Tabbed information block


The composition of Council is determined by the College's Statutes.

There are between 19 and 23 members of the Council, the majority of whom are lay members, including the Chairman and Deputy Chairman. Also included in its membership are representatives of the staff of the College and of the student body. None of the lay members receive any payment, apart from the reimbursement of expenses, for the work they do for the College.

Council consists of the following persons:

  • The Chairman
  • The President ex officio
  • The Provost ex officio
  • The Chief Financial Officer ex officio
  • ex officio Members of the senior staff of the College chosen so as to reflect the breadth of disciplines and executive responsibility within the University
  • 1 Elected Member, elected by and from among the academic staff
  • At least 9 and not more than 13 External Members, co-opted by the Council
  • The President of the Imperial College Union ex officio

Procedures for the appointment, election and co-option of members of the Council, including procedures for the filling of casual vacancies, are prescribed by Ordinance.

Members (other than ex officio members) are appointed for a term of four years and are eligible for re-appointment except that members shall not normally be appointed for more than two consecutive terms.


Council Members
Member of CouncilBiography

  External Members


Sir Philip Dilley (Chair)

Sir Philip

Sir Philip Dilley graduated from Imperial College London in 1976 with a BSc in Civil Engineering.Sir Phillip has served on the Council of Imperial College London since 2011, and was appointed as its Chair in 2015.Following his graduation from Imperial, Sir Philip joined Arup, and was its Executive Chairman from 2009 to 2014. He was the Chairman of the Environment Agency between 2014 and 2016. From 2011 to 2013, he was a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group of business leaders from sectors of strategic importance, and chaired London First between 2012 and 2014. He is currently a non-executive Chairman of architects Woods Bagot and a non-executive board member of Grosvenor.Sir Philip was knighted in 2014 for services to Consulting Engineering.

Mr Christopher Brinsmead CBE

Chris Brinsmead

Chris Brinsmead is an alumnus of the University of Nottingham and Alliance Manchester Business School. Chris worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over thirty years and has held executive leadership roles with ICI and AstraZeneca. During his career, he led the commercialisation of a range of cancer medicines and the management of the ICI Pharma businesses in Asia, and served as President and Chair of AstraZeneca UK. He was President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry from 2008 to 2010, and since 2010, has been a non-executive director on several boards including UDG plc, Domino Printing Sciences plc and the Wesleyan Assurance Society. He chairs two private companies, Proveca Ltd and Bamburgh Capital Ltd., and has been a member of the Council since 2014. Chris champions Life Sciences for the UK Government, and was awarded a CBE in 2015 for services to UK life sciences.

Mr Iain Conn

Iain Conn

Iain Conn graduated from Imperial in 1985 with a BEng in Chemical Engineering. Iain has been the Group CEO of Centrica plc since January 2015, and was previously the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Refining and Marketing, of BP. Until 2014 he was the Senior Independent Director of Rolls-Royce Group plc, and is currently a non-executive director of BT. Iain is Chairman of the Advisory Board of Imperial College Business School, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for European Reform, a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists and a member of the CBI’s President’s Committee. Iain is also a member of the BritishAmericanBusiness International Advisory Board, the EUCERS Advisory Board and a Trustee of Movement to Work. Previously, he was a member of the advisory board of the Centre for China in the World Economy and of the Schwarzman School at Tsinghua University, China.

Mr Toby Courtauld

Toby Courtauld

Toby Courtauld is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. Toby has served as Chief Executive Officer of Great Portland Estates plc since 2002. Before that, he worked at MEPC from 1991 to 2002. He is a director of the New West End Company and a non-executive director of Liv-Ex Limited. He was President of the British Property Federation in 2011.

Mr John Cullen

John Cullen

John Cullen is an alumnus of the University of Hull. John was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Aon Risk Solutions EMEA, a role encompassing the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa, in 2015. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with PwC in London, John became a specialist in insurance and banking services. He joined Aon in 1994, and was originally based in Hong Kong where he was Chief Financial Officer for Aon’s operations in Asia before returning to the UK in 2002. Up until 2015, John was Chief Financial Officer of Aon’s global Insurance and Reinsurance businesses. John is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Sir Jonathan Michael

Sir Michael

Sir Jonathan qualified as a doctor at St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School. He is the chief medical officer of Idox health, an IT Solutions Company that focuses on delivering innovative solutions to the healthcare market, integrating technology and healthcare pathways to enable clinicians and health specialists to spend more time on patient welfare. Following a 20-year career as a clinical nephrologist, Sir Jonathan held a number of senior management positions in the NHS. He was appointed Clinical Director, then Medical Director, and finally Chief Executive of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust. In 2000 he was appointed Chief Executive of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust. In 2007 he was appointed Managing Director of BT Health. In 2010, he rejoined the NHS as Chief Executive of Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust. He left the Trust in 2014 to join 6PM Group (now Idox Health). In 2007 Sir Jonathan chaired an independent inquiry into the access to health care for children and adults with learning disabilities, and in 2016, he was appointed to provide independent oversight of plans for a “single hospital service” in Manchester. Sir Jonathan became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) in 1985, and was knighted in the New Year's Honours in 2005 for services to the NHS.

Ms Sara Murray OBE

Sarah Muarray

Sara Murray is an alumnus of the University of Oxford. Sara founded Ninah Consulting, which uses proprietary software to advise multinational clients on marketing effectiveness. In 1999, she founded Ltd, which owns the brand She then founded and now runs Buddi, a company that provides technology and services for the remote health and location monitoring of vulnerable people. Sara is a SME Advisor to the Government Procurement Service. From 2009 to 2015, she served as a non-executive director of the government’s Technology Strategy Board and was a non-executive director of Schering Health Care. She is a founding board member of Seedcamp start-up school for technology entrepreneurs. Sara was named as the National Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009, and was awarded an OBE for services to entrepreneurship and innovation in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2012.

Dame Alison Nimmo 

Alison Nimmo

Alison Nimmo is an alumnus of the University of Manchester. Alison has been the Chief Executive and Second Commissioner of The Crown Estate since 2012. The Estate’s assets range from prime real estate in London’s West End, to the UK’s seabed. In the last financial year it has a capital value of £13.1bn and returned over £328.8 million in profits to the Treasury. Alison worked on the London 2012 Games for over 8 years, originally as part of the bid team and then subsequently as Director of Design and Regeneration at the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). At the ODA she led on the overall design, planning and early delivery of most of the venues and the parklands for London's multi-award winning Olympic Park. Previous roles have included: Chief Executive of Sheffield One, a seminal city centre regeneration programme; and Project Director of Manchester Millennium. She is a chartered surveyor and town planner by profession and was awarded a CBE for services to urban regeneration in 2004. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and has an Honorary Degree from Sheffield Hallam University. Alison is: a non-executive director of the Berkeley Group; a trustee of the UK Green Building Council; and chair of the CBI’s Economic Growth Board. In July 2016, Alison was awarded an Outstanding Alumni Award from University of Manchester.

Dr Mahnaz Safa

Mahnaz Safa

Mahnaz Safa is a graduate of Imperial College London, with a PhD in Engineering. Mahnaz is Head of Markets, Europe and America, at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. From 2013 to 2016, she was a managing director of Citi EMEA Banking. Prior to that she was at UBS, where she headed the EMEA Debt Capital Markets business. Mahnaz has previously served on the British Business Bank’s investment committee and has advised new platforms for working capital finance and is an investor in start-ups in the FinTech space. She has co-chaired UBS and Citi’s women’s leadership executive committees, and promotes STEM initiatives in education. She is also a patron of the Academy of Ancient Music.

Professor Jeremy Sanders CBE FRS

Jeremy Sanders

Jeremy Sanders is an alumnus of Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge. He is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. Jeremy’s research career has included wide-ranging contributions to organic, inorganic, biological and physical chemistry, recognised by his election to the Royal Society in 1995 and, amongst other awards, the Davy Medal in 2009.

From 2006 to 2010, Jeremy served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, overseeing its 800th anniversary celebrations. He was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs at the University of Cambridge between 2011 and 2015, where he was responsible for the University’s 11,000 staff, its environmental and energy policy, relationships with the local community and the North West Cambridge Development. Jeremy was Chair of the Chemistry panel for the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and is currently a Trustee of Storey's Field Community Trust. He was awarded a CBE for services to scientific research in 2014.

Mr Chris Williams

Chris Williams

Christopher Williams is an alumnus of the University of Birmingham. Christopher is a Partner at the global financial services firm, Perella Weinberg Partners. Prior to joining the firm, he was Executive Vice Chairman of the Global Financial Institutions Group at Credit Suisse, where he also served as an Executive Board Member for Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) and Credit Suisse International.

Previously, Christopher was Co-Head of the Global Financial Institutions Group at Citigroup, where he was a member of the Global Investment Banking Committee, and spent 13 years at Goldman Sachs, ultimately rising to the positions of Managing Director and Head of European Banks Advisory. He began his career in mergers and acquisitions at Bankers Trust International and Hill Samuel & Co. Christopher is currently also a Donation Governor of Christ’s Hospital in West Sussex.


Internal Members


President, Professor Alice Gast

Alice Gast

Professor Alice P. Gast graduated from the University of Southern California and Princeton University. She was a faculty member at Stanford University from 1985 to 2001, and was promoted to full professor in 1995. Professor Gast became President of Imperial College London in 2014. Prior to her appointment at Imperial, she was the 13th President of Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, from August 2006 to August 2014. Other leadership roles include serving as the Vice-President for Research and Associate Provost and Robert T. Haslam Chair in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2001 until 2006. Professor Gast’s academic interest is in surface and interfacial phenomena, in particular the behaviour of complex fluids. She has co-authored numerous scientific publications and a classic textbook on colloid and surface phenomena. She is a member of a number of international advisory committees and boards including the Board of Trustees for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, the Academic Research Council for the Singapore Ministry of Education, and the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Professor Gast was made a United States Science Envoy to the Caucasus and Central Asia in 2010, and in 2012 was appointed to the board of directors of Chevron Corporation

Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley FRS

Ian Wamsley

Professor Ian Walmsley FRS became the second Provost of Imperial College London in September 2018Before joining Imperial, Professor Walmsley served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Hooke Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford. Professor Walmsley graduated from Imperial with first class honours in physics in 1980, and completed his PhD at the University of Rochester before working as a postdoc at Cornell University. He became Assistant Professor of Optics at the University of Rochester in 1988, and held a number of roles there before joining the University of Oxford in 2001 as Professor of Experimental Physics. He was also a Senior Visiting Fellow at Princeton University. He was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) of the University of Oxford in 2009, becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) in 2015. At Oxford, he led the Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub and headed up the creation of the Rosalind Franklin InstituteIn recognition of his contributions to quantum optics and ultrafast optics, Professor Walmsley was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2012. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the Optical Society of America – where he currently serves as President. He was a member of the EPSRC Physics Strategic Advisory Team and was on the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics’ Science Advisory Board.

Chief Financial Officer, Mr Muir Sanderson

Muir Sanderson

Muir Sanderson is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. Muir was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer of Imperial in 2011. Before joining the College, he worked at the management consultancy Booz & Company for 17 years and was made a partner in 2001. At Booz & Company, he worked with clients from a range of industries, notably financial services, the public sector and manufacturers of consumer goods, advising on and supporting the implementation of financial and business strategies and held senior leadership roles including UK Managing Partner from 2007 to 2010. He was a member of the team which created Booz & Company from the organisation Booz Allen & Hamilton in 2008. Prior to joining Booz & Company, Muir worked in manufacturing engineering for the international automotive components company T&N plc.

Professor Francisco Veloso

Francisco Veloso

Francisco Veloso is an alumnus of the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon and the Lisbon School of Economics and Management. He gained his PhD in Technology Management and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Veloso joined Imperial College Business School in 2017, having previously served as Dean of the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics since 2012, and where he was also Chair and Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Between 2002 and 2012, he was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, when he was promoted to full Professor in 2011. He was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Industry Studies Fellowship in 2008.

Professor Tom Welton

Tom Welton

Tom Welton graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Sussex. Professor Welton joined the Department of Chemistry at Imperial in 1993 as Lloyds of London Tercentenary Fellow. He became a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry in 1995 and, subsequently, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2000 and Reader in 2002, before being promoted to Professor in 2004. His research interests are focused on sustainable and ‘green’ chemistry, making chemicals and related industries both environmentally and economically sustainable. He has held departmental positions of Examinations Officer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, and has been a member of a wide range of strategic College Committees and Boards. In 2017, he was awarded an OBE for his services to diversity in education. Beyond the College, Professor Welton is Chair-elect of the Heads of Chemistry UK and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry Council, as well as a member of the steering group for the Royal Society’s diversity programme.

Professor Nigel Brandon

Nigel Brandon

Nigel Brandon is an alumnus of Imperial College London, having graduated with a BSc in 1981 and a PhD in 1984. Professor Brandon joined the then TH Huxley School for Environment, Earth Sciences and Engineering at Imperial in 1998 as Senior Lecturer in Electrochemical Engineering, and transferred to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemical Technology in 2001.

He was appointed to the Shell Chair in Sustainable Development in Energy in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering in 2004. Professor Brandon was the Director of the Energy Futures Lab from 2005 until 2014, and was its founder as a College Global Challenge Institute in 2009. He has been Dean of the Faculty of Engineering since October 2017, having previously been the Faculty’s Vice-Dean (Research) since May 2016. He is the Director of the Sustainable Gas Institute and the BG Chair in Sustainable Gas. Professor Brandon’s research is focused on electrochemical devices for energy applications, with a particular focus on fuel cells, electrolysers, and batteries. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008, and was awarded an OBE for services to UK-China science in 2011.

Professor Jonathan Weber

Jonathan Weber

Jonathan Weber is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. Professor Weber joined St Mary's Hospital in 1982, and then worked at the Institute of Cancer Research and at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital. He has been the Jefferiss Professor of Communicable Diseases and Genitourinary Medicine at Imperial since 1991. He has held the role of Vice-Dean (Research) within the Faculty of Medicine since 2013, having previously been Deputy Principal (Research) from 2011. Professor Weber was appointed Director of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre in 2014 and has been Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine since October 2017. Professor Weber is a clinician by training and has undertaken extensive research on HIV and AIDS, HTLV-I and other sexually transmitted infections. He is currently leading an international HIV vaccine efficacy programme, on European Community funding.

The Clerk to the Court and Council  

College Secretary, Mr John Neilson

John Neilson


John Neilson is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge. John joined Imperial College London in May 2012 following a career in Whitehall, which began in the Department of Energy, where he worked on several privatisations, including gas and electricity. In the late 1980s, he worked in the Economic Secretariat of the Cabinet Office, before becoming Principal Private Secretary to John Wakeham when he was Energy Secretary. In the 1990s, he led the Department of Trade and Industry teams advising on telecommunications and then aerospace and defence, before becoming an executive board member of the gas and electricity regulator Ofgem. From 2005 until 2011, John was Director of Research Base in the Department for Business Innovation & Skills and its predecessors, where he advised on the £6 billion spent annually on public research in universities and institutes. He sat on five Research Councils. In his final civil service post before joining Imperial, John was Director of Financial Management in the Ministry of Defence, which included his being a non-executive director of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Met Office.

Council Members