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Corporate Governance > Membership > Members Biographies

Members Biographies

Photo of John DenningJohn Denning - Chair of the Corporation

John is a Chartered Surveyor and became a Member of the Corporation in March 2013 and was appointed Chair from 1 April 2014.

Having retired from full-time employment in the leisure and retail industries, John holds a range of non-executive positions in the private, public and charity sectors, including Chair of the Retirement Lease Housing Association based in Aldershot, Magistrate on the North Hampshire Bench, Board Trustee of the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for Disabled People in Leatherhead, and Director of Aldershot Town Football Club. Until recently John served as Senior Independent Director and Chairman of the Royal Surrey County Hospital. John’s motivation in these roles is to make a difference to those people and communities that the organisations serve.


Photo of Bill StokoeBill Stokoe - Vice Chair of the Corporation

Bill Stokoe has spent over 30 years as a non-exec in the FE and Learning & Skills sectors. In 1991 he led the board of a major West London FE College through incorporation and then, some ten years later, through a significant and very successful merger with a neighbouring Tertiary College. The resulting combined complex made it one of the top five colleges in the country, with a winning focus on improving provision quality and success rates, as well as providing modern, attractive campuses.

Formerly Deputy Chair at City Lit, the leading Adult Education Institute, Bill was also a non-exec at LSN. Over the years, Bill has involved himself in many aspects of governance within the sector. He served on the DfES/AoC Governance Advisory Group, and was a council member of FEnto, the precursor of LLUK.  In 2005, he served on the Advisory Group for the Foster Review of FE, bringing a chair’s perspective to its deliberations.

A banker by profession, Bill’s extensive experience ranges from the high street to international capital markets, working for both UK and US banks over a period of 30 years. He worked on the US offers for UK privatisations, including British Steel and The UK Electricity Industry. Latterly, he branched out into consultancy in investor relations – including helping both UK and emerging markets companies to list on the US Exchanges. Clients included companies in South Africa, Spain, France, Sweden, Holland and Russia.

In his home town of Guildford, Bill has chaired the board of trustees of Abbot’s Hospital, an historic alms house. He is currently a director of Guildford Vision Group, lobbying for the regeneration of the town centre, and secretary of Surrey 4x4 Response.


Photo of Kevin SykesKevin Sykes - External Member of the Corporation

Kevin has been a Member of the Corporation for 3.5 years, and serves on F&GP Committee and the Estates Development & Infrastructure Committee.

Kevin has been a Construction professional for 28 years and is a Chartered Builder.  Kevin’s involvement with the corporation came about as part of the commitment of his employer to their Corporate Social Responsibility, and as a part of Kevin’s own interest to meet and engage with people outside his own employment sector.  Whilst Kevin’s primary area of assistance to the college is to advise on aspects of Construction and Capital Construction projects, he also actively engages in all other areas associated with the Corporation, F&GP and Estates Committees.


Photo of John StoneJohn Stone - External Member of the Corporation

John has recently retired as Principal at Treloar’s an independent Charity which operates a residential non-maintained special school and specialist college for young people with complex physical disabilities. He was a Board member at the Association of National Specialist Colleges (NATSPEC) and continues as Board member of AoSEC and recently joined the Board of the Guildford College Group where he has just taken over as Chair of the Curriculum & Standards Committee.

Until March 2011 he was Chief Executive of LSN, an independent company set up in 2006 as a successor to a series of government agencies operating in post-compulsory education and training operating from its offices in London, Belfast and across the UK.

Prior to this appointment John was Principal of Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, at the time one of London’s largest and most successful post-16 institutions, overseeing the successful merger of Hammersmith and West London College with Ealing Teriary College in January 2002.

Throughout a 40-year career in Further Education John has served on a large number of Boards and Committees including the London Development Agency, as Vice-Chair of JISC and Chair of the AoC London Region.


Photo of Andrew IsherwoodAndrew Isherwood - External Member of the Corporation

Andrew Isherwood joined the Corporation in November 2016 as Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee. Having qualified as an Accountant over 20 years ago, Andrew has significant experience of Finance across many industries, primarily Banking and Pharmaceuticals, within global audit firms and as a founder of start-ups. He has helped a number of businesses and CFOs to transform their performance, often within rigorously regulated regimes. Coaching, training and education has typically played a role in realising performance improvement.

With two children at local schools, Andrew has a direct interest in helping Guildford's education providers to deliver the best possible service and student outcomes.


Photo of Catherine PrestCatherine Prest – External Member of the Corporation

Catherine Prest has recent and substantial executive and leadership and management experience in general further education (GFE), land-based and sixth form colleges (SFC) as Interim Principal, Deputy Principal and Vice Principal (Curriculum and Quality). As the managing director of her own consultancy company Catherine has assignments in the further education and skills sector that all relate to leading and managing teaching, learning and assessment and raising standards. Catherine is also an Ofsted inspector and has carried out inspections in GFE, SFC and independent learning providers inspecting the effectiveness of leadership and management and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. She is a qualified and experienced teacher and holds an MA in School and College Management.


Photo of Graham CarruthersGraham Carruthers – External Member of the Corporation

Graham Carruthers joined the Corporation in June 2015.

Following graduation from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst he had a career as an army officer serving in The Parachute Regiment, and various Headquarters as a staff officer, in the UK, Northern Ireland, Germany and Norway.

In 1997 he joined the University of Surrey at Guildford where he was the Faculty Manager of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, one of four faculties at the University. Working as the Deputy to the Academic Dean he was responsible for an organisation comprising 8 Academic departments with 350 staff, over 3,500 full time students and a Turnover of circa £35m. He took early retirement in 2011 and now works for himself.

Whilst at Surrey he was appointed to the Corporation of Farnham College (FC) where he served on the Finance and General Purposes Committee. He was also a Trustee of the Farnham Educational Foundation (FEF). On the merger of Farnham College with Guildford College in 2007 the FC Corporation was disbanded but the FEF remained and he re-joined them from 2010-2015 serving as the Vice Chairman from 2013-2015.


Photo of Eddie FarrellEddie Farrell - External Member of the Corporation

Eddie became a Governor in 2011, and has served as a member and Vice chair ( 2013) of the Audit Committee. He retired after 39 years in Human Resource Management with an International Oil Company in 2014, and has been Link Governor for Health and Safety for the past 2 years.


Photo of David HayersDavid Hayers - External Member of the Corporation

David is a Chartered Accountant and has more than 20 years of finance experience, primarily within corporate finance. He has acted as both investor and advisor and has worked with a broad range of companies both in the UK and in Australia. David is currently Head of Growth Finance at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, where he has spent the last 9 years.

David joined the Guildford College Group Corporation in January 2012 and sits on the Finance and General Purposes Committee as well as the Corporation Board.


Photo of Colin ByrneColin Byrne - External Member of the Corporation

Colin Byrne joined the Corporation in 2011. He is the Chair of the Estates, Development and Infrastructure Committee and is a member of the Curriculum and Standards Committee. He is  also the link Governor for the Construction and Engineering Faculty. Colin retired from a career in the Civil Service in 2011 having worked in a variety of roles in Whitehall, Brussels and the Government Office Network. His last role was as Regional Director for the South East.


Photo of Sue SturgeonSue Sturgeon - External Member of the Corporation

Sue Sturgeon held the position of Managing Director of Guildford Borough Council from 2013 to the Summer of 2017. Prior to this Sue was a Director of Guildford Borough Council and has previously worked at four other Local Authorities in Surrey. Sue is an accountant by trade and committed to public service. She works very closely to the political administration to deliver services to 140,000 people. 

Sue was the Council’s Chief Financial Officer and had overall responsibility for the Council’s finances. Guildford Borough Council has a revenue budget of around £150 million and a balance sheet with assets of around £650million.

Councils provide a range of disparate services, but have real challenges to face due to reducing government support, increased customer expectations, the need to ensure the delivery of new affordable homes and encouraging a social conscience.


Jacqueline HughesJacqueline Hughes – Principal & Chief Executive

Jacki has had a thirty year career in Further Education and has worked in a range of colleges initially as a teacher and then developing her career to promote high quality educational opportunities for all. 

In the early years of her career Jacki worked as a paediatric play specialist with hospitalised children. After leaving the health service she owned and managed a childrens day nursery before becoming a teacher in her local FE College.  Areas of responsibility within FE include, designing and developing adult learning opportunities, initiating a suite of 80+ off site learning centres in response to the widening participation agenda and developing  apprenticeship provision to respond to the needs of the local community.

Jacki trained as an Ofsted Inspector in 2002 and worked as an associate inspector until 2016. In 2015 she was part of a team that inspected colleges in Saudi Arabia. 

Jacki has held a range of non-executive positions in the private, public and charity sector including; seven years as an elected member of the Institute for Learning (IfL), five years as a board member of the Preston Vocational Centre and six years as a board member for Progress, a charity enabling young people with learning difficulties to enter employment.

Whilst working as the Deputy Principal and Interim Principal at Preston College from 2002 she led the robust improvement agenda, increasing achievement rates and stabilising the finances. For the last six years Jacki has worked with a number of colleges  specialising in improving quality and stabilising the curriculum offer.


Fiona Malley – Support Staff MemberFiona Malley

Fiona Malley joined the examination staff in 2012 as an Invigilator and then took the post at Merrist Wood as Examinations Administrator in 2015, then was promoted to Examinations Officer in 2017.

Fiona trained as a Florist at Merrist Wood and gained a Level 2 & 3 BTEC qualification then became self-employed for a year before taking the post of Invigilatorin 2012. Currently Fiona is studying a BA Hons Degree in business management through the Open University and is hoping to put what she learns into practice through her Exams Officer role and the role of staff member on the Corporation Board of Governors.

Fiona feels very strongly about the Guildford College Group and its students experience whilst studying here, she wants to see every student exceed above and beyond. Fiona's son, who has a disability, attended the College and exceeded above what was expected of him due to the hard work of the College staff. Fiona's husband also studied at Merrist Wood and gained a new qualification as Arborist at the age of 40, so she has seen the potential from different age groups.