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Our Board members represent a wide range of interests, within higher education as well as other areas. Some members are appointed for their experience of industry, commerce, finance or the practice of a profession, and we have two student members. We also have members appointed by bodies representing UK higher education institutions and by the higher education funding councils.

The Board is responsible for developing and overseeing the strategic direction, policy development, finances, and performance of QAA. It operates according to a Code of Best Practice.

Code of Best Practice for QAA Board Members

Publication date: 15 Mar 2023

Chair of the Board

Professor Simon Gaskell

Professor Simon Gaskell is Chair of the QAA Board. He holds degrees from the University of Bristol and has had an academic career (with multiple industrial connections), both in the UK and US.

Professor Nic Beech

Professor Nic Beech is Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University, having previously been a Vice-Principal of the University of St Andrews and Provost of the University of Dundee.

Fazal Dad

Dr Fazal Dad has been the Principal and Chief Executive of Blackburn College since January 2019. Before this, he gained over 30 years' experience in further education, working in three different FE institutions in the West Midlands.

Dr Vanessa Davies

Dr Vanessa Davies held the position of Director General of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) for nine years before retiring in January 2020.

Phil Deans

Phil Deans is President and Vice Chancellor of Richmond American University London. Before this, he served as the Provost of Richmond from 2011-19, where he led the successful application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers, and registration with the Office for Students.

Sara Drake

Sara is Chief Executive at the Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA). Sara studied law at the University of Cambridge and has spent much of her career working in the media sector for both publishing and television companies and as a writers’ agent.

Chloe Field

Chloe has been Vice President of Higher Education at the National Union of Students since July 2022.

Alex Fraser

Alex Fraser joined The London Institute of Banking & Finance (formerly ifs University College) as Chief Executive in March 2015 from Cass Business School, City University London, where he was Chief Operating Officer for six years.

Professor Rachid Hourizi

Professor Rachid Hourizi is the Director of the Institute of Coding (IoC) since its launch in January 2018.

Professor David Jones

Professor David Jones is Pro Vice-Chancellor Queens University Belfast.

Xenia Levantis

Xenia Levantis is a postgraduate student at the University of Bristol, where she is completing a 1+3 PhD in Social Policy.

Professor Karl Leydecker

Professor Karl Leydecker FRSE has been Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen since March 2019. Previously he was Vice-Principal Learning and Teaching at the University of Dundee. His disciplinary background is German and Comparative Literature.

Professor Sue Rigby

Professor Sue Rigby has been the Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University since January 2018. Previously, she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Development at the University of Lincoln where she was responsible for the student journey from application to alumni activities.

Professor John Sawkins

Professor John Sawkins is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Deputy Principal) Learning and Teaching at Heriot-Watt University. His background is as an economist with research interests in the economic regulation of the water industry, with particular reference to water pricing, affordability and debt.

Professor Oliver Turnbull

Professor Oliver Turnbull is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Neuropsychology at Bangor University.

Peter Vermeulen

Peter Vermeulen is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the University of Bristol. He started his career in audit and assurance with PricewaterhouseCoopers, after which he worked in both the banking sector and higher education.

Craig Watkins

Craig has been CEO and Managing Director of Kantar Public UK since February 2019