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University Council member profiles

  • return to Membership for a full list of council members and constituency

Denise Jagger

  • Pro Chancellor, Chair of Council

Council - Denise Jagger


Denise Jagger is a partner with international law firm Eversheds. Originally from Yorkshire, Denise studied law at Warwick University before undertaking postgraduate EU Studies at the University of Nice, France. Denise qualified as a solicitor and in her early career practised as a corporate finance lawyer in a major London law firm before embarking upon a career in industry. Denise was Company Secretary, General Counsel and a Director of Asda Stores during its rapid growth period and remained with the business once part of US retailer, Wal Mart.

Denise now divides her time between Eversheds where she focuses on client service and a portfolio of non executive appointments. She stepped down from her role as Chairman of the York Museums Trust in September 2012 and was also formerly a member of both the Council and Court at Leeds University. Denise has been a member of Court at the University of York since 2009 and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Leeds Metropolitan University in July 2013.

Denise is married with two sons and lives in York.

Philip Carpenter

  • Pro Chancellor

Council - Philip Carpenter

Philip Carpenter is by background a publisher for Higher Education with an interest in the ways in which publishing and digital technologies can support the development of teaching, learning and research to enhance student outcomes and enable the impact of the research community. 

After leaving Oxford University, where he was awarded the Beddington Prize for English, he joined Blackwell Publishers in 1979, where he published extensively across the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Following the merger with Blackwell's sister company in Science and Medicine in 2000, he took responsibility for the company's combined book publishing across the whole academic spectrum for the global market, including particularly its development in the United States and Asia.  When John Wiley Inc. acquired Blackwell Publishing in 2007 he took on the leadership of the combined journal and book publishing of the merged company in the Social Sciences and Humanities.  He subsequently became Senior Vice President for Wiley's journal programme, then in 2014 Executive Vice President, Research  with responsibility for all the company's digital products and services for the global research community.

He has taken an active interest in how the publishing industry can support universities and governments in the development of Higher Education and served on the Board of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers from 2013 to 2017.  He remains active in the field of publishing and related technologies, serving as an adviser and consultant to a number of organisations.


Professor Charlie Jeffery

  • Vice-Chancellor & President


Professor Charlie Jeffery has been the Vice-Chancellor & President at the University since September 2019.  Prior to his appointment he was Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Edinburgh, a role he  served with distinction since 2014. Prior to that, he was Vice-Principal (Public Policy) at the University of Edinburgh, and he has been Professor of Politics at Edinburgh since 2004.

Professor Saul Tendler

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

Council - Saul Tendler

Professor Tendler was appointment as the University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost from September 2015.  

Professor Tendler gained a BSc in Pharmacy at the University of Manchester in 1982 and was awarded a PhD from the University of Aston in 1986. From 1986-1988 he was a Medical Research Council Training Fellow at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, before being appointed to a Lectureship at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham. He was subsequently promoted to Reader and Professor of Biophysical Chemistry in 1998. From 1999 to 2003, Professor Tendler was Dean of the University of Nottingham's Graduate School. For the next six years he headed Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy before becoming a Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2009.

Professor Tendler has significant experience of research and technology transfer. He was a founding director of Molecular Profiles Ltd. His research has resulted in more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, the award of a DSc and has been recognised through a number of prizes. He has served on many funding council and research council boards and committees and was Chair of the MRC/BBSRC/EPSRC Discipline Hopping Panel. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and was designated a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 2000.


Professor John Robinson

  • elected by and from Senate

Professor John Robinson is an electronic engineer and most of his research contributions have been in image and video processing and analysis. He is best known for is predictive coding. In the early 1980s he designed the hardware for the world’s first Hybrid-DPCM codec and thirty years on his algorithms and code for Adaptive Prediction Tree compression are used in many mobile phone applications.

He has been a Professor in York’s Department of Electronics since 2000 and was its Head from 2007 to 2011. He is currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Students.

Immediately before coming to York he held an Industrial Research Chair at Memorial University of Newfoundland and previously worked for the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Bell-Northern Research Ltd., Verdun, Quebec, Canada; and Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd., Basildon, UK. 

John has postgraduate degrees in engineering from The University of Essex, and in the humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland. As a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, a Chartered Engineer and a Professional Engineer he serves on various boards and committees associated with his profession.




Chris Thompson

  • Pro-Chancellor
  • Treasurer

Council - Chris Thompson

Chris is a chartered accountant who was Chief Financial Officer at the University of Nottingham from 2007 to 2013, where he was responsible for finance, procurement, IT and research administration. His career has largely been spent in the retail and food manufacturing sectors. After working for KPMG for 10 years at their Newcastle and London offices, he went on to work in senior financial positions in a number of retailers, including Asda and Woolworths before joining the Co-operative movement where he worked for eight years. During this time he was responsible for the management of a number of large businesses in the funerals, pharmacy, retail, distribution and manufacturing sectors. Chris is a non-executive director of Harrogate District NHS Foundation Trust, where he also chairs the Audit Committee, and is also a director of Nevill Holt Opera Limited. Chris is married with 4 children and lives in Harrogate.

Professor Duncan Petrie

  • elected by and from Senate

 Council - Duncan Petrie

Duncan Petrie joined the new Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media at the University of York in 2009 and has since played a key role in its development and expansion. He was deputy head from 2014 and became Head of Department in January 2018.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh where he gained an MA and then a PhD in Sociology, Duncan became Research Officer at the British Film Institute in 1990. Five years later he took up a senior lectureship in the Department of English at the University of Exeter, where he also established and directed the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture, a public museum and research facility. In 2004 Duncan became a Professor and Head of the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Duncan’s research has focused on various aspects of British, Scottish and New Zealand film history, Scottish culture and identity, the history of cinematography and the development of film schools and moving image education. He is the author or co-author of eight monographs and has edited a further ten books. Since 2011 he has been co-principal editor of the Journal of British Cinema and Television. His most recent research project was ‘Transformation and Tradition in Sixties British Cinema’, funded by the AHRC.

Having worked closely with external industry partners at the BFI, Duncan subsequently chaired the South West Media Development Agency, was a trustee of the South West Film and Television Archive, a board member of South West Screen and served on the Scottish Screen Lottery Panel.    


Professor Neil Audsley

  • elected by and from Senate
 Council - Neil Audsley
Professor Neil Audsley is Head of the Computer Science Department since 2017, having been led strategic planning the renewal the Department since 2016 as Incoming Head of Department. 
Professor Audsley graduated from the University of York in 1988 with a BSc in Computer Science, and in 1993 with a PhD. During this time, he spent a year at GEC and at the Electricity Council Research Centre. From 1993 he worked as a postdoctoral researcher within the Computer Science Department, working extensively with industry. He was subsequently appointed to a Senior Lectureship within the Department in 2000. Following this, he was promoted to Reader in 2011, and to a personal chair in 2013. 
His research interests are in the broad area of high performance real-time embedded systems, including both software and hardware aspects. This research has attracted funding from UKRI, EU and UK industry, and has resulted in over 150 peer reviewed publications and a significant number of industrial reports. 


Lindsey Fussell

  • Deputy Treasurer

Council - Lindsey Fussell

Lindsey Fussell is Group Director of Consumer and External Relations at Ofcom, the independent telecoms and media regulator.  Lindsey is responsible for leading Ofcom’s consumer policy and enforcement functions and also represents Ofcom internationally. 
Prior to joining Ofcom in April 2016, Lindsey’s career was mostly in the Civil Service.  From 2012 to 2016, she was the Director of Public Services at HM Treasury, responsible for oversight of public spending on defence and security, education and criminal justice.  She is a qualified accountant. 
Lindsey joined the Council at the University of York in July 2018.


Richard Sommers

  • lay member

Council - Richard Sommers

Richard enjoyed a 29 year career with the Barclays Group, and held senior positions in retail and commercial banking, including Chief Financial Officer for Barclaycard and Risk Director of Retail Financial Services. For 8 years, he was Treasurer and Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, a college in the University of Oxford, before retiring in 2016, and is now an Emeritus Fellow. As a non-executive director, he served on the board of the West Bromwich Building Society between 2009 and 2018, chairing the Risk Committee. Currently he is a non-executive director of Al Rayan Bank PLC, where he chairs the Risk Committee and is a member of the Audit Committee. 

Richard is married to Judy, has two sons and lives in Devon. He is keen on sports, particularly cricket and rugby; his playing days are long over, so he watches, scores and helps with the administration of his local teams in Sidmouth!

Judith McNicol

  • lay member

Judith McNicol joined the Council of the University as a lay member from 01 November 2019. Judith is the Director of the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York – a role which she has held since 2017. The NRM is part of the prestigious Science Museums Group (SMG) and Judith is embarking on a transformation of the Museum as it shifts from a social history to a STEM focus. Prior to this role Judith has held group-wide senior posts in the wider SMG, including as Director of People and Culture, Change Director and Commercial Development Director.

With a commitment to outreach and opening access, Judith herself completed a Foundation Degree (FdSc) in Countryside Management as a mature student from Bishop Burton College.

Judith has lived in Yorkshire for twenty years and her commitment to the future success and growth of the City and its major institutions, including the University and the NRM, will be an asset to the work of Council.


Amanda Nevill

  • lay member

Amanda Nevill, CBE joined the Council of the University as a lay member from 01 November 2019. 

Amanda joined the BFI in 2003 and has led its complete transformation into a major organisation valued by the UK industry and recognised as influential internationally. Today it is the lead body for film, tv and the moving image, a Royal Chartered  charity and a distributor of National Lottery Funds. Amanda’s focus is on nurturing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences. She pioneered the development of the VOD platform BFI Player, launched the BFI Film Academy and BFI Film Audience Network across the UK, transformed BFI Southbank into one of London’s coolest arts venues and ensured the BFI London Film Festival is one of the most significant film festivals in the world. She led the development of an entirely new archive strategy for collections of the moving image and is particularly proud of the influential and innovative work for which the staff at the BFI National Archive are now applauded for internationally.She sits on the Government’s Creative Industries Council, the Creative Industry’s Trade and Investment board.

Before the BFI, Amanda was Head of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (National Media Museum) for nine years, also serving as one of the Executive Directors of the National Museum of Science & Industry. She was the Government Expert Advisor on photographic exports. Before that she was CEO of the Royal Photographic Society.

Amanda is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Bradford University, an Honorary Fellowship from Bradford College and an honorary degree of Doctor from the University of York in 2015 and Norwich University of the Arts 2018. Amanda received the Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award 2018, and the Barclays Business WFTV Award in 2016. She was awarded a CBE in 2015.

She has two daughters and 5 grandchildren which, she says, trumps all the above. She retains close ties with Yorkshire where she grew up, and where her extended family still live.

Professor Simon Best

  • lay member

Professor Simon Best OBE, FRSE joins the University Council as a lay member from 01 November 2019. Simon is a life sciences and biotechnology entrepreneur, and is currently Lead Independent Director at the pharmaceutical company Liminal Biosciences, which dedicated to healing conditions such as fibrosis, after seven years as CEO and Chair of its Board. Simon’s track record in life sciences commercialisation has seen him founding and developing substantial ventures. These include Ardana, Zeneca Plant Science, Evofem in the United States which focuses on products supporting women’s sexual and reproductive health and Roslin Biomed, spun out from The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh. Simon was Chair of commercialisation for Edinburgh BioQuarter from 2010-15.

Simon is an alumnus of the University of York (BMus 1977), holds an MBA from London Business School, and was awarded an honorary degree from York (2004). Simon was awarded the OBE in 2008 for services to the pharmaceutical industry. Simon has been awarded such accolades as Science and Technology Venturer of the Year (1999) Technology Pioneer of the Year (2000). Simon is a Visiting Professor of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

Building on his first love of music, Simon started his career as music talent-spotter and started a record label, working with the 1980s electropop-synth band, The Human League.


Professor John Loughhead

  • lay member

Professor John Loughhead CB OBE FREng FTSE joins the Council of the University from 01 November 2019. John is a specialist in industrial research at the interface of industry and academia, and has been Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) since 2016. Prior to this he has held role as Chief Scientific Adviser at the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and Corporate Vice-President of Technology and IP at global transport company, Alstom.

He is Past-President of the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and its Australian counterpart, and was made a Fellow of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in 2009, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Cardiff.

John has strong regional roots, and lives in West Yorkshire, with his wife having spent her entire career working in Yorkshire.


Dr Philip Rycroft

  • lay member


Dr Philip Rycroft CB joins the Council of the University as a lay member with effect from 26 February 2020 for an initial two-year period of registration.  Philip has had a distinguished career as a senior civil servant, holding senior roles in both the Scottish and the UK Governments.  He was responsible for Higher Education policy in Scotland between 2006 and 2009 and was Director General in the office of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg between 2012 and 2015.  Philip’s most recent role was as Head of the UK Governance Group in the Cabinet Office, with responsibility for constitutional and devolution issues, and as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU).  He left the civil service at the end of March 2019 and is now a non-executive director, independent consultant and academic.  Philip was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in 2014 for services to the UK’s devolved and coalition governments.  His own academic background is as an historian; he completed a Doctorate of Philosophy (DPhil) at the University of Oxford in the late 1980s on the local social and economic history of part of the West Riding of Yorkshire in the 18th and 19th centuries, in the course of which he visited York to use the archives of the then Borthwick Institute of Historical Research.

In September 2019, Philip took up a distinguished visiting fellowship at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, and holds an Honorary Professorship and an advisor to the Principal position at Edinburgh University.  His current research interests are in the governance and politics of the United Kingdom.


Briana Pegado

  • lay member

Briana Pegado joined the Council of the University as a lay member from 01 July 2020. 

Briana’s expertise and experience are in, and across, the fields of education, social enterprise and entrepreneurship, design thinking the creative industry, and additionally through her leadership experience, consultancy, business and events management and agile approaches. In September 2019 she was appointed Chief Executive of Creative Edinburgh which provides careers, advocacy and events support for Edinburgh’s creative community, across all disciplines and activities. Briana was President of Edinburgh Students’ Association from 2014-15 (its Students’ Union) - the first ever Black female President in the Association’s 130-year history. Her many achievements include as:

  • Founder and Director of Edinburgh Student Arts Festival (ESAF), an award-winning social enterprise founded in 2014
  • Named as one of Scotland’s 30 under 30 Inspiring Young Womenby YWCA Scotland in 2017
  • A recipient of the Sundstrom Scholarship for Women Leaders to support her MBA at Central St Martins and Birkbeck.

Briana now lives in Edinburgh, hails from the United States and was schooled in Washington DC. 


Rachel Curwen

  • elected by and from non-academic staff

    Council - Rachel Curwen‌elected by ‌and from non-academic staff

Rachel Curwen started her time at the University of York as an undergraduate in the Department of Biology in 1994. A PhD and Wellcome Trust-funded postdoctoral positions followed, where she used mass spectrometry to study the secreted and surface proteins of human parasites with the aim of identifying new vaccine and drug targets.

She moved into research management as a Research Strategy and Policy Officer in 2008, again at the University of York, where her primary responsibility was as Business Systems Manager for a new Research Information System.  She also acted as Operations Manager for the UoY REF submission and was seconded to HEFCE as a REF Panel Secretary 2011-12. In January 2014, she moved into the Research and Innovation Development Team, becoming the first overarching Head of Team in 2015.  She has overseen a doubling in size of the team and its embedding as a successful part of the University’s research support infrastructure. Among other things, the team has responsibility for supporting the Research Themes and Champions, oversight of substantial research priming funds, relationship management of a wide variety of non-academic partners, supporting the University’s approach to GCRF and the development of multiple multi-million pound research applications each year.  Rachel particularly enjoys facilitating interdisciplinary discussions of new research ideas.

Away from work, Rachel lives in York with her partner and three lively teenage girls.  She is a very keen cook and is currently considering running a supper club from her home!


Patrick O'Donnell

  • President, Students' Union

Patrick is the President of YUSU, the York University Students' Union. This means that he is the lead representative for all students at the University. This requires him to sit on a variety of University committees to ensure the student voice is heard. 

Purnur Altay

  • President of the Graduate Students' Association‌‌

Purnur Altay

Purnur is the President of Graduate Students' Association (GSA).Her key role is to voice the opinions of all postgraduate students in all senior level committees of the University.