Stephen King - Chair of the Council

Stephen joined us as Chair on 1 August 2017. As our Chair, Stephen will lead the Board of Trustees (Council) in providing oversight, governance and leadership for our charity. 

Stephen is a long-serving trustee of the charity Sightsavers International, is deputy chair of NHS West Essex, and is immediate past President of the DAISY Consortium, a global technology standards development foundation. Prior to retiring in 2013, he spent 23 years as an executive director of RNIB, following on from a career in consumer book, video and art publishing.

Professor Pippa Tyrell - Vice Chair of the Council and Chair of the Research Awards Governance Committee

Professor Pippa Tyrrell is a senior lecturer in stroke medicine at the University of Manchester and an honorary consultant stroke physician at Salford Royal Foundation Trust.

She is the clinical lead for stroke in Greater Manchester, clinical lead for the North West Stroke Research Network and an associate director of the stroke programme at the Royal College of Physicians.

Mr Peter Troy MBE - Vice Chair (non-medical)

Peter worked for the British government’s international development department for 36 years, including overseas postings as first secretary of development in Ghana and Bangladesh. In the UK he has worked as head of humanitarian programmes for over a decade, managing the UK’s humanitarian response to natural disasters and conflict situations.

Peter has participated at various international meetings covering humanitarian action and `Education for All’. Peter was awarded an MBE in 2007 for humanitarian work.

Peter’s community work includes serving as an elected member of Southwark Council from 1982 to 1985 and as a school governor in Lewisham and Southwark. In October 2009, he suffered a brain haemorrhage, recovering to return to work in 2010. In 2011, he left the civil service.

Peter is now retired and does voluntary work in support of the Anti-Trafficking Campaign and an English language training project.

Ian Black – Chair of the Investment Committee

Ian Black is an accountant currently working in private practice. He also lectures in accountancy and auditing at Plymouth University.

After graduating in economics, Ian worked for the London boroughs of Haringey and Tower Hamlets where he qualified as an accountant. He moved to Jersey in 1985 and held a number of posts in government including assistant director of education. From 1999 to 2010 Ian was treasurer of the States of Jersey with overall responsibility for the island’s public finances.

As well as being chair of the Stroke Association’s Jersey Committee, he is also treasurer of the Island Games Organising Committee. 

Sir Charles Cockburn

Sir Charles Cockburn is a member of the Stroke Association’s Audit Committee and Aphasia Advisory Committee.

Bob Empson

Bob is a management consultant with over 30 years of experience working in the UK and overseas. He advises on strategy, marketing and brand, organisational development and governance.

Bob's business career launched with BP Oil International in the UK and Africa. He subsequently established the strategy and marketing consulting group of a national professional services firm before setting up and managing a similar practice for another leading firm. He founded White Maple Consulting Ltd in 2002 where he is Managing Director and Principal Consultant.

Bob has a BSc from the University of Bristol, an MBA from the University of Warwick and a Professional Certificate in Coaching from Henley Business School. He is also a Fellow (FIC) of the UK’s Institute of Consulting and a former director and president of its predecessor, the Institute of Management Consultancy. Bob is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM) and a Certified Member of the Market Research Society (CMRS). Bob was an academic tutor on the MBA programme at Warwick Business School for over 10 years until 2014.

Stuart Fletcher OBE – Chair of the Wales Committee

Stuart has held some of the most senior posts in the NHS including chief executive of West Midlands Regional Health Authority, which spends a tenth of the UK Health budget.

Stuart came to Wales in 1995 as chief executive of Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust and later acted as chief executive of Health Commission Wales. Here he was accountable for the commissioning of specialist and tertiary health services for the people of Wales with an allocation of over £500m. He has served on numerous National Health Service bodies and is a former national president of the Institute of Healthcare Management.

Stuart was chair of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust from April 2006 to August 2013. He also chairs the Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service’s disciplinary panels in Manchester. 

He was awarded an OBE for services to the NHS in 2003.

Stuart is very active in the local community. Some of the many positions he holds include president of Pembrokeshire Mind and governor of Pembrokeshire College, where he chairs the Curriculum and Standards Committee.

Dr Anne Gordon

Anne is a senior consultant occupational therapist at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She is a clinician and researcher in the field of stroke in children and young people.

Anne is a member of the Strategic Research Group of the British Academy of Childhood Disability. She represents allied health professionals on the London Strategic Clinical Expert Group (NHS England) and is incoming chair of the Child Stroke Advisory Committee for the Stroke Association.

Anne has held clinical and research positions at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (University of Melbourne), Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Institute of Child Health (University College London).

Dr Martin James

Martin James is a consultant stroke physician at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and associate professor at the University of Exeter Medical School. He trained in Southampton and completed his research in hypertension in the elderly with Professor John Potter and the late Professor John Swales in Leicester.

Martin has led the stroke service at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital since 1997. The service was awarded NHS Beacon status in 2000 and Exeter was one of the first UK centres to introduce emergency thrombolysis for acute stroke in 2003.

Martin is an associate director of the stroke programme at the Royal College of Physicians, with responsibility for the national Peer Review Scheme for Stroke Services. He is a member of the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party responsible for the Stroke National Audit Programme and the RCP National Clinical Guideline for Stroke 2012.  He is a former president of the British Association of Stroke Physicians.

Paul Leacy

Paul Leacy is an accountant and treasury specialist. For the past two years he has been employed as an independent treasury consultant. He has worked as an interim group treasurer at Dixons Retail PLC and Belron Limited and has also worked on a number of Private Equity projects.

Paul has had several senior finance and treasury roles, mainly in large UK companies. Most recently, from 2002 to 2012, Paul was the director of Group Treasury, Insurance and Aviation Finance at Tui Travel PLC. Before this, Paul spent four years as group treasurer of Cox Insurance Holdings PLC and seven years at Cable and Wireless PLC, which included a two year secondment to Hong Kong Telecom.

Professor Philip Reilly – Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee and Chair of the Aphasia Advisory Committee

Professor Philip Reilly is a stroke survivor and an emeritus professor of general practice at Queen’s University Belfast. He has forty years of experience in both clinical practice and undergraduate medical school curriculum development. He has trained several GP registrars and is chairman of the Regional GP Training Committee.

Phillip's research areas have included prescribing, hospital admissions, multiple sclerosis and palliative care. His appointments have included Prescribing Fellow to the RCGP, adviser to the Audit Commission and member of the UK Medicines Commission. He was also primary care consultant to EU and World Bank.

Phillip is a member of both the Expert Advisory Group for the All-Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care and the Research and Development Enabling Research Awards Review Panel.

Professor Tom Robinson

Tom is professor of Stroke Medicine at the University of Leicester. His research interests include clinical trials and the investigation and management of blood pressure following acute stroke. His research has been funded by a number of organisations including the UK National Institute of Health, the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council, as well as the Stroke Association.

Tom is the national speciality lead for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network's stroke speciality. He is also chair of the Stroke Medicine Sub-specialty Advisory Committee at the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board.

Helen Sanders

Helen Sanders is director of Asymmetric Solutions Ltd, a company that provides treasury and finance-related editorial, research and consultancy services to corporations and banks. She is also editorial director of Treasury Management International, a position she has held since 2006.

Previously, Helen was director of education for the Association of Corporate Treasurers, which included launching a range of flagship professional qualifications. She has also worked for financial technology company SunGard (now part of FIS), in a variety of roles including director of sales and marketing.

Before joining SunGard, Helen was employed in corporate treasury and tax in the energy and IT sectors. Before embarking on her treasury career, she worked for the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and as corporate fundraising manager for the English Speaking Union.

Helen has a degree in Classics from UCL and holds postgraduate qualifications in global development management.

Niraj Shah

Niraj Shah is an investment manager by profession. Since 2000 he has worked at a number of institutional investment and private wealth management organisations in London. He is currently in the process of establishing a family investment office.

Niraj was born and brought up in Kenya and came to the UK in 1996 to read computer science and management studies at Trinity College, Cambridge. After graduating he joined Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette (later Credit Suisse First Boston) as a mergers and acquisitions analyst before moving to UBS Wealth Management and Europe Arab Bank where he headed the Structured Products department.

From 2005 to 2008, Niraj was a portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. More recently, he was head of market risk at the National Employment Savings Trust and a director and fund manager at MENA Capital. He attained his CFA Charterholder status in 2004.                                                                

Mark Smith – Chair of the Scotland Advisory Committee

Mark Smith is passionate about stroke. He qualified in 1985 as a physiotherapist and soon afterwards decided to specialise in stroke. Over the last 25 years he has developed significant experience in this field. He became Scotland’s first consultant physiotherapist in 2006, working within NHS West Lothian and specialising in stroke rehabilitation.

Mark completed an MPhil in physiotherapy in 2009 and is also a member of the National Advisory Committee for Stroke. He has played a key role in the design and delivery of Life After Stroke services in Scotland. 

Mark has travelled extensively, teaching and presenting courses and workshops on stroke rehabilitation in the UK and internationally.

One of Mark's many interests is golf and he has assisted stroke survivors to access the sport. He is a medical committee member of the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) and an international classifier at their tournaments.

As chair of the Scotland Advisory Committee, Mark continues to represent the needs of stroke survivors and contribute to the ongoing work of the charity in research, prevention and service development.

Eric Tracey – Chair of the Audit Committee

Eric has worked as an auditor, a finance director, an audit committee chair (ACC) and an advisor to an investment manager. 

He is the senior independent director (SID) and ACC at Findel plc (LSE listed, home shopping and education supplies), as well as the ACC at NEC Group (local authority owned) and Burtons Holdings (privately owned biscuit manufacturers). He is also on the Advisory Board for Governance at Owners LLP, as well as a regular columnist for Financial Director magazine.

Until 2010 Eric was the SID and ACC at Chloride Group plc (power protection). He was a partner at Deloitte in London for 25 years until 2004 where he headed the European Energy, Infrastructure and Utilities Group for six years. He was also the troubleshooting finance director at Amey plc (2002 to 2003) and Wembley plc (2005).

Professor Marion Walker MBE

Marion Walker is a professor in stroke rehabilitation at the University of Nottingham. An occupational therapist by professional background, she is a former president of the Society for Rehabilitation Research. She chaired the UK Stroke Forum from 2006 to 2008.

Marion's research interests lie in randomised controlled trials of stroke rehabilitation services and evaluations of individual components of therapy. She is a strong advocate of patient partnership.

Marion was the associate director (rehabilitation lead and portfolio development lead) of the UK Stroke Research Network until the end of March 2015.