Board of Trustees

Our trustees are unpaid board directors, taking collective decisions on policy and strategy and providing oversight of the executive team.

We have 10 trustees, and they are legally responsible for overseeing the work towards our charitable objectives.

Allan Leighton, chair

Allan Leighton

Allan is the chair of the following Boards: Co-operative Group, Allbright Group Limited, C&A Cofra Holding AG, Simba Sleep, Northern Bloc Ice Cream Limited, and Element Materials Technology.  He was formerly the CEO of Asda plc, chairman of the Royal Mail, Pandora AS and has also held a number of non-executive chairmanships including, Dyson Ltd and BskyB Group plc.  Allan was also chair of Race for Opportunity and an ambassador for Prince Charles in Business in the Community. Allan attended the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard and has an honorary degree from Cranfield, was awarded a Doctor of Letters from York St John University and an honorary fellowship from the University of Lancashire. He is a keen canal runner.

Dame Jenny Abramsky

Jenny Abramsky

Jenny was appointed as a trustee in September 2016, and was appointed deputy chair in September 2017.  She is chair of the Trust’s Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee. Jenny is chair of the Royal Academy of Music and served six years as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund/National Heritage Memorial Fund, among other voluntary roles. She is the chair of Friends of Kenwood House. She has also been the BBC’s director of radio and music after running the BBC’s 24 hours news service.

Nigel Annett CBE

Nigel Annett TrusteeNigel was appointed as a trustee in September 2016. He is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee and chair of the infrastructure Committee. Nigel is currently a non-executive director of the Principality Building Society, and a trustee of Community Foundation in Wales. He is a former managing director of Welsh Water and is co-founder of Glas Cymru, the not-for-profit company that successfully took over the ownership of Welsh Water back in 2001, a move which resulted in the water industry in Wales being owned on behalf of its customers.

Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon

Ben was appointed trustee in September 2014 and is the chair of the Remuneration Committee. He is chair of Heal & Son Ltd and a Trustee of United Learning. Previously he was chief executive of Mothercare plc for nine years, and SVP and managing director of the Disney Store Europe and Asia-Pacific. Ben was also non-executive director of Britvic plc and of St Ives plc. Prior to that he had senior management positions in WHSmith plc and L'Oreal SA in the UK, USA and France. Ben has an MBA from INSEAD and is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Janet Hogben

Janet Hogben

Janet was appointed as a trustee in September 2016. She is a member of the Trust’s Joint Council & Trustees Appointments Committee and also sits on the Remuneration Committee. Janet was the chief people officer at EDF Energy, having previously worked at BP, where she held a variety of roles, and then at Seagram and at Diageo, leading on a number of global strategy and business specific HR positions. 

Sir Chris Kelly

Chris was appointed as a trustee in September 2017 and chairs the Audit & Risk Committee. He is a senior independent director on the Board of the Co-op Group and chairs its insurance subsidiary. He also chairs the Oversight Board of the Office for Budget Responsibility. He has in the past chaired the NSPCC, the Kings Fund, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Committee on Standards in Public Life, among other bodies. Before that, he was a civil servant, mainly in HM Treasury but subsequently as head of policy at the then Department of Social Security and finally as permanent secretary to the Department of Health.

Jennie Price CBE

Jennie is a lawyer by training and was CEO of Sport England from 2007 until 2018. During that period the organisation’s strategy moved towards a broader sport and physical activity agenda with an emphasis on behaviour change. She also commissioned the multi-award winning This Girl Can campaign, and was awarded a CBE for services to sport in 2017. Jennie has also led organisations in the environmental and construction sectors. She now chairs the Independent Board overseeing integrity in tennis and acts as an expert advisor on international sports policy. In 2019 she was also appointed as a Forestry Commissioner. Jennie is a member of the Trust’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Tim Reeve

Tim Reeve

Tim was appointed as a trustee in September 2016.  He is deputy director and chief operating officer of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world’s leading museum of art and design, since 2013. Tim has overall responsibility for the operation of the museum, including the delivery of a world-class visitor experience. He also led the V&A’s support of China Merchant’s Group in the creation of the V&A Galleries within a new design museum in Shenzhen, China, which opened to great acclaim in December 2017. Tim is closely involved in establishing V&A East, a dynamic new museum in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. Before joining the V&A, Tim was girector of Historic Properties at English Heritage. He is a graduate in Ancient History from Royal Holloway, University of London and studied at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL) and INSEAD on its International Executive Programme. He is also a trustee of 'Paintings in Hospitals'.

Sarah Whitney

Sarah was appointed a trustee in September 2018.  She is a chartered accountant and real estate specialist. Her executive career was spent at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she was a corporate finance partner; at DTZ (now Cushman & Wakefield), where she was head of the Consulting & Research business and served on the DTZ Global Executive Committee; and at CBRE, where she headed the Government & Infrastructure team and served on the UK board. More recently, Sarah was one of the founder directors of Metro Dynamics, a specialist consultancy focused on city growth and development. She is a member of the Council of University College London, where she also serves on the Investment and Finance Committees; a trustee of the Land Trust, where she chairs the Audit Committee and is a member of the Investment Committee; and a senior visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge where she teaches planning, growth and regeneration at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

Susan Wilkinson

Sue was appointed as a trustee in September 2017, is a member of the Remuneration Committee and chair of the Living Waterways Awards.  She is a commissioner at Historic England, trustee of English Heritage, deputy chair of the Churches Conservation Trust and a board director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA). She is also a trustee at the Medical Research Foundation. Sue has extensive experience in the not-for-profit and tourism sectors and was a board director at the National Trust until the end of 2016 with responsibility for membership, fundraising, volunteering and tourism.  Until 2018 Sue was a trustee at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich and she previously had a number of non-executive roles with Visit Britain, Visit England and the Institute of Fundraising.

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Last date edited: 28 December 2021