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Christine Swabey appointed Chair of Council

Published: 11 September 2020

Christine Swabey has been appointed as the new Chair of Council at St George’s. 

Beginning her three-year term on 1 October 2020, Christine will follow current Chair Michael Draper to lead Council in providing strategic direction to the University’s executive team, support the Principal and have oversight of St George’s as a whole.  

Christine joins St George’s already having gained significant experience in the role of Chair in a range of other organisations and with a broad and long-standing interest in secondary and tertiary education and healthcare. She brings experience to St George’s as a trustee of the Manchester-based Northern Consortium, a collaboration of ten UK universities delivering transnational educational programmes with international partners to facilitate the entry of international students to UK universities, where she is presently coming to the end of her term. She has also previously served as Vice Chair of Kingston University.  

At secondary level, Christine is currently Chair of the Independent Schools Inspectorate, a not-for-profit which inspects schools and private further education colleges on behalf of the Department for Education, both in the UK and overseas. She has also previously served as a Governor of St John’s School Leatherhead, a leading co-educational independent secondary school and sixth form.  

In the healthcare sector, following an early career in financial services working for a US commercial bank, managing major client relationships in Europe and the Middle East, Christine has been Chairman of Kingston Hospital NHS Trust; Non-Executive Director of South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust; and, most recently, Vice Chair of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability.  

She has had a deep engagement with special educational needs, notably autism, serving both as a Trustee of Ambitious about Autism and Chief Executive of leading medical research charity Autistica.  

Speaking about Christine’s appointment, Professor Jenny Higham, Principal of St George’s, said: “Christine brings a wealth of experience to the role of Chair of Council and we’re delighted to welcome her to St George’s.  

“Having already gained significant experience in the role of Chair elsewhere, alongside her experiences in both education and healthcare, Christine’s knowledge and skills will be a crucial asset at a time of uncertainty and challenge.  

“In particular, Christine brings with her expertise in enhancing user experiences, which, as we look to continue to improve the experience of all our students, will be particularly valuable.   

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing Chair, Michael Draper, for everything he has contributed to St George’s during his tenure as both Chair and as a member of Council. His guidance and support in steering the University over the last decade have been very highly valued by Council, the Executive and I.” 

Speaking about her appointment, new Chair of Council Christine Swabey said: 

“It is an honour to be appointed as Chair of St George’s.  

“I have already been deeply impressed with the response of staff at St George’s to the Covid-19 pandemic and the crucial role the University continues to play in seeking to tackle the disease.  

“At a time of so much change for the higher education sector, and the continued challenge the pandemic poses in the way universities operate, I look forward to working with Council as we navigate these difficult times and, as we look ahead, providing leadership to help shape the future of St George’s.”  

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