Meet our Board of Trustees

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Simon Jenkins, Chairman (Council member)
Journalist, author, columnist and broadcaster, Simon Jenkins, became Chairman of the National Trust on 1 November 2008.

Charles Gurassa, Deputy Chairman (Council member)
Charles was appointed as our deputy chairman in September, 2013.

He is non-executive chairman of Genesis Housing Association, Net Names, and Tragus, Deputy Chairman at easyJet plc, non-executive director of Merlin Entertainments and one of our trustees. He is a former chairman of Virgin Mobile plc, LOVEFiLM, Phones4U, MACH and Alamo/National Rent a Car.

Charles' executive career included roles as Chief Executive of Thomson Travel Group plc, Executive Chairman TUI Northern Europe, Director TUI AG and as Director, Passenger & Cargo business at British Airways.

He is a former non-executive director at Whitbread plc ,trustee of the children’s charity Whizz-Kidz and a member of the development board of the University of York.

Clare Broom (Council member)
Clare lives in Devon and has a background in conservation and countryside management. She spent nearly 30 years working in the University sector and was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor for four years. She has a professional planning qualification and has also worked as a consultant for both the private and public sector.

Clare was Chairman of the National Trust’s Regional Committee for Devon and Cornwall from 2006-10. She was appointed as Chairman of the SW Regional Committee from September 2010. She is an elected member of the National Trust’s Council and a DEFRA appointee on the Environment Agency’s South West Regional Flood Defence Committee.

She is a former Trustee of two County Wildlife Trusts and is a Trustee of the Seale-Hayne Educational Trust. Clare was appointed as a Trustee of the National Trust in September 2011.

Caroline Goodall (Council member)
Caroline Goodall has over 30 years corporate finance experience. She was a partner at Herbert Smith for 23 years specialising in corporate finance and corporate governance. Caroline was Head of Herbert Smith's Global Corporate Division and served on the Firm's Management Committee responsible for the executive day to day management of the Firm. Caroline retired as a partner in Herbert Smith in September 2009 but she retains an advisory role with the Firm as a consultant.

Caroline has been Associate Fellow of Newnham College Cambridge where she was a non-executive member of the College's Governing Body from 2005 to 2008. She has advised the College on its Development Campaign. Caroline is a member of the CBI's Companies Committee and is a member of the CBI Working Group on Corporate Governance developing the CBI's policy on corporate governance.Caroline is a Trustee and Non-Executive Director of the Woodland Trust and is also a member of the charity's Audit and Investment Committee.

Caroline's other current positions include being an Independent Non-Executive of the accountancy firm Grant Thornton where she also sits on the Risk Assurance Committee (the committee responsible for the external audit of Grant Thornton's accounts and risk management). She is also a Non-Executive Director of SVG Capital plc, a FTSE 250 listed company which is a private equity investor and fund management business.

Sir Edward Greenwell
Sir Edward joined the Board of Trustees in September 2010 and is a member of the Appointments Committee.

He was President of the Country Land & Business Association from 2001 to 2003. He has been chairman of the Rural Housing Trust since 2008. He has had extensive experience of local government through membership of a District Council, and of flood defence through a number of different roles.

He is involved in many local organisations in East Anglia. He is currently managing partner of a rural and farming property business with associated commercial, domestic, leisure, and sporting interests in both Scotland and Suffolk. He also has commercial interests in the caravan and holiday park business.

Keith James OBE
Keith James is former Chairman of Eversheds LLP, an international law firm. He is a Cambridge law graduate and a corporate and banking lawyer by training. He looked after the legal affairs of listed companies, banks and finance companies.

Keith is Chairman of Admiral Insurance Company Ltd, Ltd and is a director of their parent company, Admiral Group plc, a FTSE 100 insurance company. he is also Chairman of International Greetings plc, an AIM listed manufacturing company with factories in Europe, USA and Asia. He is a director of Julian Hodge Bank Ltd, a specialist property funder, and Atlantic Venture Capital Ltd, a property investment business. His former directorships include the Bank of Wales plc, Axa Insurance Company Ltd, HTV Group Ltd (ITV Wales and the West) and Hamard Group plc.

Keith has also served on a number of public bodies including the General Advisory Council of the BBC, the Council of Cardiff University and the Advisory Panel of the Cardiff Business School. He has been Chairman of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs and Deputy Chairman of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, an independent think tank he co-founded. He served for a number of years as a member of the NSPCC Justice for Children Appeal Board.

Nichola Johnson (Council member)
Nichola joined the Board of Trustees in September 2010 and is a member of the Appointments Committee. She was until recently Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia and Director of the Museum Leadership Programme.

She trained initially as an archaeologist and then as an art and architectural historian. Much of her career has been in the museum sector and she is particularly interested in leadership and in unlocking creativity within cultural and heritage organisations.

Nichola has chaired the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme & the University Museums Group and is currently chair of the Ruskin Foundation and a trustee of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and York Museums Trusts.

Orna NiChionna (Council member)
Orna was appointed to the Board of Trustees in December 2013. She is also the Soil Association’s appointee on the National Trust’s Council. Orna takes whatever opportunities she can to alert people to the importance and fragility of the complex ecosystems that sustain us, and to the need to stop taking them for granted. She was Chair of the Soil Association from 2007 to 2013 and is still a member of its Council.

Orna studied electronic engineering in Dublin and Cork, holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. She became the first female Partner in McKinsey’s London office in 1990. Her focus at McKinsey, where she spent a total of 18 years, was on consumers and retailers. She hopes and believes that her skills and experience in strategy, finance and governance, as well as her passion for protecting the environment, are helpful in her role on the National Trust’s Board and Council.

She has been a member of the National Trust for many years and has been a Trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum since 2012. Orna has served on various corporate boards since leaving McKinsey in 2001 and is currently a non-executive director of Royal Mail plc.

Christopher Rodrigues (Council member)
Christopher Rodrigues became Chairman of VisitBritain on the 1 January 2007 and Chairman of International Personal Finance in July of the same year, having joined the Board of Provident Financial in January 2007 as Joint Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the International Division (later to become IPF) prior to demerger from Provident Financial plc on 16 July 2007.

He became Chairman of the Windsor Leadership Trust in 2007 and Chairman of The Almeida Theatre in 2008. He had been President and Chief Executive at Visa International from 2004-2006. Between 1996 and 2004 he was Group Chief Executive at Bradford and Bingley, leading the company towards its initial placement in 2000 and entry to the FTSE 100 list in 2002. Between 1988 and 1996 he was Chief Operating Officer and Group Chief Executive at Thomas Cook. Earlier in his career he was a Manager at McKinsey and Co, before spending nine years with American Express.

He was a founder non-Executive Director of the Financial Services Authority (1997-2003). He has been an independent non-Executive Director at Ladbrokes plc (formerly Hilton Group plc) since 2003, is an Executive Committee Member of the World Travel and Tourism Council and in 2010 became a National Trust Council Member.

Christopher is a graduate of Cambridge University and the Harvard Business School. He rowed for Cambridge in the 1970 and 1971 Boat Races, is a past-Chairman of Leander Club and is a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta.

Christopher became a Commander of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honours list for services to British business interests and charitable works in the UK and USA; a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey (Tourism Subject Group) in 2009 and a Visiting Professor at the Cranfield School of Management in 2010.

Carys Swanwick
Carys was born on a farm in Gloucestershire. Having lived and worked in some of the finest landscapes in the country, including a formative childhood in the Lake District and many years in or near to the Peak District, she now divides her time between home in rural south Leicestershire and work in Sheffield.

With a background in biology and conservation she has spent her career in landscape and environmental planning and management. She spent 23 years with Land Use Consultants, acting as a Principal and Director of this multidisciplinary company. This was followed by appointment as a Professor of Landscape at the University of Sheffield where she was head of the Department of Landscape for 10 years and then Director of Learning and Teaching for the Faculty of Social Sciences.

She is passionate about the British Landscape and has devoted much of her working life to promoting its importance to all aspects of national and local life. She has served on the Board of Directors for two charitable bodies, the Landscape Research Group and for the National Urban Forestry Unit and also served for 10 years as an appointed chair of the Forestry Commission’s Regional Advisory Committee, initially for the North of England and then, after re-organisation, for the Yorkshire and the Humber Region.

She joined the Board of Trustees in September 2012 and is a member of the Appointments Committee.

Rick Wills
Rick joined the Board of Trustees in September 2011. His career started as a management trainee at British European Airways in the late 1960’s. He moved on to the Thomson Travel Group where, after spending three years in the USA setting up and acquiring travel companies, he became Management Services Director, before returning to British Airways in 1987.

Between 1990 and 2001 Rick was responsible for Corporate Venturing at the airline, firstly as Managing Director of BA Speedwing and then as Managing Director of BA Enterprises. During this period he established 8 trading entities worldwide – in IT, consulting, offshore processing, retail, media, travel, health, Business Jets and the London Eye.

Since 2001 Rick has pursued a plural career. He was Chairman of the London Eye Company (2001-11), and Chairman of Tyzack Associates and of The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts. Rick is also on the Board of Alexandra Palace and Vice Chair of its regeneration committee.

Rick has chaired Henley Management Colleges’ consulting business and was a non-executive director of Page & Moy, Interflora and BT Contact Central.

Rick lectures at business schools on the subjects of corporate venturing and business innovation.