Cancer Research UK, a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, is governed by a Council of Trustees, the Charity’s board of directors.
Council’s role is to set the Charity’s strategic direction, monitor the delivery of the Charity’s objects, uphold its values and governance and guide, advise and support the Chief Executive, who leads the Senior Management Team towards achieving the Charity’s vision and purpose.
The Board of Council of Trustees is led by the Chairman, Mr Michael Pragnell.
If you are interested in becoming a Trustee, please go to our jobs and careers website to read more about the role.
Michael Pragnell MA MBA (Chairman)
Appointed 2010. Michael Pragnell was appointed a Trustee in March 2010 and Chairman in November 2010. He is a member of all Council Committees, except the Audit Committee, which he attends at the invitation of the committee chairman, and is a Director of Cancer Research Technology.
Michael is a non-executive director of VINCI SA and a member of the board of INSEAD. He was the founder Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta AG, based in Switzerland from its public listing in 2000 until his retirement at the end of 2007; he was a member of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee.
He led the creation of Syngenta to become world leader in crop protection following the merger of the agrochemicals and plant bio-science businesses of AstraZeneca and Novartis. Michael was previously an Executive Director of AstraZeneca plc having joined Zeneca plc in 1995. He was a member of the supervisory board of the Anglo-Dutch joint-venture Advanta BV and a non-executive Director of David S Smith plc from 1996 to 2000.
From 1975 to 1995 he worked for Courtaulds plc and was appointed to the Board as CEO Courtaulds Coatings in 1990; he became Chief Financial Officer in 1992. Michael was born in 1946 and is married with two sons. He has a degree in Modern Languages from Oxford University and an MBA from INSEAD.
Wendy Becker BA MBA (Deputy Chairman)
Appointed 2011. Wendy is a non-executive Director of NHS England and Whitbread plc as well as a Trustee of the Prince’s Trust and the Design Museum. In addition, she is a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Said Business School, Oxford, a member of the Finance Committee of Oxford University Press and a member of the Board of Visitors of the Dickey Centre at Dartmouth College. In her executive career, Wendy was CEO of Jack Wills Limited, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Vodafone, CEO of TalkTalk Residential and a long-serving partner at McKinsey & Company.
Professor Sir Adrian Bird CBE FRS FRSE
Appointed 2010. Professor Bird is chairman of the Research Strategy Committee. He retired as Deputy Chairman of the Wellcome Trust on 31 October 2010, having been appointed a Governor in October 2000, and Deputy Chairman in April 2007. He has held the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh since 1990 and is Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology at the University. His research interests are the structure and function of the mammalian genome and in particular the role of DNA methylation.
Professor Bird was a member of the Science Planning Committee for The Francis Crick Institute, a collaboration between Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, University College London (UCL), Imperial College London and King’s College London. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal ‘Molecular Cell’. Awards include the 1999 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine and the 2008 Charles Léopold Mayer Prize of the French Academy of Sciences. He is a Trustee of the Kirkhouse Trust and of the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. Professor Bird was awarded a Knighthood in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list.
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz MA PhD FRS FRCP FMedSci
Appointed 2016. Following a distinguished academic and clinical research career and prior to his appointment as Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge in 2010, Sir Leszek’s roles included Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council and Deputy Rector of Imperial College London. He was also a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. His work in vaccines included Europe’s first trial of a vaccine for human papillomavirus to prevent cervical cancer, research conducted at the University of Cardiff and funded by Cancer Research UK. He was knighted in 2001 for his pioneering work in vaccines.
Carolyn Bradley MA (Cantab)
Appointed 2015. Carolyn has extensive marketing and commercial experience from her executive career with Tesco, where her roles included Group Brand Director, UK Marketing Director, and Chief Operating Officer for Tesco.com.
She is now a non-executive Director with Legal & General Group plc, Marston’s plc and The Mentoring Foundation. In addition she works as an independent advisor advising on business and marketing strategy. Carolyn graduated from Cambridge University before joining Tesco, where she led many innovations such as the Clubcard loyalty scheme, the ‘Every Little Helps’ service campaign and the grocery home delivery business. Carolyn has also been a Trustee for the DrinkAware Trust.
Catherine Brown LLB (Hons)
Appointed 2015. Catherine has broad experience in strategy and organisational change, having previously been Group Strategy Director of Lloyds Banking Group, Executive Director HR of the Bank of England, and Chief Operating Officer of Apax Partners. Catherine is now a non-executive board member of the Cabinet Office and holds board positions in private equity backed financial services and technology companies. She is Chairman of The Plastic Economy, a manufacturer of low cost prosthetic limbs from recycled plastic. She is a trustee of Blue Cross and also has charity projects across the Himalayan region. She spent her early career as a banker before joining McKinsey and subsequently ran her own management consultancy for five years before moving into private equity at Apax Partners.
Appointed 2016. Peter Chambré is Chairman of a number of life science and healthcare companies. He is Chairman of Cancer Research Technology Ltd, the commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK; Immatics Biotechnologies, a company developing new cancer immunotherapy treatments; and OneMed Group, the leading distributor of medical supplies to hospitals and care homes in Northern Europe. He is a Director of Spectris plc, a FTSE 250 Company, and also of Imperial Innovations plc. He was Chief Executive Officer of Cambridge Antibody Technology plc from 2002 until its acquisition by AstraZeneca in July 2006.
Dr Adrian Crellin MA FRCR FRCP
Appointed 2012. Specialising in radiotherapy, Dr Crellin is a consultant Clinical Oncologist. He was recently Vice-President of the Royal College of Radiologists and Dean of the Faculty of Clinical Oncology and is currently Chair of the NHS Radiotherapy Clinical Reference Group and the Department of Health's National Clinical Lead on Proton Beam Therapy. This is a new radiotherapy treatment which targets cancer tumours more accurately while causing less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
In December 2011, the Government announced plans to introduce proton beam therapy for cancer patients in England. Dr Crellin's research expertise includes clinical trials and new treatments for pancreatic and oesophageal cancer, both priorities for Cancer Research UK. He studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and completed his medical training at three London Hospitals: St Bartholomew's, The Middlesex and Mount Vernon. He is a former Clinical Director at the St James' Institute of Oncology in Leeds.
Professor Alexander Eggermont MD PhD
Appointed 2016. Professor Eggermont is Director General of the Institut Gustave Roussy Cancer Center in Paris, one of Europe’s leading cancer research institutes. He is Professor of Oncology at the Paris-Sud University and also Professor of Surgical Oncology and Endowed Professor of International Networking in Cancer Research at the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam. He holds the Joseph Maisin Chair in Oncology at the Catholic University of Louvain and was conferred the honour of Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur in January 2015.
Professor Eggermont obtained his PhD in tumour immunology at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam in 1987. His clinical specialties include immunotherapy, melanoma, sarcoma and regional therapy techniques as well as general drug development. His basic research experience is in tumour immunology, advanced in vivo imaging models and tumour pathophysiology. He is a Fellow of the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute, USA.
Professor Eggermont is President of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences and President of Cancer Core Europe. He chairs the Adjuvant Therapy Committee European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Melanoma Group and is a past chair of the EORTC Melanoma Group.
Professor Stephen T Holgate CBE FMedSci
Appointed 2014. Professor Holgate is Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine in Southampton. Over 35 years he has studied asthma and related illnesses using a range of scientific approaches including epidemiology, pathology and immunology, pharmacology, experimental medicine and genetics with a strong translational emphasis.
Professor Holgate advises the UK Government and EU on issues relating to Medical Research and Air Pollution and Chemical Hazards. He is Chair of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 Main Panel for Medicine, Health and Life Sciences for assessing research quality and impact in all UK Universities. He is Chair of the Science Council of the European Respiratory Society.
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
Appointed 2014. David is a chartered accountant and a non-executive Director and Chairman of the Audit Committees of Premier Oil plc and Drax Group plc, a non-executive Director and Chairman of the Remuneration Committee of HellermannTyton plc, and Deputy Chairman of the Governors of the University of the Arts London. He spent almost 30 years as a Partner at Ernst & Young, and served as the lead audit Partner for numerous FTSE 100 companies during his career at the firm, and was also a member of the firm’s governing council for 15 years. He was Deputy Chairman of the Financial Reporting Review Panel from 2008 to 2012 and has served on a number of national and international professional bodies relating to financial reporting and the accountancy profession.
Andrew Palmer FCA (Treasurer)
Appointed 2014. Andrew was formerly Group Finance Director of Legal & General plc where he had also held a number of financial and operational roles in the asset management, insurance and international businesses. Until April 2013 Andrew had been Senior Independent Director of SEGRO, the Industrial REIT. He is a non-executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at both Direct Line Insurance Group plc and Royal London Group plc. Andrew is also a panel member of the Financial Reporting Review Panel of the Financial Reporting Council and is a Trustee and Treasurer of the Royal School of Needlework. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Professor Sir Bruce Ponder FRCP FMedSci FRS
Appointed 2015. Bruce Ponder is Emeritus Professor of Oncology at Cambridge and a Senior Group Leader in the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He was formerly Li Ka Shing Professor of Oncology, Founding Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and of the Cambridge Cancer Centre, and co-Director of both the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre and of the Strangeways Research Laboratories for Genetic Epidemiology.
Bruce Ponder trained in internal medicine in London, and then did his PhD at ICRF (now the Francis Crick Institute). He trained in Medical Oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University. His clinical and research career was in the genetics of susceptibility to cancer.
Over the past 20 years he has led the development of a new laboratory and clinical centre for cancer research in Cambridge. Milestones have been the establishment of the Strangeways Laboratories for Genetic Epidemiology in 1997, the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre in 2001, the CRUK Cambridge Institute in 2007, and the designation of Cambridge as a CRUK Major Cancer Centre in 2015. He was knighted in 2008 for ”services to medicine”.
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