Chief Executive and Executive Board
Michelle Mitchell OBE
Chief Executive Officer
Michelle Mitchell OBE joined in November 2018. She is responsible for the overall leadership and management of CRUK, the world’s leading charitable funder of cancer research.
Since taking the helm, Michelle has led the charity through the COVID-19 pandemic, putting it on a strong footing to continue its mission of beating cancer. She has also set the charity on an ambitious new course with its long-term strategy, Making Discoveries, Driving Progress, Bringing Hope, which sets out how it will bring about a world where everyone can lead longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.
Michelle is a senior voluntary sector leader who has transformed a number of not-for-profit organisations to better their purpose and global impact. She has a successful track record of delivering long term value, collaboration and innovation. She believes that by working together, and building the strongest possible team, we will beat cancer.
She is a member of the National Cancer Board and the NHS Genomics Board.
Before joining Cancer Research UK, Michelle was CEO of the MS Society for five years and a founding member of the Progressive MS Alliance: a global scientific and research joint venture and launched the STOP MS £100m appeal. Prior to that, she was Director General at Age UK, the UK’s largest older people’s charity where she worked for nearly a decade and was at the forefront of national debates on health, care and welfare.
Michelle has extensive non-executive experience, which has included NED at NHS England, which sets the priorities and direction for the NHS in England and a Trustee of the King’s Fund, a leading health policy think-tank.
Michelle has a BA in Economics, an MA in Politics and Public Administration and an International Executive Diploma from INSEAD.
Michelle was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to the charity sector.
Chief Operating Officer
Angela joined Cancer Research UK in April 2021 as Chief Operating Officer and leads the Charity's finance, people and technology teams, working across our organisation to ensure we have appropriate governance and an operating model that enables us to be as effective and efficient as we can at delivering on our mission to beat cancer.
Angela has extensive experience as a commercial executive, most recently at Debenhams where she led their retail, supply chain and technology teams and prior to that Direct Line Group, Sainsburys and Asda/Walmart. In these organisations she led and managed both technical and business change, and as part of the broader executive led the organisations through their cultural transformations.
She was the executive sponsor for Corporate Social Responsibility at both Debenhams & Direct Line and for a number of years sat on the Advisory Board for The Tech Partnership (previously E-skills), working with peers and counterparts in the information technology (IT) service sector to improve IT skills in education and the workplace.
Angela is a Non Executive Board Member of HM Land Registry, where she sits on the Audit Committee, and provides support to the operations, transformation and technology teams.
Angela has a degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Bristol.
Executive Director, Marketing, Fundraising & Engagement
Phil joined Cancer Research UK in December 2019 and leads the Charity's Fundraising and Marketing teams, working with our supporters, donors and staff to raise the funds which will help us beat cancer sooner.
Prior to joining CRUK he was Chief Marketing Officer at the BBC and before that had a long career at Diageo, where among other roles he led the company's UK consumer and customer marketing teams, and the Baileys and Smirnoff brands globally.
Phil and his team are responsible for the brand, communications and revenue generation to allow the Charity to meet its ambitious goals.
Phil has a Masters in English from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from the London Business School.
Iain Foulkes PhD
Executive Director, Research & Innovation / CEO of Cancer Research Technology
Iain was appointed to the Board in 2009 and is responsible for our research strategy and its implementation. He oversees CRUK's portfolio of research across discovery science, translational research, clinical and population research. This research portfolio includes our international Grand Challenges, our clinical trial portfolio and oversight of our Institutes and Centres.
As CEO of Cancer Research Technology he is also responsible for ensuring our research is developed and commercialised, often in partnership with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to ensure the outputs of research reach patients as rapidly and effectively as possible.
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 and joining Cancer Research UK.
Executive Director, Strategy and Philanthropy
Nick is the Executive Director of Strategy and Philanthropy at Cancer Research UK, where he is responsible for developing the organisation’s long-term strategy and leads the Philanthropy directorate – a strategic growth priority for the charity.
Nick has been a member of the Executive Board for seven years, and has also held roles as Executive Director, International Partnerships; Interim Executive Director of Policy & Information, and as Director of Strategy.
Prior to Cancer Research UK, Nick 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 from INSEAD business school.
Nick is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Union for International Cancer Control, the global membership and advocacy body
Ian Walker Bsc, PhD, MBA
Executive Director for Policy, Information and Communications
Ian was appointed to the Board in 2021 and is responsible for developing and implementing our strategic priorities across policy, information and communications.
Ian has over 15 years of combined experience dedicated to advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
First appointed as a CRUK Director in 2013, Ian has held several high impact roles within the charity across basic, translational and clinical research. He brings a wealth of relevant experience to the board, having advised on several of the charity’s key campaigns to inform government policy around the provision of life-saving cancer research, including the push for the protection and restoration of clinical research activity within the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ian is a trustee for the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and has previously held a Non-executive role in the biotechnology sector.
Ian holds a Biochemistry BSc with honours and a PhD from the University of Leeds. He also holds an MBA with distinction from Warwick Business School.
Clinical and Scientific Advisors
Professor Ketan (KJ) Patel PhD FRS FMedSci MRCP
Professor Patel was appointed as CRUK’s Chief Scientist in October 2022. He provides scientific leadership to the charity’s ambitions, working with our research community to deliver our research strategy which focuses on the importance of discovery science to unlock new and better ways to beat cancer.
He is Director of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the University of Oxford. Prior to this, he was a tenured principal investigator at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, and Professor for molecular medicine and stem cell genomics at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Patel trained in medicine in London, and his postdoctoral research led to the discovery that BRCA2 works by repairing damaged DNA.
His subsequent work has remained focussed on DNA damage, and specifically on how living cells repair DNA crosslinks. These crosslinks can be exploited to kill cancer cells, for example the drug cisplatin causes crosslinking in cancer cells, but they can also occur naturally. Specific defects in the molecular machinery that repairs DNA crosslinking is associated with the illness Fanconi anaemia. KJ’s recent work has shown that metabolism releases aldehydes that are a potent source of such endogenous DNA damage.
Cancer Research UK has funded Professor Patel’s work in the past, including his research into cancer cachexia, the debilitating wasting condition many people with cancer experience in the later stages of their disease, which we still don’t fully understand. His findings have also contributed to the organisation's improved understanding of what drives the development of cancer, such as how alcohol exposure can cause cancer, opening up new opportunities for prevention, detection and treatment.
Professor Patel is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences UK and is also a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.
Professor Charles Swanton FRCP PhD FMedSci FRS
Charles was appointed Chief Clinician for Cancer Research UK in October 2017. 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.
Charles completed his MDPhD in 1999 at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories and Cancer Research UK clinician/scientist medical oncology training in 2008. He combines his laboratory research at the Francis Crick Institute with clinical duties at UCLH and as director of the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre, focussed on how tumours evolve over space and time. Charles has helped to define the branched evolutionary histories of solid tumours, processes that drive cancer cell-to-cell variation in the form of new cancer mutations or chromosomal instabilities, and the impact of such cancer diversity on effective immune surveillance and clinical outcome.
Charles was made Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in April 2011, appointed Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015, Napier Professor in Cancer by the Royal Society in 2016, appointed Cancer Research UK’s Chief Clinician in 2017, and elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018.
Charles was awarded the Stand up to Cancer Translational Cancer Research Prize (2015), Glaxo Smithkline Biochemical Society Prize (2016), San Salvatore prize for Cancer Research (2017), the Ellison-Cliffe Medal, Royal Society of Medicine (2017), recipient of the Gordon Hamilton Fairley Medal (2018), the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research (2018), the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Paul A. Bunn Scientific Award for achievements in lung cancer (2018), and the ESMO Translation Award (2019).
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