Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Dame Jane Francis is a pioneering scientist whose study of fossil plants and their use as tools for climate interpretation is recognised internationally. Jane read Geology and completed a PhD at the University of Southampton. From 1979-1982, she continued her studies as a NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Bedford College, London before taking up a position as a palaeobotanist at the British Antarctic Survey from 1984 to 1986. She worked at the University of Leeds from 1991-2013, the last five as Dean of the Faculty of Environment. Among her many awards, Jane was the recipient of the Polar Medal in 2002 - which has also been awarded to Captain Robert Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 2017, she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (DCMG) for services to polar science and diplomacy.

A Cambridge graduate, David Gray worked as a partner for Hepworth and Chadwick in Leeds between 1982 and 2000 (Hepworth and Chadwick was renamed Eversheds in 1997.) He took on a full-time management role as Managing Partner for Eversheds North in 2000 and in 2003 was appointed Managing Partner and Chief Executive for Eversheds. He became Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council (the University’s governing body) on 1 August 2013.

University Executive Group

Membership of the University Executive Group (UEG) comprises the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, the Executive Deans, the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Information and Digital Officer, the Marketing Director, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Campus Development and the University Secretary. 


Simone Buitendijk is the thirteenth Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, a major Russell Group University with a commitment to high quality education, a strong and dynamic research base and a track record of social, economic and cultural development. Before joining the University, she was Vice-Provost (Education) and Professor of Maternal and Child Health at Imperial College London.

Professor Hai-Sui Yu serves as a ‘standing deputy’ for the Vice-Chancellor; provides oversight and coordination of the University’s academic strategy and its planning and delivery; and leads on the University’s international strategy. He also holds the role of Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering.

Professor Nick Plant leads on the development of the University’s research and innovation strategy, creating a research culture and environment which delivers high quality research and impact for the region and beyond.  

His brief includes promoting partnerships in a number of key sectors, accelerating collaboration across a wide range of academic disciplines and driving recruitment of world-leading academics.  

Professor Ward leads on our overall education strategy, ensuring the University attracts, excites and retains high-quality students from a wide range of backgrounds. His brief includes implementing innovative measures to ensure students benefit from an outstanding education and excellent all-round experience, widening participation, promoting teaching excellence and innovation, and further boosting the employability of the University’s students.

Professor Morris leads on our overall digital transformation strategy, supporting the University to achieve its strategy to be a globally leading digital university. His brief is cross-cutting, and spans student education, research and the operations of the University.

He leads initiatives to enhance the blended, hybrid and online education and experience of our students, and provide lifelong and professional learning opportunities for learners globally, through oversight of the Digital Education Service.

Tim is accountable for every aspect of the University’s operations, ensuring that all activities are properly aligned with the University’s Strategic Plan, and with each other, to enable its key imperatives of student education and research and innovation. He is responsible for student operations, information management and technology, change management, facilities, marketing and communications. Before joining the University, he was deputy Chief Executive of UK Biobank, a major medical research resource established for the investigation of common, complex diseases.

As University Secretary, Roger is responsible amongst other things for providing advice and support to the Council, Senate and their committees; corporate governance, including ethics; overseeing and co-ordinating the University’s response to changes in the external regulatory framework;  policy and compliance in relation to Freedom of Expression and Prevent;  student discipline, complaints and appeals;  policy and investigatory responsibilities in relation to whistleblowing, bribery and corruption, and allegations of misconduct in academic research;  legal services and legal compliance, including GDPR and Freedom of Information;  protocol, including graduation ceremonies and other major University events;  and overseeing the management of critical incidents (including student emergencies).

Jane Madeley is the University’s Chief Financial Officer. She has responsibility for Finance, Strategy & Planning, Risk Management and Purchasing across the University. Jane’s role also includes developing the University’s commercial relationships with industry, commerce, public-sector partners and education and research partners at home and abroad. 

Martin Holmes is the University’s first Marketing Director. He is a graduate of Geography from the University of Sheffield and joined Marks and Spencer in 1984 where he undertook a variety of commercial and marketing roles before joining the University in March 2005.

As Marketing Director his role involves executive responsibility for an integrated marketing capability across the University, as well as for student recruitment, admissions, international development, marketing communications and alumni development and fundraising. The role covers all aspects of marketing from strategic marketing planning and positioning through to brand leadership, communications, proposition design and pricing, business development and relationship management.

Martin is a member of the NCUK Board of Directors (Northern Consortium UK).

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 9648
Personal Assistant: Poppy Salmon

Dennis joined the University of Leeds in 2002 as Director of Residential and Commercial Services and was appointed as Director of Facilities Management in 2009. His responsibilities currently include development and management of the University’s estate, including the residential portfolio, commercial and campus support services, sport, and sustainability.

A graduate of the School of English at the University, Francesca was appointed Director of Human Resources from 1 October 2015. She oversees a large department which provides HR services and support staff in seven faculties and across the professional services. Previously, she was the Director of Organisational Development and Business Improvement at Nottingham Trent University, responsible for HR as well as university-wide programmes to enhance organisational performance. She is also a former member of the HEFCE Leadership, Governance and Management Strategic Advisory Board. 

Leading our Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, Andrew Thorpe has one of the broadest humanities portfolios of all UK research-intensive universities. He is Professor of Modern History at the University, and a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy. He was previously Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Exeter. His main research interests are the history of British politics in the 20th and 21st centuries, the history of party (notably the Labour Party), and international communism.

Karen is Professor of Exercise Science in the School of Biomedical Sciences. She previously held the post of Head of School and is a Fellow of the American College of Sport and Exercise Medicine. Her research interests include using exercise and physical activity to enhance fertility and to ameliorate the impact of reproductive ageing upon cardiovascular disease in women. Her research integrates the disciplines of medicine, exercise science, cardiovascular science and fluid dynamics.

A Professor of Operational Research, Julia holds various leadership roles in her research community including Vice-President of the European Association of Operational Research Societies and a member of the research panel for the UK OR Society. Her research focuses on developing optimisation models for logistics and transportation, where she has worked with manufacturers, transport providers and the public sector. Before becoming Executive Dean, Julia held the post of Deputy Dean in Leeds and Deputy Head of the Business School at the University of Southampton.

A graduate of King’s College London and the University of Cambridge, Alastair Mullis is a professor in the School of Law at the University. He has been Head of the Law School since 2013 and was previously Head of Law at the University of East Anglia. His research interests lie in the fields of tort law, especially defamation and related wrongs, media law and aspects of international commercial law. He has been a visiting professor in universities in Europe, the Middle East, North America and South East Asia and is an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple.

Andy is a Professor of Environmental Sustainability. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and Member of The British Soil Science Society. He has developed research approaches that integrate a range of disciplines including soil science, ecology, development studies and environmental social sciences and has led inter-disciplinary research projects across African drylands.

Nora is the first Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University, which builds on existing strengths in eight schools and draws heavily on the University’s membership of the Henry Royce, Rosalind Franklin and the Alan Turing national research institutes. Professor de Leeuw was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor (International & Europe) and Professor of Computational Chemistry at Cardiff University, where she also led the Doctoral Academy. She is Professor of Theoretical Geochemistry at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and was a Visiting Professor of Biomaterials at Universit√© de Paris-Est in France. Professor de Leeuw is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, an elected Fellow of The Learned Society of Wales and elected Member of Academia Europaea.

Paul is a professor of medicine and a consultant endocrinologist and joined Leeds in August 2013. Paul is currently a primary investigator within the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit in Leeds and an NIHR Senior Clinical Investigator. He chairs the Chairs & Programme Grants Committee of the British Heart Foundation, is a Member of the MRC Strategy Board and is Chair of the MRC Careers and Training Committee. He is also a Non-Executive Director of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.