Five new trustee members appointed to The University of Buckingham’s governing Council

20 May 2024

Following an open recruitment process, five new trustees have been appointed to the University’s governing Council.

The University’s newly appointed trustees are:

  • Kristina Church
  • Andy Dunkley
  • Katie Nykanen
  • Nadia Strone
  • Phil Wolfenden

Mark Qualter, Chair of Council, said:

“We are fortunate at Buckingham to benefit from the insight of a group of trustees who bring a diverse breadth of skills and experience. Our newest independent members are highly skilled leaders who bring a wealth of expertise gained from the commercial, public and third sectors. That we are able to attract such talent is testament to the appeal of the University and its unique position in the sector.

“Universities are facing unprecedented challenges, and the strength of our board will be key to providing the required support and challenge to the management team in driving forward our strategic ambitions for sustainable growth.”

The Council is the University’s governing body with ultimate responsibility for its strategic plans and the effective use of its resources.

With the above appointments, there are now 22 trustee members of Council, made up of three ex-officio members including the Vice-Chancellor, 13 independent members, four elected staff members and a nominated student and alumnus member. The independent members on Council all serve for an initial term of three years, renewable thereafter for up to two further terms of three years.

In addition to the new trustee appointments, Council has also approved the co-option of two new members to its committees. Nitesh Magdani will join the Audit and Risk Committee and Martin Kersey will join the Finance and Resources Committee. Co-opted members are not trustees of the University and do not attend Council meetings but are instead appointed to committees of Council to contribute their experience and provide expert advice. This approach has been taken by Council as a means of creating a pipeline of trustee candidates for the future.

Further details about all the University’s new appointees are available below.

If you have any queries regarding governance at the University or the role of Council and its committee, please contact our Secretary to Council:

Portrait photograph of KristinaKristina Church – Council member

Kristina is due to commence a role in June as Head of Corporate Sustainability at a global investment company and was previously Global Head of Sustainable Solutions at BNY Mellon, responsible for delivering commercial solutions across the bank’s business lines, including its $44 trillion in assets under custody and $1.8 trillion assets under management. She wants to utilise her experience of leadership, accounting and strategy to guide the University in the delivery of its own Strategic Plan.

Kristina, who lives locally to the University, has a strong interest in education, and currently chairs the Local Governing Board of a Laureate Academy and sits on the finance, audit & risk committees of the Multi-Academy Trust.

Previously she has acted in the capacity of a tutor and mentor in Tower Hamlets schools and supported graduate recruitment schemes during her years working in investment banking. She sees this as an exciting time to be joining the University, given its renewed strategic ambitions.

Andy portrait photograph, smiling to point away from cameraAndy Dunkley – Council member

Andy is an experienced non-executive and board advisor, with a track record of inspiring teams to deliver a long-term vision and strategy.

Andy is currently the Chairman of both Astro Lighting, and Akula Living. Astro is a £40 million UK-based design-orientated lighting brand selling its products across the world with markets in the UK, EU and the US. Akula is a UK based specialist outdoor furniture manufacture selling to luxury hotels and resorts across the world.

Andy’s executive career includes Chief Executive positions at (the UK’s largest online builders’ merchants) and well-known fashion brand, Lee Cooper.

Based in Buckingham, Andy has a locally inspired interest in wishing to contribute his experience to progressing the University’s strategic aims.

Portrait photograph of Katie Nyanken, smiling to cameraKatie Nykanen – Council member

Katie is an experienced Chief Technology Officer (CTO), most recently serving as CTO at QA Ltd, a global provider of instructor led and digital self-paced learning solutions and funded learning programmes such as apprenticeships and bootcamps.

This is Katie’s first non-executive position, and she views her role at the University as an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of tech in the University’s education in order that faculties can focus solely on the needs of students.

She has a particular passion for enabling those from diverse backgrounds to progress in the world of work.

Portrait photograph of NadiaNadia Strone – Council member

Nadia currently serves as Vice-President of Human Resources at Equifax Ltd, an American multinational consumer credit reporting agency with revenue of over $5 billion.

She is a member of the European Board of Directors at Equifax and leads a team of 20 focused around organisational effectiveness, recruitment, talent management, learning and development and EDI. She also chairs Equifax’s Remuneration Committee. Nadia previously worked as Executive Human Resources Director at Avon Products Inc.

Nadia is a first-generation child of immigrants who was raised on the importance of higher education and the opportunities it can unlock. She therefore believes her role at the University to represent an opportunity to give back to the sector and provide a further voice for the University’s student body.

Portrait photograph of PhilPhil Wolfenden – Council member

Phil has over 30 years of experience in the IT sector, with the last 12 years spent as an Executive of Cisco Systems, a US multinational digital communications conglomerate with revenue of over $55 billion.

Phil’s experience in leading businesses across every market sector has seen him play a key role in digital transformation, something he hopes can benefit the University in its own transformation journey and its creative approach to delivering education.

Beyond his tech career, Phil is a published author on his passion subjects of inclusive leadership and education. He leads employee groups within Cisco for Disability Action and LGBTQ+ and hopes his passion in these areas can contribute to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion at the University.

Phil’s appointment to Council represents his first non-executive position and he is enthusiastic about the value he will add to Council, its committees and the work of the University.

Portrait photograph of NiteshNitesh Magdani – co-opted committee member

Nitesh is a chartered architect with over 20 years of experience, currently working as a consultant in both the public and private sectors, with particular expertise in sustainability, strategy development and change management.

Nitesh hopes his experience and his passion for learning will help to drive forward the University’s strategic ambitions and contribute to the development and environmental sustainability of its estate.

Professional portrait headshot photograph of MartinMartin Kersey – co-opted committee member

Martin Kersey brings over 30 years of experience at large and small companies in the disciplines of organisational design, employee engagement and talent and leadership development. Previously an Executive Director of Human Resources at St Andrew’s Healthcare, the 18th largest charity in the UK, Martin has significant experience of managing people in the third sector, which has seen him lead on governance and risk matters with regulators, the Charity Commission and Ofsted.

Martin believes that the University’s strengths lie in its innovation and its difference from other universities. He has a strong desire to give back to a sector that has enabled his own career to thrive.