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The Trust Board

The Trust Board meets three times a year to consider applications for funding and once a year to review the Trust’s strategy for the future

Trust Board members are primarily recruited from the highest levels of Unilever, the descendent of Lever Brothers. This has ensured that the culture of decision-making at the Trust remains free from disciplinary interest, able to draw upon the wide experience brought by its trustees, and fully alert to the role of education and research in modern life.

In making decisions about funding, the Trust Board seeks the advice of a range of peer reviewers and expert panels or committees who offer an assessment of the academic merit and significance of applications.

Members of the Trust Board

Dr Niall W A FitzGerald KBE DSA

Trustee since 1996. Chair of Trust since 2014.

Niall was Chair/CEO of Unilever for 8 years and during 37 years served in Ireland, UK, The Netherlands, South Africa and the US. Amongst numerous roles, Niall has been Chair of Reuters, British Museum and Nelson Mandela Trust. He has served, and continues to serve, on various international boards. Currently Chair of Olam Food Ingredients.

Doug Baillie

Trustee since 2015. Member of the Risk Committee.

Doug started his career with Unilever in 1978 and went on to serve as the Managing Director for Lever Pond in South Africa in 1997, the National Manager for Unilever South Africa in 2000, the Group Vice President of Africa, Middle East and Turkey in 2004, CEO for Hindustan Unilever Limited and Group Vice President for South Asia, and in 2008, Doug joined the Unilever Executive Board and served as the President of Western Europe. He was also Chief Human Resources Officer between 2011 and 2016.

Other current positions:

  • Mastercard Foundation – Director and Vice Chairman
  • Huhtamaki Oyi – Non-Executive Director and Chair HR Committee
  • Airtel Africa - Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Remuneration committee
Professor Keith Gull CBE FRS FmedSci

Trustee since 2016. Member of the Investment Committee.

Keith was a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology in Oxford, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Principal of St Edmund Hall, Oxford 2009–2018. He was awarded the Marjory Stephenson Prize from the Society for General Microbiology (1996), the Biochemical Society Medal (2016), and was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999) and elected Fellow of the Royal Society (2003).

Other current positions:

  • Emeritus Professor of Molecular Microbiology – Oxford University
  • Imperial College – Senior Research Fellow
  • Trustee of LEFT.
  • Eastbourne College – Governor / Trustee
Alan Jope

Trustee since 2021.

Alan is the former Chief Executive Officer of Unilever PLC. He served in that role from 2019 to 2023. Prior to being appointed CEO, Alan worked in leadership roles for Unilever in the UK, North America and Asia (Thailand, China and Singapore).

Other current positions:

  • Accenture – Non-Executive Director
  • UNICEF Generation Unlimited – Chair
Rudy H P Markham

Trustee since 2009. Chair of the Investment Committee.

Rudy is the former Financial Director of Unilever PLC and Unilever NV. He joined Unilever in 1968 and spent most of his early career in the finance function of the Unilever companies in Europe before taking on the general management positions in different Unilever locations around the world. He joined the Board in 1998 as Strategy and Technology Director and as Financial Director in 2001.

Other positions:

  • After retiring from Unilever, Rudy has served on a number of private and public sector boards.
Mhairi McEwan

Trustee since 2020. Member of the Risk Committee.

Mhairi’s career spans over 40 years Marketing and Sales roles – with Unilever UK, Egypt and France, with PepsiCo Europe, with 20 years building world-class marketing and sales capabilities for multinational clients at Brand Learning, acquired by Accenture in 2017. Mhairi was Co-Founder/President of Brand Learning, Managing Director, Global Marketing Practice, Accenture (Customer Insights & Growth) and ex Chair of the Marketing Group of Great Britain.

Other current positions:

  • Board Advisor Aimpower and T-Minus
  • Mentor and Executive Coach to Founders/CEOs/CMOs in Brand and Business growth 
  • Studying MSc in Coaching, Henley Business School
Leena Nair

Trustee since 2017.

Leena spent 30 years at Unilever, serving as the company’s Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and a member of their Executive Committee from 2016 to 2021. She built a global reputation for progressive human-centred leadership, delivering significant business impact.

Other current positions:

  • Leena Nair is Global Chief Executive Officer at Chanel since January 2022. Chanel is a private company and a world leader in creating, developing, manufacturing and distributing luxury products. Founded by Gabrielle Chanel at the beginning of the last century, Chanel offers a broad range of high-end creations; it is dedicated to ultimate luxury and to the highest level of craftsmanship. Leena is highly respected as a visionary leader whose ability to champion a long-term, purpose-driven agenda is matched with a consistently strong track record of business outcomes.
  • She previously served as a non-executive director at BT plc and the UK Government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department.
  • She has won numerous awards in recognition of her career including most recently being named in WWD 50 Women in Power List 2023, Role Model of Year in 2021 by The Great British Businesswoman's Awards and is part of the Thinkers50 List – Thinkers Who Will Shape the Future of Business.
Chris Saul

Trustee since 2015. Chair of the Risk Committee.

Chris worked for Slaughter and May for 39 years and was Senior Partner from 2008 to 2016.

Other current positions:

  • Chris Saul Associates – consultancy providing advice to Chairs and senior directors
  • Deputy Chair at the UK Takeover Panel (and Chair of the Code Committee)
  • Board member at ICC(UK)
Keith Weed CBE

Trustee since 2021.

Keith is the former Chief Marketing Officer of Unilever, 2010–2019. He joined Unilever in 1983. He worked for Unilever in global and local leadership roles in the UK, France and the US. 

Other current positions:

  • President of the Royal Horticultural Society
  • Board Director of WPP plc
  • Board Director of Sainsbury’s plc
  • Senior Advisor to BainCapital
  • Senior Advisor to AlixPartners
  • Advisor to McLaren F1
  • Board Trustee of Business in the Community
  • Board Trustee of Grange Park Opera
Steve G Williams

Trustee since 2011.

Steve was Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel at Unilever which he joined in 1986.

Other positions:

  • Steve is a Senior Advisor to Spencer Stuart and has served on a variety of boards including Bunzl plc, Arriva plc, Whitbread plc, Croda plc and Moorfields Eye Hospital.
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