Board of Trustees


Colin Smith OBE

Colin chairs our Board, which meets every two months, is the chair of the Nominations Committee, and has a breadth of experience in the food industry, principally the retail sector.

Currently he is Chairman of Hilton Food Group plc having served as Non-Executive Director since 2010. Hilton is a specialist retail meat packing business supplying major international food retailers in thirteen European countries and Australia.

Until recently, Colin was Chairman of Poundland Group Holdings, Europe’s largest single price discount retailer. Prior to this, Colin was Chief Executive and Finance Director of Safeway Plc, the supermarket retailer. Colin also has previous experience in the not for profit sector as a trustee of Save The Children and as Chairman of the food industry sponsored Red Tractor assurance scheme.

Paul Armstrong

Paul works in private equity, chairs the Board’s Remuneration committee, and is a Trustee and Investment Committee member of the Social Business Trust, the social enterprise fund.

Paul supported and advised ‘Speaking Up’ during their successful merger with Advocacy Partners and worked with the management of the merged entity to facilitate their operational and financial integration and create a long-term strategic plan for the new organisation. Paul is currently a Principal at Permira, the European private equity firm, which he joined in 2007. Prior to this, Paul worked for 8 years as a solicitor at the European law firm Ashurst and, subsequently, at Fried Frank – a leading Wall St firm. Paul gained his PGDiP Law at the College of Law London, where he was the Eidos Scholar.

Jenny Ashmore

Jenny has spent her career in marketing and is President of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Chair of the Girlguiding Trading Services. Jenny held senior marketing positions in Procter & Gamble, Mars, Yell Group and SSE and now consults and advises organisations on marketing and strategy challenges. Her Non-Executive roles also include NED roles for Commonwealth Games, England and Saffron Building Society.



Michelle Cummins

Michelle is Group HR Director at QinetiQ, experts in defence, aerospace and security, a position which she has held since March 2016.

Prior to this role Michelle was Group HR Director for international waste management firm Shanks Group plc, a position which she held for 4 years.

Michelle has held a range of progressive management positions before being appointed as Human Resources Director in the legal and regulatory division for The Thomson Corporation in 1997. Michelle then spent four years as Human Resources Director at BAE Systems, initially in their Customer Solutions and Support Naval division and then for their Land Systems division. In 2006, she joined Inchcape plc where she held a number of senior international HR Director positions based in the UK and Russia before being appointed Group Organisation Development Director.

Michelle has a Masters in Employment Studies and Human Resource Management from London Metropolitan Business School.



Christine Davies CBE

Christine is the former Chief Executive of the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO) which identified and disseminated ‘what works’ in children’s services, working with Local Authorities, Health Services, schools and Voluntary and Community organisations across England.

Christine also established and led the previous Government’s ‘Narrowing the Gap’ programme which identified leading practice in helping close the ‘gap’ between advantaged and disadvantaged children and young people.

Previously a teacher, psychologist and Local Authority Director of Children’s Services, Christine has advised successive British Governments on education, child poverty, safeguarding and early intervention and has also advised the Australian, Netherlands and Russian Governments. She is currently a member of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales; is a trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation: a member of the Advisory Board for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner; and chairs Local Authority Children’s Improvement Boards and an LSCB (Local Safeguarding Children’s Board). She is also leading seminars for Headteachers and their senior teams on Safeguarding in Schools.

Christine was awarded the CBE in 2005 for ‘an outstanding contribution to education’.

Martin Doel CBE

Martin Doel is Further Education Trust for Leadership Professor of FE and Skills at University College London, having taken up this role in 2016. Prior to his Martin was the Cheif Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC) from 2008; the AoC represents and promotes the interests of further education colleges. The AoC role was preceded by a successful career in the Royal Air Force.

Martin was appointed CBE in the Queen’s New Year 2016 Honours List in recognition of his service to further and higher education. Whilst in the RAF, his final role was as Director of Training and Education for all three Armed Services, working in the Ministry of Defence, the largest employer of apprentices in the UK. Prior to this he filled several operational support, personnel and training posts in the RAF. He was appointed OBE in 1998 for his work in support of operations in the Balkans and for his contribution to Anglo-German relations. His current work focuses on the unique contribution that further education makes to the prosperity and well being of students, communities and business and he is a Co-Director of both the Post-14 Centre for Work and Edcuation and the Centre for Global Higher Education at the Institute of Education.

Martin is also a Trustee of the Royal Society for Blind Children and a member of the Skills Funding Agency Audit Committee, as well as sitting on a number of other policy consultative boards and committees.

Dan Guthrie

Dan has over 15 years of experience in Public Relations and recently acted as a Commissioner on the Social Integration Commission.

Dan has worked in both the UK and Canadian Parliaments and is a director of the public relations firm Luther Pendragon, which he also co-owns. He has worked with a range of multi-national companies and third sector organisations to enhance their reputations and deliver positive change.


Richard Wilson

Richard has specialist experience in Financial auditing and chairs the Board’s Audit and Risk committee.

He is a senior partner with Ernst and Young with significant experience of working with companies ranging from large multinational groups to privately owned companies. He has over 25 years of experience of providing assurance and advisory services with clients such as BP, BA and Royal Mail. Richard is also a Treasurer and Trustee of Victim Support, a charity which supports victims of crime.