Posted Wednesday 8 April 2020
Corporate finance expert Francis Small has been appointed Chair of Kingston University's Board of Governors.
Following a 36-year career with professional services multinational Ernst & Young, Mr Small joined the University's governing body in 2015 as chair of its Finance Committee. A Cambridge University law graduate, he has extensive experience in audit and risk management, strategic oversight and leadership in professional and business services.
Speaking as he assumed his new post as Board Chair, he praised staff and students for their commitment to providing a supportive and high quality teaching and learning experience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. "During this unprecedented period, I would like to extend the Board's gratitude to everyone, including our nursing, paramedic science, allied health and social work staff and students, for the important contributions they are making working on the frontline in the NHS and in other vital voluntary roles across the wider community," Mr Small said.
"I have been impressed with the calm, committed and constructive way in which the University community is rising to the current challenges. We will come out of this episode with new ways of working and lessons learned that will benefit our students in the long term.
While at Ernst & Young, Mr Small held board roles at national, European and global levels, including as managing partner of its London office and Global Head of Corporate Finance. He oversaw significant revenue growth, improved client satisfaction rates and increased employee engagement and morale.
Alongside his University Board responsibilities, Mr Small is also a non-executive director of technology company 1Spatial plc, where he chairs the audit and remuneration committees and has led a review of the organisation's corporate governance. He is also a non-executive director of British Business Investments Limited, which supports companies providing finance to small and medium-sized enterprises across the United Kingdom.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Steven Spier said Mr Small's international and board experience together with his financial acumen would continue to be a huge asset to the University as he took on the role of Board Chair. "Francis brings incisive strategic insight and a wealth of experience of effective governance to the post," Professor Spier said. "His work with major companies in the international arena gives him a global perspective that is essential in today's connected world. Combined with his commitment to and knowledge of Kingston University, this will be invaluable as we work to offer all students with the potential to succeed the opportunity to access the highest quality degree level learning. I look forward to continuing to work with Francis in his new role as Board Chair."
Mr Small succeeds David Edmonds, who served as Board Chair from July 2013, during a period in which the University embarked on a significant estate regeneration programme that culminated in the opening of its flagship Town House Building earlier this year. The £multi-million development at the Penrhyn Road campus was designed by RIBA Gold Medal-winning Grafton Architects. Featuring a three-floor library, courtyard performance space, dance studios and a studio theatre, it has transformed the learning experience for students and acts as a gateway to the University for borough residents and businesses.