Our Governors

Rob Hull (Chair of the Corporation)

After a career in Government service, which covered most aspects of education policy and funding, Rob Hull has had a range of non-executive roles on voluntary and public service boards. He was until recently vice chair of the board of London Metropolitan University and chair of governors at Holloway School. He has a particular interest in tackling disadvantage and widening opportunities in education and training. Rob is also a governor of the Cripplegate Foundation which addresses poverty and inequality in Islington, and chairs the board of Islington Giving, an initiative which involves local businesses and individuals in changing people’s lives.

Appointed: December 2018
Committees: F&GP, Property (Chair), Remuneration, Search

Marilyn Hawkins (Vice-Chair)

Marilyn had an original background in the National Health Service before working in Further and Higher Education. She has worked in many parts of the country but most recently in London and has been the successful Chief Executive of 2 large Further and Higher Education Colleges. She was an original member of the FE Commission and completed five years in that role as Deputy FE Commissioner in 2018 when she joined the NCC Corporation. She has extensive governance experience and has been a member of over 20 Boards. She was a member of the Mayor of London's Skills Taskforce who developed the 5 year London Skills Plan. Currently she works as a sector consultant and supports ETF in the development of Governance materials. Her charity work focuses on Royal Trinity Hospice and the homeless charity Glassdoor. Marilyn is a qualified HR professional.

Appointed: July 2018
Committees: CQ&S, F&GP, Havering Local Board, Remuneration (Chair), Search (Chair)

Gerry McDonald, Group Principal & CEO

Gerry became Principal of Tower Hamlets College in April 2013 following almost four years as the college’s Vice Principal. Following mergers with Hackney Community College and Redbridge College, he became Group Principal and CEO of the combined New City College in April 2017. He subsequently led the Group’s mergers with Epping Forest College, Havering College of Higher and Further Education and Havering Sixth Form College.

Gerry is a qualified business studies teacher who has worked in the sector since 1993. He holds business degrees from the University of West of England and Aston and a PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University. Gerry has worked in sixth form and further education colleges in Birmingham and London, leading on business development, mergers, curriculum improvement, inspection and culture change.

Gerry is a co-opted committee member of Association of Colleges London following his election to the main AoC board in December 2014. He also serves on the AoC’s national Employment and Audit Committees.

Appointed: April 2013
Committees: CQ&S, F&GP, Property, Search

Francine Corbin, Staff Governor

Francine Corbin is the Senior Curriculum manager for SEN at New City College. She has 20 years' experience in working with children and young people with special educational needs and complex needs. Her specialism is in Autism and behaviour management. Francine has worked in mainstream and specialist schools in Hackney before joining the college in 2013.

Appointed:  December 2020
Committees: CQ&S

Steve Hedges, Staff Governor (Support)

Steve has more than 20 years’ experience in the FE sector as a lecturer, curriculum manager and service manager. He has worked at a variety of colleges and across the years has undertaken a variety of additional tasks, such as, delivering sessions on quality and observation systems to vocational colleges in Saudi Arabia, acting as a member of the original FELTAG group and discussing FE issues with David Evennett MP whilst serving as Support Staff Governor of Hackney Community College. Steve's specialisms include Computing, IT and eLearning and eSafety.

Steve holds a Masters Degree in Computing and Information Systems and a Cert-Ed.

Appointed:  December 2016
Committees: CQ&S

Mohamed Elhag, Student Governor

Mohamed studies at the Poplar campus and has gained extensive experience on the Student Union. He has represented the Business Department on several occasions at open evenings and at Learner Voice meetings, as well as leading Governors on tours of the college. Mohamed was selected as the Business Student of the year for 2020.

Appointed:  December 2020
Committees: CQ&S

Ryan McLean, Student Governor

Ryan is currently a Level 3 Extended Diploma Business Student at the Epping Forest Campus, having previously been elected as the campus Students' Union President and Secretary twice. Ryan brings the student voice and perspective to the Board.

Appointed:  December 2020
Committees: CQ&S

Cynthia Griffin

Cynthia is a strategic Director who has worked at board level in local government and in national local government organisations. She has extensive experience of setting strategic direction, improving and evaluating services and partnership working. Cynthia has subsequently worked as a senior consultant with strong track record of successful delivery of complex assignments. She has a particular interest in economic development, inclusive growth and skills. She is very customer focused and she brings strong interpersonal and team building skills to the Board.

Appointed: December 2018
Committees: Audit, CQ&S, Property

Dawn Samwell

Dawn has developed a significant level of governance experience at the former Havering Corporation as Chair and Vice Chair and through her role as a governance strategist and policy adviser at the Department for Education (DfE). She has worked in education for over 20 years, across both the school and HE sectors. Her experience of school sector governance and close working relationship with DfE’s FE governance unit has provided her with a knowledge and understanding of effective governance.

Appointed: July 2019
Committees: CQ&S, Havering Local Board

Diana Murray

Diana has over ten years' experience of managing communications and marketing across the public and charity sector. Diana also has eight years' experience of working as a Business Studies Lecturer in an inner London FE college. She is a trustee of a welfare rights charity, and enjoys hiking and going to the gym regularly. She joined NCC from Epping Forest College's Board of Governors at point of merger on 1.8.18.

Appointed: July 2018
Committees: CQ&S, Search

Gareth Wall

Gareth is currently Public Health Manager at the London Borough of Hackney, having previously been the Council’s Head of Overview and Scrutiny, contributing to its strategic and corporate planning processes. He has extensive experience having worked for Centre for Public Scrutiny and Improvement and Development Agency.

Appointed:  July 2016
Committees:  Audit, Property

Neil Yeomans

Neil has recently retired having spent over 30 years working in audit and accounting for one of the largest global professional services firms, and was a partner for the last 20 years. He has travelled extensively and worked in Australia for 2 years and Poland for 3 years. He is a qualified chartered accountant and as well as skills in financial management and control, he has experience in project management, risk management and governance.

Neil is a trustee of 2 multi-academy trusts as well as being governor of a primary school. He works with a number of charitable and voluntary organisations in the fields of education and care for those with disabilities. He is also a mentor for a number of start-up businesses as well as university students looking to enter in to the world of work.

Appointed: December 2018
Committees: Audit (Chair), Remuneration, Search

Nikki Makinwa

Nikki has several years’ experience of Higher Education administration, covering different areas such as HE governance, registry function, partnership working and quality assurance. As a trained teacher she taught English and English Literature for many years, and is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE).

Currently employed as Quality Lead at the University of Greenwich she brings to the Board experience of HE policy formulation and governance as well as a commitment to see that learners have access to quality education and an aspiration that is fully nurtured and supported.

Appointed: September 2014
Committees: CQ&S

Richard Bint

Richard was the Senior Partner of a large accountancy firm with 1800 staff and £140m income. He was responsible for strategy and stakeholder relations at Board level and chaired the Board. He occupied a number of senior roles in the profession including being a member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Since retirement he has taken on a number of non executive roles (including appointment by the Secretary of State) and these reflect both his appreciation of the importance of developing young people and a commitment to East London and Essex where he lives. Richard brings strategy, governance and finance skills to NCC.

Appointed: July 2019
Committees: F&GP, Havering Local Board (Chair)

Stephen Critoph

Stephen is an experienced CFO with very broad range of experience as both a PLC and Private Company CFO. Stephen has been a Non Executive Director, a Charity Trustee and Finance Committee Chair. His background is in the Hospitality, Food and B-2-B services sectors and he has successfully managed investor relations, refinancing, all aspects of M&A, restructuring, change management, integrations, disposals and major IT projects. In addition, Stephen brings experience of managing Property, Strategy, Procurement and Legal to the Board.

Appointed: July 2019
Committees: F&GP (Chair), Remuneration

Vivien Bailey OBE

Vivien Bailey OBE has many years' experience as a teacher, curriculum manager, local authority and awarding body adviser, consultant and education inspector. A former full-time HMI and manager at Ofsted, Vivien is now a registered Ofsted inspector specialising in quality assurance of FE and skills inspection reports. Vivien holds qualified teacher status.

Vivien as an honours degree in English and French and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education. She holds qualified teacher status and received an OBE in 2010 for services to Ofsted.

Appointed: October 2014
Committees: CQ&S (Chair)