Chief Executive and Executive Board

Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive

Sir Harpal Kumar, MA MEng MBA DSc (Hon)

Chief Executive Officer 

Harpal gained a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School.  He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Manchester and the University of Newcastle.  He was knighted in the 2016 New Years Honours List.

After a brief period working as a research scientist with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Harpal worked for four years in the London office of McKinsey and Co., specialising in healthcare.  He then became CEO of The Papworth Trust, which focuses on pioneering rehabilitation services for people with acquired and congenital disabilities.

Harpal left Papworth in 1997 to become founding CEO of Nexan Group, a venture capital-backed medical device company, creating and marketing novel cardio-respiratory monitoring technologies to reduce premature mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.

Harpal joined Cancer Research Technology (CRT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK) as Chief Executive in October 2002.  In addition to his role with CRT, he became Chief Operating Officer of Cancer Research UK in July 2004, before becoming Chief Executive in April 2007.

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 is a member of the National Cancer Transformation Board and chairs the National Cancer Advisory Group.  He is a member of the MedCity Advisory Board and is a Director of UICC.


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, marketing and mass fundraising which feeds into our overall revenue generation enabling 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 Philanthropic & 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 Philanthropic & 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, International Partnerships

Nick is responsible for building the international network of the Charity, ensuring that it works effectively with partners around the world.  He has previously held the role of Interim Executive Director of Policy & Information.

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 Karen Vousden CBE FRS FRSE FMedSci 

Chief Scientist (from July 2016)


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.

Get in touch

If you require further information or have any comments please get in touch.

020 7242 0200

Contact us

Share this page