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Phil Cotton has been appointed as Chair of Southampton Solent University’s Board of Governors. 

2nd August 2017

Phil Cotton has been appointed as Chair of Southampton Solent University’s Board of Governors.

From 1 August 2017, Phil will take over from Jonathan Cheshire who is retiring after 10 years. Jonathan joined the Board of Governors at Solent in August 2007 and has held the position of Chair since August 2013.

Phil has been on the Board of Governors as an Independent Governor since November 2015, he has also been Chair of the Audit Committee for the past year. Prior to joining the Board, Phil worked as a partner for professional services firm, KPMG for over thirty years.

Within his role as Chair, Phil will work closely with Solent’s Vice-Chancellor, as well as chairing the overall governing body into which all of the sub-committees report. The role will require an oversight of all aspects of the University from resources through to governance.

Solent’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, says: “Phil brings with him a wealth of experience which will be a great asset to his wider team, staff and students at the University.

“Jonathan has showed endless dedication to the University during his time with us and we wish him all the best in the future. We now look forward to welcoming Phil into the role as we continue to move forward with building an excellent University.”

Phil has also served as a Board Member of Business in the Community (BITC) South West and, since June 2014, has been HRH Prince of Wales' BITC Ambassador south west region. Previously Phil has been an independent governor of Regents' Park School in Southampton.

Phil said: “The role of Chair is critical in both holding the Vice-Chancellor and his senior management team to account for the benefit of all students and staff, but also it's a supportive role in which the governors bring constructive challenge and advice from leadership experience across varied sectors in society.

“In the foreseeable future the higher education sector faces a number of headwinds including funding, regulation, and Brexit. It will be a time when the full engagement of governors is more important than ever.”

“Jonathan has done an outstanding job steering the board through some challenging times over the past 4 years - so hopefully I can bring more of the same style of leadership which I would sum up as level headed, considerate but forthright.”

Phil has been married for 32 years and lives in Poole. During his free time, he enjoys competitive sailing in the Solent in the summer and skiing in the winter. 

Phil will hold the position of Chair for two years, until the next election is held in 2019.