Group Management Board

Group Management Board

The Group Management Board is a panel of directors who provide strategic direction and operational council for the Group.

The Management Board members have experience in a range of different industries. These include: law, publishing, the airline industry, retail and digital consultancy. The wide scope of their experience brings a rich knowledge base to the Group.

Putting our purpose and values into action

The Management Board works to achieve targets and objectives aligned to the Group’s purpose: to enable people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth.

The Management Board members also have a deep commitment to the Group’s values – imagination, integrity and leadership. They ensure that strategic decisions are made with these values in mind.


The Management Board members

Headed by the Group CEO, the Management Board covers many key business functions, including: strategy, finance, mergers and acquisitions, legal and HR.


Chris Jones

Chris Jones

Chief Executive of the City & Guilds Group

As CEO, and as head of the Management Board, Chris' role is to set the strategic direction of the Group.

He plays a prominent role in driving the national and international skills agenda – something he has personal experience in, as he followed the vocational education path himself.

Since joining in 2008, he has led the City & Guilds Group through a period of significant growth, which has enabled further investment in the organisation.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2008

Previous industries: Publishing

Previous companies: LexisNexis, Pearson, Reed Elsevier

David Miller

David Miller

Director of Legal and Secretary to the Institute

David Miller is the Director of Legal and Secretary to the Institute. He also serves as the Data Protection Officer for the City & Guilds Group.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2002

Also serving as: Data Protection Officer

Previous industries: Law – specialising in technology and intellectual property

Previous companies: Taylor Wessing Solicitors

Relevant qualifications: History and French degree at Bristol and Bordeaux Universities; Common Professional Examination and Law Society Finals at London Guildhall University; Diploma in IT Telecoms Law at Queen Mary University of London


Jim Conybeare-Cross

Jim Conybeare-Cross

Chief Financial Officer

As CFO, Jim Conybeare-Cross is responsible for the financial management of the Group. 

His primary role is ensuring business decisions are financially sound and also providing insight and analysis to shape strategy.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2011

Also responsible for: Support Services – including operations, IT, legal

Previous industries: Publishing, information, advertising, real estate, oil

Previous companies: Reed Elsevier, Pearson, Jones Lang LaSalle, DMB&B, Elf

Relevant qualifications: ACA (Chartered Accountant)

John Yates

John Yates

New Ventures Director

John Yates is responsible for managing a Venture Fund on behalf of the Group.

The fund supports innovation in skills education by investing in companies and entrepreneurs.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2010

Previous industries: Educational publishing (print and digital)

Previous companies: Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Oxford University Press, Cengage Learning. Also worked for the training company BPP.

Relevant qualifications: John Yates has an undergraduate degree, but firmly believes in the equal value of equivalent vocational qualifications and real work experience.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE

Kirstie Donnelly MBE

Managing Director, City & Guilds

Kirstie Donnelly leads the City & Guilds qualification, assessment and education services.

This includes working across colleges, training providers and a wide variety of stakeholders.

She also plays a major role in overseeing the City & Guilds apprenticeships offer. In 2014, Kirstie set up the City & Guilds Group's Industry Skills Board, bringing together a range of employers and sectors to inform the development of a quality model for apprenticeship reforms.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2011

Previous industries: E-learning, video arts, digital consultancy

Previous companies: Video Arts, learndirect, Manchester Training Education Council

Honours: Received an MBE in June 2011 for contributions to e-learning in the FE/adult learning sector

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

CEO of City & Guilds Kineo

Matt Johnson is responsible for all strategic, commercial and operational aspects of City & Guilds Kineo.

He brings, not only his strong digital and business-to-business expertise, but also extensive knowledge of multi-national corporations and a distinguished track record of international growth.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2014

Previous industries: Publishing, media/information, law

Previous companies: Cambridge University Press, Reed Elsevier, Thomson Reuters, CPA Global, DWF

Relevant qualifications: Executive Education programme at Harvard Business School; Strategy, Finance, Marketing at Manchester Business School

Phil Ellaway

Philip Ellaway

Group Strategy Director

Philip Ellaway works with the Management Board to help strengthen the Group’s impact and reach in the training and skills landscape.

A key focus of his role is growing the Group’s portfolio of commercially successful businesses by partnership and acquisition.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2009

Previous industries: Publishing, education

Previous companies: Harcourt Education, Reed Elsevier

Relevant qualifications: MBA from London Business School

Sharon Saxton

Sharon Saxton

Group Director of People & Organisation Development

Sharon Saxton works with the Management Board to implement major change and expansion programmes, enabling achievement of both strategy and purpose.

Her role is also to ensure best practice is followed in all people-related matters.

Joined the City & Guilds Group: 2007

Previous industries: Media and entertainment, airline and aviation, travel, retail

Previous companies: Virgin Atlantic, The Walt Disney Company, British Airways, Debenhams

Relevant qualifications: Registered Henley Management College Executive Coach from Henley Business School