Our Ambassadors

Our Ambassadors are members of a highly valued group of philanthropists who genuinely appreciate the role that Lancaster University has to play. Specifically, our Ambassadors support students to maximise the value of their studies, regardless of background or financial means. They support the growth of our research capabilities so that we can deliver more life-changing outcomes and they help us ensure that our campus reflects our reputation as one of the best universities in the world.

Guy Leach

LUMS Accounting and Finance, County College 1985

Guy joined Serco in 1995 as Director Corporate Strategy to develop Serco’s response to the Private Finance Initiative and provide input in to group accounting and funding decisions. Prior to joining Serco, Guy worked for Deloitte & Touche for ten years. In 1997, Guy assumed responsibilities for the Group’s insurance and pension and became a Non-Executive Director overseeing the Group’s Private Finance Initiative Division. In 1999, Guy set up Serco’s Mergers and Acquisitions team which he continues to lead.

Jane Bierwirth

Politics and International Relations, Bowland College 1973

Jane has been in the executive search industry for 18 years, and is presently a Managing Director at RSR Partners in New York City.  She recruits trustees, advisory board members, and senior executives for institutional investors and family offices. 

Upon graduation from Lancaster University with a degree in politics she returned to the United States and earned an MBA from The Wharton School  of the University of Pennsylvania.  Jane began her career at the Chemical Banking Corporation, where she worked for more than 15 years, primarily in leveraged finance, private banking, and in the Chairman’s office as his assistant for two years.  From 1992 to 1998, she lived and worked in Portland, Oregon where her husband was the superintendent of the public schools.

She currently resides with her husband in Bronxville, NY.  Her two grown daughters are educators living in Portland, Oregon and New York City, and her son is a real estate investor living in Chicago.   

Reza Ali

Business Studies and Finance, Furness College 2003

As Director of New Ventures, Reza is responsible for the overall delivery of ACCA’s educational delivery to support ACCA’s learning providers, universities and students as well as ACCA-X, our pilot initiative to provide digital learning to students. Prior to his current role, Reza worked across a number of different roles within ACCA and was previously the Head of Emerging Markets Asia, where he led ACCA’s developments across a number of markets including South Korea, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Brunei and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). He was also seconded to ACCA’s Strategy team to support the development of ACCA’s strategy to 2020.

Reza was also previously an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) within the Assurance and Business Advisory Services (ABAS) in London and later became the Head of Finance and Operations at a brokerage firm in Singapore that dealt primarily with government agencies in the South Asian subcontinent.

Reza graduated with a First Class (Honours) in Business Studies and Finance from Lancaster University where he was the recipient of the Philip Andrews Memorial Prize for Economics. He is also an ACCA member.

Reza speaks regularly to ACCA’s key stakeholders on key economic trends, learning and technology, sustainability, climate change, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), accounting and policy updates and sustainability matters.  He also wrote a booklet in 2008 entitled “Sustainability Reporting Handbook for Singaporean Companies” to encourage sustainability reporting within corporate Singapore. Reza’s other interest include farming (coconuts and mangoes!) in Tamil Nadu, South India where he is from and blogs regularly at http://zodakreza.wordpress.com.

Cathy Turner

Economics And Politics, County College 1984

Cathy is a Non-Executive Director of Old Mutual Wealth, Countrywide PLC and Aldermore, all of which she Chairs the Remuneration Committees.  She is a Council Member of the Royal College of Art, a Vice President of UNICEF UK and a former Board Member of the Institute of Financial Services.

Prior to her plural career, Cathy held several senior executive roles in banking over a 15 year period. Most recently she was the Chief Administrative Officer for Lloyds Banking Group PLC. Previously she was a member of the Executive Committee of Barclays PLC where she had responsibility for HR, Corporate Affairs, Strategy and Brand and Marketing. Earlier in her career at Barclays PLC she was the Investor Relations Director.

Cathy’s earlier career was in consultancy where she was a Practice Leader and Consultant in several major audit and consultancy firms, over a 10 year period. Cathy is an Economics graduate from Lancaster University

Lorraine Softleigh-Moore

LLM LLB (Hons), Lonsdale College 1986 to 1989

I spent three wonderful years at Lancaster University as an undergraduate. My choice of university was determined by the variety of options on the LLB degree programme, as well as the distance from London and my parents! When I came to visit I immediately fell in love with the campus and the great atmosphere, despite it raining the whole day and missing the coach back to London.

I lived at Lonsdale College during my first year, as the Law Department in 1986 was located there and it meant I could attend my lectures with minimum effort. I enjoyed my degree immensely and found as a law student I was working hard from day one. The weight of the work did not prevent me from taking part in a range of extra-curricular activities and I would encourage every student to try something new. I made life-long friends at the university and was even fortunate enough to meet my husband there, so I can certainly confirm that my time at Lancaster left a lasting impression.

I always believed that law was an excellent discipline as grounding for a range of careers and when I left Lancaster I was still not sure whether I was going to teach or pursue a career in law. As a consequence, I hedged my bets and completed the Law Society Finals at the College of Law in Chester to allow me to become a solicitor. Then a year later, I elected to do a Postgraduate degree in Company and Commercial Law at the University of London, as a path to becoming a lecturer. However, once my post graduate studies were at an end I decided to embark on a career as a solicitor. I began as an Articled Clerk (showing my age!) for the commercial firm Rosenblatt and once qualified I moved and specialised in Commercial Litigation. Later, after starting a family I decided to change practice areas and I am now a Property lawyer. As a Partner for ten years I have trained solicitors, trainees and paralegals thereby using my “teaching gene” and have therefore had the best of both worlds.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to be an Ambassador and support students to maximise the value of their studies regardless of their background or financial means. I was the first female in my family to go to university and my law degree gave me the confidence and ability to go out into the world and make a successful career and life for myself, my family and others. Over the years I have supported charities and schools to improve the lives of those relying upon the services they provide. When I was asked to be involved in supporting this initiative I agreed it could bring about life changing outcomes and was keen to play my part.

Tom McNerney

Operational Research, County College 1986

Tom has over 25 years of experience in financial markets, financial data and consultancy. Following completion of his M. Sc. in operational research at Lancaster, Tom worked for 2 years as a consultant building financial models for measuring advertising efficiency and pricing interest rate options. He then entered the finance industry where he spent 10 years in the exotic derivatives business as a quantitative modeller, deal structurer and trader at SG Warburg and Barclays. This was followed by a stint as Head of Market Risk Management for Europe and Asia for Toronto Dominion Bank. In 2002 Tom co-founded Markit Ltd, a financial data and services company. Tom was instrumental in particular in building the quantitative foundations and operations of Markit's credit derivatives data and derivatives valuation businesses. Markit floated on NASDAQ in 2014 at a valuation in excess of $4bn.

Tom now works with Semantic Evolution, an AI/technology company which builds models to extract structured data from documents, with True Global Ventures, an angel investment fund, and is an active international property investor.

Paul Taylor

Marketing, County College 1983

Paul Taylor is president and chief executive officer of Fitch Group, a leading provider of essential financial information and services to the global financial markets.  Mr Taylor was appointed to this position in April 2012 and is based in London.  Mr Taylor also serves on the Hearst Corporation Executive Committee.  Hearst is the majority owner of Fitch Group and is a diversified media, information and services company with more than 360 businesses.

Mr Taylor previously served as president of Fitch Ratings, the group’s largest business and a leading provider of credit ratings, commentary and research.  Prior to this appointment in 2010, he spent two years as global head of structured finance ratings, presiding over numerous ratings reforms following the 2007 collapse of the U.S. housing market.  Mr Taylor has held a variety of analytical leadership positions at Fitch Ratings, including global head of sovereign, public finance, corporate, and financial institution ratings.  He also headed the agency's operations in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Mr Taylor joined Fitch predecessor firm Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. in 1994 as senior vice president in charge of European ratings activities.  His final role prior to DCR’s merger with Fitch Ratings in 2000 was executive vice president of DCR International, where he oversaw all rating activities outside of North America and chaired the international group credit and criteria committee.

Prior to joining DCR in July 1994, Mr Taylor was a director and head of European structured finance for Standard & Poor's ratings group.  He began his career in corporate lending at Lloyds Bank Limited.

Mr Taylor has a BS in management and marketing from the University of Lancaster, where he is an active alumnus and member of the dean’s council.

Simon Langelier

Operational Research, Cartmel College 1980

Simon is a highly experienced senior executive with a long and successful career with Philip Morris International. His expertise in working in multicultural and multinational environments together with his effective leadership and people motivation skills have led to the achievement of ambitious results in diverse businesses in very different markets.

 He served in leadership capacities with Phillip Morris International (PMI) and subsidiaries for over 30 years, most recently as the managing director of Coltabaco (Philip Morris Colombia) in Bogota from 2010-11. During his career, Simon has worked and been based in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Today, Simon is a member of the board of Imperial Brands PLC as an Independent Non-Executive Director. He is also Chairman of PharmaCielo Ltd a Canadian company working in the field of medicinal cannabis.

Bruce Callander

JYA, Furness College 1983

I am President of Sweet & Baker, a full-service San Francisco based Insurance broker. Before joining Sweet & Baker I worked in commercial real estate finance for McDonnell Finance Corporation, placing multi-million dollar loans on commercial property on the Pacific Coast. My previous business experience also included the coordination and budgeting of real estate syndications for a large property management company. I am active in the San Francisco non-profit community, currently serving on the Board of the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco. Previously, I have served on the Boards of Katherine Delmar Burke School, The Guardsmen, The University Club of San Francisco, and BRAVO! CLUB San Francisco Opera. I am a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in Economics, including an emphasis in Computer Science and I spent my JYA year at Lancaster University.

Lancaster is a very special part of my College memories.

Hamza Jamil

LUMS, MSc Management Sciences 2000

Hamza is the co-founder of On Call People in the USA and Director at Firewood in the UK.  At Firewood, he advises clients on commercial strategy and contract management. Hamza has personally worked with clients such as Experian, France Telecom, Oracle, GNER, NHS England and the Department of Health.

Hamza started his career at British Airways, leading change programmes and launched an industry first: using SMS to inform passengers of flight delays.  He brings experience from multiple industries in both public and private sectors, and has held senior roles in: programme management; sales; commercial and contract management; and account and relationship management.

Andrew Rollerson

Computer Science, Cartmel College 1975

Lancaster University, even in its early days was a vibrant complex multi-faceted society, enclosed in its own mist-enshrouded draughty cultural pressure cooker on a hill outside the city.  In the Great Hall, Leyla rubbed shoulders with Die schöne Müllerin, while in the middle of the campus a group of bemused capitalist lackeys (otherwise known as the administration staff) would file out onto the Square as the placard-waving Trotskyists began a sit-in.  It was possible to conduct a respectable pub crawl without even leaving the campus, and there was an opportunity to sample to the delights of coastal living with a year out in Morecambe.

For me Lancaster facilitated the transition from insecure pimply ex-schoolboy to a somewhat more secure and less pimply young adult, newly launched on what as been a very long and fulfilling career.  But the real gain from my years at Lancaster has proved to be much more subtle.

Now as I reach the end of my career, and, aided by a large glass of single malt, I look back wistfully through a life hopefully well-lived.  And I feel a growing sense of indebtedness for the richness with which my experience at Lancaster infused my life, without me realising it at the time.  I am left with a strong sense of being very privileged to have been at Lancaster.

In 1975 I was fortunate enough to win the Colorado Scholarship, which provided a year of postgraduate study at the University of Colorado in Boulder, funded entirely by contributions from American Junior Year Abroad students at Lancaster.  It was a transformational experience, and one made possible by the generosity of others. 

And so the time has arrived for me to give something back, to help to create opportunities for new generations of students, and hopefully to arm them, not with just a vocational meal ticket but with some truly life enhancing experiences attitudes and skills.  I am delighted to be an ambassador for the University, and I hope this initiative is just the start of something really special, something of which every alumnus can be proud.

Lucy Briers

Independent Studies, Cartmel College 1988

Lucy studied theatre and sculpture at Lancaster University from 1985-1988 and then went on to train as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 1991.  Her recent theatre credits include Show Boat at Sheffield Crucible and the New London Theatre, The Seagull and Ivanov at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon, The Aldwych Theatre, London and The Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway, NYC. Lucy also performed her one woman show in London and New York, 'Some Kind of Bliss', written for her by the playwright Samuel Adamson. Recent television credits include Count Arthur Strong, DCI Banks, The Thick Of It, The Night Watch and 2012, although she is still recognised as Mary Bennett in the iconic BBC production of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, despite it being filmed nearly 25 years ago...

Lucy has also enjoyed varied work on radio and providing narration for documentaries; most notably the Channel 4 series Body Shock and two series of ITV's Ladette to Lady. Lucy is thrilled to be a patron of the new Lancaster Playwriting Prize as new writing is a passion for her. There is nothing more exciting for an actor than to be the first person to speak the words of a young playwright and bring the first interpretation of their work to life on stage.

Jeffrey Johnson

JYA, Lonsdale College 1980

I am a partner at Pryor Cashman LLP, a mid-sized law firm based in New York City.  I specialize in the transactional aspects of technology and intellectual property exploitation (patents, trade secrets, trademarks and copyright) and have represented a broad range of clients, from small start-up companies to large, well established companies like Godiva Chocolatier and celebrities like Lady Gaga, in a variety of industries including telecommunications, life sciences, entertainment, digital media and software.  Away from the office, I spend most of my time enjoying my family and outdoor sports, particularly skiing and soccer.  I'm a particularly passionate reader of historical fiction, especially Patrick O'Brian's "Aubrey-Maturin" series.

My best Lancaster memory is a toss-up between enjoying The Men From Uncle, a band consisting of mostly Lonsdale residents who are now long-time friends, Professor Fox's history classes, and being a member of the Rugby League team (who knew there were two kinds of Rugby?)

I support Lancaster University because the University introduced me to so many wonderful people from all over the globe, many of whom I've kept in touch with over the years, and I want to help others do the same thing.

 

Chris Goodwill

LLB, Grizedale College 1983

When I arrived at Lancaster, my plan was to study English Literature, though without any clear sense of where it might lead. In truth, I was just thrilled to have dodged the world of work for a few years. Under the Lancaster system, I 'minored' in Law and Politics in my first year and this enabled me to convert to a Law degree - and this set the course for my professional life.

After leaving, I took an LLM at Cambridge and then qualified as a solicitor, specialising in employment law. It is no coincidence that whilst I was at Lancaster, the head of the Law Department was Peter Wallington, an inspiring employment lawyer. Since 1986, I have been with the same law firm, Clifford Chance. I became a partner in 1995 and global head of employment law in 2003. The firm, which belongs to what (infuriatingly for other firms) is known as the 'Magic Circle', has provided me with an endlessly challenging and highly rewarding career due in part to those at Lancaster who set me on the road to the 'city'.

I also have Lancaster to thank for some enduring friendships. A number of us still meet up occasionally to reminisce and visit old haunts. It takes only a few minutes for us to fall into our old routines and we are soon recounting (and embellishing) our shared experiences as students.

I was very pleased to be asked to be an Ambassador for the University and to have an opportunity to offer a message of support to those debating whether to embark on student life (with all that now entails) and, in particular, whether to apply to Lancaster. My answer is an unequivocal 'yes' to both questions - take the plunge as you may be about to start the best years of your life...

 

Stuart Brinkworth

LLB Law, Fylde College 1997

Stuart is a corporate partner resident in the London office, and he heads up the office's finance practice. He specialises in acting for UK and international lenders (including credit and debt funds), sponsors and bidding consortia on a variety of UK domestic and cross-border leveraged finance transactions. His practice focuses on private equity-backed leveraged buy-outs, management buy-outs/buy-ins, public bids, corporate M&A and recapitalisations Mr Brinkworth also has experience across all elements of the debt capital structure. In addition, he has been at the forefront of the development of unitranche as a funding source in the European leveraged finance market. His sector experience includes healthcare, media, sports, real estate, financial services, business services, retail and leisure.

Stuart is a member of both The Law Society of England & Wales and the New York State Bar Association.  

Mohammed Adaya Salisu

PhD Economics, Bowland College 1990

Mohammed holds a doctorate in economics from Lancaster University, UK. He is currently Economic Adviser to the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which is a multilateral development bank whose mission is to promote comprehensive socio-economic development of the 57 member countries of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Mohammed is also Managing Partner and Chief Economist at Seeds Consulting, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which provides knowledge-based solutions to governmental and non-governmental organisations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Prior to that, Mohammed was the Chief Economist of both Gulf One Investment Bank (Bahrain) and Gulf One Capital (KSA) from 2007-2014, after a brief stint at the African Development Bank (2004-2007) as Principal Research Economist. Mohammed has a long teaching and research career at Lancaster University Management School (1990-2004). He is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and economic reports. His scholarly work in development economics, international business, finance and emerging market economies has contributed tremendously to organisational growth and policy-oriented debates. He has strong research collaborations and partnership with a wide range of reputable organisations, such as the World Bank, United Nations, Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), World Trade Organisation, Centre for European Policy Research (CEPR), African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Gulf Research Centre (GRC), and several research and academic institutions around the globe.

Jianhua Zhang

Biological Sciences, Furness College 1988

I grew up on a collective farm in China, and often went to bed hungry. I always wanted to do something significant to help the village people, the peasants, because I was one of them, and because our lives were really hard.

In 1985, I came from China, to carry out research at Lancaster University to find out how to grow more crops with less water. Northwest and Northern China faces an unprecedented water-shortage crisis, with well over 50% of China’s food production under constant threat of drought. Since returning home, my work has focused on research into water-saving crop production. We have developed some promising water-saving methods which have successfully reduced crop water use by almost half in some areas.

The seeds of these achievements were sown in the labs of Lancaster University many years ago. It was at Lancaster that we discovered mechanisms by which plants can sense the soil drying and reduce their water loss. I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in this effort with talented researchers at Lancaster and it has shaped the course of my life’s work.

We live in challenging times. We already use almost all the world’s arable land to grow crops and now water resources are declining in many parts of the world. It is my hope that through philanthropic support of Food Security research many more students from all around the world – especially from those countries whose food supply is most under threat from limited natural resources – will be able to make their careers in plant science, or the many other disciplines working to ensure a safe supply of food for the world. There are many ways the research can be supported but to have young students to do the work is most important.

My life was changed forever by my time at Lancaster. Please consider giving your support to students who want to learn how to help deliver their countries from the threat of food insecurity in the challenging times that lie ahead. In doing so, you will be helping them to change their lives as they become part of the growing research community dedicated to finding collective solutions that will benefit millions. It could be one of the best investments you ever make.

Stephen Taylor

Accounting and Finance, Furness College 1978

Stephen is a senior Partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu China's national audit and assurance technical department and head of the Deloitte Asia Pacific IFRS centre of excellence based in Hong Kong. Mr Taylor is the former Chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Listing Committee. He is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, where he is also a member of the Professional Standards Monitoring Expert Panel and its Sustainability and Integrated Reporting Advisory Group. Mr Taylor is a member of IFRS Advisory Council the formal advisory body to the Trustees of the IFRS Foundation, an Honorary advisor to the Financial Reporting Council and a member of its Oversight and Operations Committee. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a fellow member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants.

As part of his technical responsibilities Mr. Taylor was the project director on the world bank funded project to help develop accounting standards for the People’s Republic of China and also contributes regularly to professional journals and publications.  He is editor and one of the contributing authors of "Financial Reporting in Hong Kong" a 3,700 + page text book published by CCH.

Joseph Hall of Halls Food Group

Business Administration, Graduate College 2017

Halls Food Group is something of a phoenix. This third-generation family business, founded in Chorley in 1933 and famous in central Lancashire for its pies and other bakery products, nearly ran aground in 2007 when mounting debts led it to go into voluntary liquidation. But when the company’s current MD, Joe Hall, stepped in to buy back the assets, this was the start of a remarkable turn-around. 

10 years on, the company has two retail premises and a corporate catering service, a fleet of 7 mobile shops providing a lunchtime delivery service to workplaces across the whole of Central Lancashire. Its achievements have been marked by a number of awards – including Customer Focus Award at the 2010 Bakery Industry Awards and Retailer of the Year at Lancashire’s 2011 Be Inspired Business Award.

Joe Hall is unequivocal about the role played by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Leadership Development programme in helping him refocus and reshape the company’s strategic direction. Joe says that “LEAD has been instrumental because it created a forum for things to be discussed with people from outside the business.” Following on from LEAD Joe took part in the GOLD programme which he considers consolidated all that he had already learned. Now an Entrepreneur in Residence, Joe is enjoying giving back some of what he has learned.

Alongside being active in his role as an EIR, Joe was appointed to the board of BAKO NW Ltd in 2014 and is currently the Vice Chairman. Additionally, in 2016, he was appointed as a voting member of the Board of the Small Business Charter.

Cheuk-ming Tam

BSc Physics of the Environment, Cartmel College 1976 and PhD Environmental Science 1981

I retired a few years ago and made a trip with my wife half-way round the world from Hong Kong to attend the University’s 50th anniversary celebration and gala dinner.  Many fond and nostalgic memories came back of my formative years at Lancaster - a place to train the mind, exercise the body and bless the soul. 

Without rich parents or a student grant, it was a real challenge financially to complete my two degrees at Lancaster.  Apart from having to work hard during term breaks to earn my keep, I was fortunate enough to be awarded scholarships from the University and the European Union to see me through those years of study and research in atmospheric science.  In 1981, I returned home with a thankful heart to start a 30-year career as a weather scientist.

Though back in Hong Kong, I have always maintained close contact with the University and provided advice on student matters.  In 1986, local graduates began to lend support at the British Education Week to recruit new students to Lancaster.  Later that same year, these devoted graduates formed an alumni association which is still active today.

It is pleasing to learn about the meaningful Ambassador Programme and I am happy to pledge regular contribution as a gesture of reciprocation to the University.  There will always be students in need and I strongly believe that given the chance of quality education at Lancaster, these youngsters could also make their dreams come true.

Stephen Smith

Statistics and Numerical Analysis, Lonsdale College 1980

Steve enjoyed his three years at Lancaster, studying with his peers in the Mathematics department and working in the JCR executive team as the treasurer. He also worked in the editorial team for the college magazine. Steve became a frequent visitor to the Computer Labs and was inspired to apply for jobs in the computer industry following graduation.

His initial employer was ICL in Manchester, where Steve spent five years programming software to simulate and test electronic circuit designs used for ICL’s mainframe computers.

This led to a long and enjoyable career in the nascent but growing EDA (Electronic Design Automation) market with companies including Unisys, Teradyne, Viewlogic and Synopsys. Steve’s move from software engineering to product marketing eventually led to him moving with his family to the San Francisco Bay Area, also known as Silicon Valley.

Steve retired from Synopsys after more than 20 years, where his responsibilities covered a broad range of electronic systems markets, including computing, communications and automotive. During his time in “the Valley”, Steve also operated a boutique winery, Three Arches Winery (named after the three-car garage where the initial batch of wine was made), with a group of close friends and their familes.

Steve currently resides with his wife, Rose, in Los Angeles, CA. Their four grown children live within California.

Tom Buckley

Director of Recruitment, Admissions and International Development

Principal of Cartmel College

I moved to the UK and joined Lancaster University in 2015 as Director of Recruitment Admissions and International Development and was appointed Principal of Cartmel later that year.  Whilst researching Lancaster prior to joining I was struck how a university so young, in a system that is centuries old, came to be ranked and regarded so highly.   There are many elements to why, but one key is the collegiate system.

I have had the good fortune to benefit from a career that has provided both work and personal experiences in many countries around the world.  As a high school leaver and first generation university graduate from a small town in Eastern Canada it is a somewhat atypical journey.  The turning point was a decision to pursue a university education.  I am pleased to be in a position to be able to contribute to Cartmel College and Lancaster University to support the students of today and tomorrow in pursuit of their goals.

Philip Rewcastle

Accounting and Finance, Cartmel College 1989

Executive Vice President
Head of Line of Business Finance
Wells Fargo & Company

Philip Rewcastle is the executive vice president and head of Line of Business Finance for Wells Fargo. Based in San Francisco, he is responsible for the creation of finance strategy and business support for the lines of business by directing and managing the line of business finance support functions including: Consumer Lending; Community Banking; Wealth & Investment Management; Wholesale; and Payments, Virtual Solutions, and Innovations.

A 25-year company veteran, Philip has held a variety of different finance roles. Prior to taking on his current role Philip was the group finance officer for the Consumer Lending Group, where he was responsible for the financial and accounting functions for the Consumer Lending business lines including Home Mortgage, Home Equity, Credit Card, Dealer Services, Personal Credit Management, Education Financial Services and Retail Services.

Previously, Philip was the manager of Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) and was responsible for company-wide financial forecasting and planning activities. Prior to that, Philip was group finance officer for the Diversified Products Group and a senior analyst in Corporate Development (mergers and acquisitions).

He has an M.B.A. from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota and a B.Sc. in Accounting and Finance from the University of Lancaster, England.

Philip is a native of Newcastle, England and currently resides in Danville, California with his wife and two children.

Paul Simons

Marketing, Graduate College 1971

Paul joined Cadbury-Schweppes Plc following his post graduate course at the Management School.

Paul enjoyed a premier division experience managing a range of famous brands, working on a wide range of equally famous advertising campaigns that whetted his appetite for the advertising industry.

He switched to advertising in his late twenties working for two different advertising agencies until he led a start up advertising agency with four other partners in his late thirties called Simons Palmer Denton Clemmow & Johnson, known as Simons Palmer.

During the '90's they carved out a strong reputation for creative work and Campaign magazine said "Simons Palmer has an enviable blend of creative excellence and business brains". They produced well known work for clients including Nike, PlayStation, BT, Wrangler, Virgin Atlantic amongst several others. The agency was rated as one of the top creative agencies during the '90's.

In the late '90's the agency and subsequent subsidiaries were sold to the American marketing services group Omnicom and Simons Palmer was merged with TBWA where Paul was Chairman of the group.

Following an earn out Paul was recruited to take over the Chairman and CEO role at Ogilvy in the UK where he remained for three years prior to developing an acquisition vehicle that was admitted to AIM, Cagney Plc.

Since then Paul has developed a range of interests including 'C' suite consulting projects mostly focused on brand challenges at board level, an on line publishing business, plus non executive roles.  

Adrian Cresswell

Adrian Cresswell of AM Services Group

AM Services Group provides single or integrated facilities management solutions to organisations across a wide range of sectors. This includes cleaning, security, specialist cleaning and washroom services. The Group prides itself on listening to its clients to build trust, collaboration and long-term sustainable partnerships. The service is flexible to develop with the client’s changing business needs, while the strategy aims to support the wider business objectives.

The AM Services Group team is proud of, and actively delivers on, its ‘one team, one goal’ ethos. Success is built on the strong values that underpin the company behaves towards its staff, customers and business partners.

“We are proud of the work we do and equally proud of the customers we work with,” comments MD Adrian Cresswell. “We are a local business, based in Morecambe, which makes us doubly proud to support Lancaster University where we have been working with the Facilities Division since 2007.”

Neil Grant Thorogood

Accounting & Finance, Pendle College 1978

Graduated from Lancaster University in 1978 and joined Deloittes in Birmingham and qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

Held several senior finance positions in construction, recruitment, training and education, then established my own consultancy business at the age of 38 providing business consultancy to a diverse range of SME companies across the West Midlands.

A fortuitous meeting with my current business partner in 1996 lead to the establishment Care First Group in 1996 providing learning and developmental opportunities to adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. Helping individuals with a range of moderate to complex learning disabilities, we help them to progress in a “person centred” way so that they lead fulfilling and enjoyable lives. Today we employ over 100 staff and have 170 students benefitting from our day provision. Our provision saves significant costs to the NHS and Criminal Justice system and helps families stay together.

I am Chairman of Edward’s Trust, a West Midlands bereavement charity supporting parents and children through loss and am a committed Christian involved in mentoring fellow Christians develop their faith. I am also a director of a small dementia charity, Mindful Gifts CIC, which provides support through a range of products and activities to people suffering with dementia.

Lancaster University changed my life. From a secondary modern school that offered little ambition, I was lucky enough to encounter people who encouraged me to believe in myself and Lancaster University stretched me academically. It provided me with an environment to grow in confidence, surrounded by a diverse range of undergraduates all studying different subjects. Nothing could have been more enriching in terms of politics, business and economics, human and social issues. Lancaster formed the bedrock that would shape my life.

Being an ambassador for Lancaster was an easy choice for me. How could I ignore investing back into the university that gave me so much whilst trying to help those students with some level of need?  Having a daughter with Downs Syndrome and seeing the potential of those less fortunate, is a key driver to being an Ambassador.

I am blessed with 3 beautiful daughters and a fiancé and an Australian terrier, love playing squash, running, hill walking and general keep fit. The occasional abseil and half marathon enables me to fundraise. I love my cars too!!!

Nigel May

LLB (Hons), Bowland College 1987

I am a tax partner in MHA MacIntyre Hudson, a top 20 UK accountancy practice. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and also the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

I joined the firm on graduation from Lancaster in 1987 as a tax trainee and worked at our Bedford, Milton Keynes and North London offices before moving to head up the tax practice at our City office, in London in October 2017.

In my time at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, I have encountered a wide range of tax issues, particularly those impacting on entrepreneurial enterprises, professional practices and high net wealth individuals both from a UK and from a cross-border perspective. Also, I have widely acted as expert witness, providing taxation analysis in professional indemnity and matrimonial cases.

Whilst I did not directly pursue a career in law, the background that my degree provided has been and indeed remains invaluable.

Laurence King

Accounting & Finance, Grizedale College 1984

I am fortunate to have had a very long and wonderful association with Lancaster University, and I am delighted to be an Ambassador; to help students  have the opportunity of a fantastic education and life experience, regardless of background or financial means, was a key attraction for me.

I came from a loving home but it did not have many books in it, and I was, not untypically at age 18, somewhat unfocused. I somehow managed to get into Lancaster University and quite frankly have never looked back.

After graduating in 1984 with a 2.1 and the Ciba Geigy Law prize, I worked for KPMG and tutored part time at the University in support of a KPMG sponsored Chair. I lead the same tutorial in the same room some six years after I had experienced it (Alumni will remember Anthony and Reece). I then moved to Baxi Partnership (a large employee owned company with a very large private share market) as Finance Director undertaking acquisitions in Europe to expand the brand and technology internationally. During my tenure there, I assisted a Lancaster PhD student with a thesis on share valuation methodologies.

I am currently the Vice Chairman of Westmorland Limited after a long spell as Managing Director. Westmorland are better known for Tebay Services on the M6 in Cumbria, and four years ago we built the new Gloucester Services on the M5. Our business model focuses on sustainably connecting people with place and rooting ourselves in a community through local sourcing, local employment and local  charitable support; it is widely regarded as an exemplar and disruptor in its industry. We have about 10 million visitors each year to all of our businesses. Gloucester Services is multi award winning and was officially opened by Prince Charles in 2014. Lancaster University even played a part in this project as I asked the Department of Mathematics to undertake some statistical analysis of road safety in support our planning application.

From 2008 - 2016 I was a Council member of the University and I chaired the Finance and General Purposes Committee from 2010 until 2016. In 2018 I have been a lay member on the Pensions Working Group. I have found the whole experience incredibly rewarding.

As in 1981, today Lancaster University remains a superb teaching institution and accessible to all with a wonderful collegiate experience. The campus also continues to be developed for the future demands of higher education in this rapidly advancing age in which we now live.

Like other Ambassadors, I appreciate this opportunity to show students how Lancaster provides such a fantastic springboard into the world of work. Lancaster is an internationally recognised university that I am proud to be associated with, and it has been a privilege to remain connected.

Martin Hellawell

Marketing and French, Fylde College 1987

Martin has recently transitioned from CEO to non-exec Chairman of Softcat, a leading UK provider of IT infrastructure technology and services. 

Martin joined Softcat as CE0 in 2006.  During his tenure, the company grew  from approximately £50m to revenues approaching £1bn.  This was all achieved organically.  He led the IPO of the company on the London Stock Exchange in November 2015 and shortly after the company became a FTSE 250 Company.

The company is well known for its employee culture and was named as the Sunday Times No.1 Best Company to Work for and the No.1 workplace by the Great Places to Work organisation.

Martin was named UK Tech CEO of the year in 2016. 

Prior to joining Softcat, Martin spent thirteen years with Computacenter.  During a large part of that time he lived in France running a large French organisation, putting his Lancaster French modules to good use!

Martin met with his wife Mandy at Lancaster.  Mandy was also a member of Fylde College and graduated in History in 1988.  Mandy is a governor at a North London Moderate Learning difficulties school and both Mandy and Martin have an active interest in Special Needs.

Martin and Mandy have two daughters and one son and live in Highgate, London.

Chi Wah Fong

Management Sciences-Economics, Bowland College 1984

Mr. Fong has been the Chief Financial Officer of Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Limited since September 2004 and Company Secretary since February 2007.  He has also served as Director of its subsidiary, Bendura Bank Liechtenstein, since 2016.

Mr. Fong has over 25 years of extensive experience in various sectors of the financial industry, including direct investment, project and structured finance, and capital markets.  He worked for KPMG, American International Group in Asia, and ING Group in Beijing and Hong Kong.  In his last position within ING Group, he served as a Director of Baring Capital (China) Management Limited that managed ING Beijing Investment Co. Ltd., a company listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

Mr. Fong holds a bachelor's degree majoring in Management Sciences (Economics) from Lancaster University. During the period at Lancaster University, he very much enjoyed sailing in the Lake District, ballroom dancing at the University, travelling to various cities in Scotland and most importantly making friends from different countries. The academic activities and social activities prepared him for his subsequent career as an international business executive, travelling to all over Mainland China, South East Asia and Western Europe, and working closely with the executives from those regions.  Mr Fong's memories from Lancaster University are unforgettable.

Paul McCarthy

Head of Philanthropy, Lancaster University

Paul is our Head of Philanthropy at Lancaster University. In addition to his day job Paul has also become a Lancaster University Pioneer, joining a group of dedicated philanthropists committed to the well being of the University.

Paul has considerable experience in philanthropic endeavours and comes to the University having completed several successful fundraising campaigns in the UK, Ireland and the USA.

He has specialised in Higher Education and Arts based fundraising and has worked in the charity sector too.

Paul is a graduate with a BA in English Literature and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law.

Roger Brown

Law, Bowland College 1989

Born in 1967 in Northern Ireland Roger joined Bowland College in 1986 studying psychology, philosophy and law in his first year and extending his interest in aesthetics from the Philosophy Department with a paper considering the potential impact of applying the principles of judicial precedent in the analysis and criticism of art and vice versa. After solicitor’s finals at the College of Law in York Roger completed his training contract with a large West End firm in London with whom he remained for a short time after qualification in the banking department before moving to join Peter Woodroffe at Woodroffes, a boutique practice in London’s Belgravia. 

Woodroffes was founded in 1877 representing individuals and families of substantial personal wealth and has continued to do so for the intervening 140 years.  Roger became a partner in 1999 and senior partner upon Peter Woodroffe’s retirement (to consultant) in 2010. Roger had built a personal practice in the intervening years representing the hotel and hospitality trade and acting for a number of five-star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants. His firm continues to offer a highly personalised and bespoke service to wealthy individuals from across the UK and all corners of the world, creating and managing investment portfolios of commercial and residential property across the UK, often in a Sharia’ compliant manner. Roger deals with deal making and non contentious matters.

In his spare time Roger is a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur and a fan of most forms of sport, particularly motor sport.  He enjoys cars, motoring, fine dining and travel and tries to see live contemporary music as frequently as practical. Roger dislikes most “classical” music.  

Gregory Tilmant

LUMS Business Studies, Pendle College 2006

After three years of studies and a lot of fun, I graduated from Lancaster in 2006. Not only did I earn a degree from one of the top UK University, but I also left the school with fond memories, I met my wife and the mother of my son, and had the necessary tools to start a career in finance. 10 years later, I am still in finance and work as an executive director in investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

When I was invited by the university to join the Ambassador programme, I did not hesitate very long. It feels like a normal thing to give back. I consider that I have a good job and I am lucky for that, I owe that hard work but also to Lancaster University and everything I learned there.

Lancaster University provides strong academic background to its students; the university has done its part of the job, now it is up to the Alumni community to help the university to build a solid reputation globally. We need to ensure that its students are represented everywhere including the most prestigious institutions – we will all benefit from it. Helping the university to achieve this goal is not pure altruism but also the fruit of selfish interest… So I hope that this donation, amongst many others, will help student from all background to maximise the value of their studies, have great careers and that they can themselves give back to the university in the future and help grow its reputation.

Peter Rice

Mathematics, Economics and Operational Research, Furness College 1971

After graduating, I trained as an Actuary in Liverpool. On qualifying in 1974, I joined stockbrokers Wood MacKenzie in Edinburgh as an analyst in insurance shares, becoming a partner in 1981.

After the financial ‘Big Bang’, I joined Commercial Union in 1988, initially leading the Group’s planning and strategy function, before becoming a UK Divisional Director and latterly business development director of the fund management arm.

After retiring from full time work in 2000, I have concentrated on other areas of learning, with postgraduate qualifications in Art History and the History of Ideas from the University of Buckingham, Birkbeck College and SOAS.

While my subjects were fundamental for my career choice and development, Lancaster was also invaluably ‘horizon-broadening’. My final year Operational Research project working with some Ugandan Asians, who had settled in Preston after expulsion by Idi Amin was eye opening regarding other peoples’ life experiences. From a personal interest viewpoint, I still remember the series of concerts marking Beethoven’s bicentenary in 1970.

 More widely, the very lively social and political atmosphere and events of the period, the stormy debates at the student assemblies and the late night kitchen discussions have proven to be long lasting influences.

 I hope that current generations of students have the opportunity for similarly rewarding experiences.

Corporate Ambassadors

If you would like to find out more about becoming one of our Ambassadors, please contact our Head of Philanthropy, Paul McCarthy.

Get in touch:

Development & Alumni Relations

C Floor, University House

Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YW

T +44(0)1524 594109  friends@lancaster.ac.uk

Contact the Alumni and Development Team