctoral thesis investigated the integration of long-term and short-term visual memory. Since then, much of her research in psychology has focused on how novel visual information is grouped in memory to reduce information load, the cognitive processes involved and the ERP components associated with encoding and retrieval of such material. 

As a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Libby primarily engages in research related to learning and teaching. She has a strong interest in student community and wellbeing, the use of technology in higher education and academic staff development. Libby is programme leader for the BSc Psychology programme at Kaplan in Singapore, runs the second year undergraduate quantitative laboratory skills module and teaches Individual Differences on the MSc Psychology via Distance Learning.

Libby Orme has been on the Board of Northumbria University since November 2021.

For further information, please see Libby's staff profile page here.

Student Representatives

Emma Collier

  • Board of Governors – Student Representative Member 
  • Strategic Performance Committee- Student Representative Member

Emma is the SU President 21/22 and sits on the Board of Governors as a student representative. She represents students and their Northumbria education, particularly at an Undergraduate level. She leads a team of 24 representatives from all Departments and Faculties to ensure the student voice is heard across the University.

Liv Bird

  • Board of Governors- Student Representative Member
  • Employment and Finance Committee-Observer

Liv Bird is Vice President of Education at Northumbria Student's Union and sits on the Board of Governors as a student representative. She works alongside Northumbria University to ensure that all students are given the chance to reach their full academic potential and enjoy their time at Northumbria while doing so.

Secretary to Board of Governors

Georgina Bailes is Secretary to the Board of Governors

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