Chief Executive and Executive Board

Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive

Sir Harpal Kumar, MA MEng MBA DSc

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board

Harpal joined Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) as Chief Executive in October 2002 to drive forward the Charity's technology transfer and early drug discovery activities. In addition to his role with CRT, he became Chief Operating Officer of the Charity in July 2004, responsible for strategic direction and day-to-day operational management, before becoming Chief Executive Officer in April 2007.

Following his training as a chemical engineer, Harpal was a healthcare consultant with McKinsey and Co. In 1992, he became Chief Executive of the Papworth Trust, a specialist charity working on rehabilitation of disabled people. From 1997, he founded and was Chief Executive of Nexan Group, a medical device company specialising in cardio-respiratory monitoring, before joining CRT.

Harpal was Chair of the Taskforce and author of “Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020”, published in summer 2015. He is a Trustee of The Francis Crick Institute in London. He also chairs the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative and is a member of the MedCity Advisory Board.  He is a Director of UICC. Harpal was awarded a Knighthood in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List.


Ed Aspel

Executive Director, Fundraising and Marketing

Ed joined Cancer Research in December 2012 and has worked within the Fundraising Innovation and Strategic Marketing teams. In 2014, he was appointed Director of our Public and Patient Engagement Department which manages the way we connect with patients and their loved ones, involving them more closely in the work we do and providing information which empowers individuals to reduce their risk of developing cancer and to improve their chances of earlier diagnosis.

Prior to joining CRUK, Ed worked at the Government’s Central Office of Information as a Managing Consultant progressing to Group Strategy Director, and at hospitality group Whitbread as Group Marketing Director.

In 2015, Ed was appointed Executive Director of Fundraising and Marketing and is now responsible for the brand, communications and all revenue generation to enable the Charity to reach its ambitious goals.  


Iain Foulkes, PhD

Executive Director, Strategy and Research Funding

Iain was appointed Executive Director, Strategy and Research Funding in August 2009. Iain is responsible for helping to shape the long-term direction of the Charity and to ensure we funds research of the highest quality that will have the greatest impact on cancer.

Iain began his career as a research scientist, completing his PhD at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, before becoming a science writer and medical journalist. He joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) in 1999, where he worked closely with Sir Paul Nurse, who at that time was Director General, helping to drive through the merger of ICRF and Cancer Research Campaign to become Cancer Research UK. 

From January 2003, he was Director of Strategic Development in Fundraising and Supporter Marketing, and has supported the early-stage development of The Francis Crick Institute working with Sir Paul Nurse. Iain now looks after the research funding teams and the strategy functions of Cancer Research UK.


Nick Gaynor

Co-Executive Director, Philanthropic Partnerships & Development

Nick was appointed Executive Director Philanthropy & Partnerships in October 2015. Working with co-Executive Director Frances Milner, Nick is responsible for developing and leading the high value fundraising strategy, driving income growth through individual relationships and partnerships for Cancer Research UK.

Prior to joining CRUK Nick had a 30 year career as an investment banker, both in London and in the US. He worked at, amongst other organisations, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, and was responsible for leading teams focused on high value transactions with major corporates, and the leading global private equity funds. Most recently he led Deutsche Real Estate Asset Management’s fund raising efforts in Europe.

In addition to his work with CRUK Nick maintains business interests in the UK and the US. 


Frances Milner

co-Executive Director, Philanthropic Partnerships & Development

Frances is the Executive Director of Philanthropy & Partnerships, working with co-Executive Director Nick Gaynor, Frances is responsible for developing and leading the high value fundraising strategy, driving income growth through individual relationships and partnerships for Cancer Research UK.

Following a career in banking, Frances joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in the mid 90s as a Fundraising Assistant. She subsequently held a number of roles within Volunteer Fundraising and following the merger in 2002 she was responsible for developing the charity’s Innovation team.

Frances left Cancer Research UK in 2007 to take up the post of Fundraising Director at Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, developing their fundraising team and leading their capital campaign “The Joy of Living” to fund the expansion of the Maggie’s Centres network.

She returned to Cancer Research UK in 2010, as the Supporter Led Fundraising Director, and has subsequently led the Events team, Volunteer Fundraising, High Value Supporter Partnerships, Sports and Volunteering. 


Nick Grant

Executive Director, Policy & Information (Interim)

Nick is the Interim Executive Director of Policy & Information at Cancer Research UK, where he is responsible for the charity’s work with patients, the public and key opinion leaders to influence and improve the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the UK.

Prior to this, he was Director of Strategy, working with teams across the Charity to develop strategies in line with the organisation’s objectives. This included the development of fundraising, research and other core purpose strategies, notably the development of the organisation’s new research strategy, which was launched in April 2014.

Nick joined Cancer Research UK in 2010. He previously spent 10 years as a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, Braxton Associates and Deloitte where he supported clients in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors on strategy, organisation and change projects. He has a Masters in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD business school.


Professor Peter Johnson, MA MD FRCP

Chief clinician

Peter is Chief Clinician for Cancer Research UK. He has responsibility for the strategy and shape of the Charity’s clinical activities, both in clinical research and in the wider context of cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Peter is Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Southampton. His main research interests are in immunology, particularly the use of novel antibody treatments, and in lymphoma, where he is responsible for several national and international trials. He was Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Lymphoma Clinical Studies Group from 2005-2011.


Professor Nic Jones

Chief Scientist

Nic was appointed as Chief Scientist of Cancer Research UK in February 2011 and is responsible for the scientific direction and strategy of the charity.

Nic is also the Director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC), which was established in 2006. The MCRC brings together the key cancer research players in the region to coordinate the research strategy across the basic to clinical research spectrum. Since its creation, the MCRC has grown in strength and has become a model for Cancer Research UK Centres across the UK.

After establishing his own research laboratory in the USA, Nic returned to the UK in 1985 to join the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. He moved on to become Director of the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research from 1999–2011. Nic continues his world leading research as Group Leader of the Institute’s Cell Regulation Laboratory, which studies how cells respond to sudden adverse changes in their surroundings, known as 'environmental stress'.


Ian Kenyon, BSc ACA

Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director, Corporate Resources

Ian joined Cancer Research UK as CFO in 2013.  He is responsible for the delivery of effective support and governance through the teams in Finance, Information Technology Services, Property, Procurement and also oversees programme management for many of the major projects across the organisation.  

Ian qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse before moving into commercial finance roles in industry.  He has spent nearly 20 years in the retail sector working as a senior Finance Director at Kingfisher, Sainsbury’s, Carpetright, Carphone Warehouse and HMV.Externally Ian is Treasurer of Guildford Cathedral.


Elizabeth Sideris, BA MA FCIPD

Executive Director, Human Resources

Elizabeth was appointed Executive Director, Human Resources in August 2009. She is responsible for the people engagement and organisation agenda to ensure that the Charity has effective people sourcing and development strategies.

Elizabeth's career has focused on people and organisation development. Starting in the private sector, initially in oil multinationals, she then worked in financial services where, at CitiGroup, she was appointed to the level of Managing Director. In 2002, Elizabeth joined the Medical Research Council as Executive Director, Human Resources, moving, in 2006, to Cancer Research UK as HR Director.


Sarah Woolnough BSc MSc

Executive Director, Policy and Information BSc MSc

Sarah Woolnough is Executive Director of Policy and Information at Cancer Research UK, with responsibility for policy development, public affairs, campaigning and the Charity’s information functions.

Sarah is responsible for the Charity’s policy development across a wide range of public policy issues – from medical research to cancer services policy. Sarah also leads public affairs and campaigning functions that have successfully campaigned for improvements to radiotherapy treatments and tobacco control measures including a ban on shop displays of cigarettes among other things.

Sarah’s information responsibilities span CancerHelp UK, Cancer Research UK’s dedicated patient website, statistical information, and a range of information campaigns on the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer.

In 2010 Sarah was seconded to the Department of Health to develop the Government’s new cancer strategy – Improving Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer – which sets out an ambitious agenda to make our cancer services world class and commits England to saving an additional 5000 lives per year from cancer by 2015.

Sarah sits on a number of national working groups and is a trustee of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), Action on Smoking and Health and health charity Bliss.

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