Midlands Mindforge appoints Non-Executive Directors to Board

Nick Jennings

Midlands Mindforge, a capital investment company for university spinouts, has announced the appointment of its full board of directors.

Mr Richard Swann, Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL and Ms Christina McComb OBE will be appointed as independent non-executive directors. Ms Yewande Akinola MBE, Professor Nick Jennings CB, and Mrs Margaret Monckton will be joining as university appointed non-executive directors.

The announcement follows the recent appointment of Midlands Mindforge’s Scientific Advisory Council, made up of industry-leading experts from across the 8 Midlands Innovation partner universities.

Mr Mike Rees, Chair of Midlands Mindforge, said:

“We are delighted to have recruited such a high-quality Board with a full and diverse set of skills. The Midlands Mindforge Board reflects our commitment to the highest standards in corporate governance and give all stakeholders confidence in the integrity of our processes and people”.

“Our Board is comprised of leading people in their respective fields which gives Midlands Mindforge great credibility in its mission to identify, invest in, and scale up, IP-rich university spinouts and other SMEs based in the Midlands”.

Introduction to the board members

  • Mr Richard Swann has a successful investing career, culminating in his current role as the chair of Inflexion’s Investment Committee. Previously, he was a partner of Deloitte and its predecessor firm, Authur Andersen. He also sits on the board of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Council, as well as the Council of the University of Birmingham.
  • Dr Nik Kotecha is the pro-chancellor of De Montfort University and has had a long and successful career as an entrepreneur and scientist. He founded and built Morningside Pharmaceuticals Ltd into a globally successful company and has since been involved in several successful enterprises alongside his philanthropic work through the Randal Foundation. He sits on the boards of The Princes Trust and the Centre for Social Justice and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Leicester in July 2023, for his contribution to science.
  • Ms Christina McComb is a highly experienced board appointee, with a long and successful career in venture and growth capital investment. She is currently chair of Aegon UK PLC and a Trustee and Chair of the Endowment Investment Committee at Nesta, and a non-executive director at Big Society Capital and Seraphim Space Investment Trust. Throughout her career, Ms McComb has worked with leading UK universities and research council technology transfer offices in order to better support the UK spinout ecosystems.
  • Ms Yewande Akinola is an award-winning engineer who, for a long time, has supported innovation and diversity within the UK engineering industry. She is an innovation consultant, supporting businesses on their sustainable innovation journeys, Vice President of the Institute of Engineering & Technology, as well as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She currently sits on the Council of the University of Warwick.
  • Professor Nick Jennings is the vice-chancellor and president of Loughborough University and is an internationally recognised leader of academic research into the AI and cyber-security sectors respectively. He previously served as the UK Government’s first Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security, and as Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise at Imperial College London. Throughout his career, he has been involved in a number of successful startups within the tech sector.
  • Margaret Monckton has spent the last 9 years of her career working within the UK university sector and is the current chief financial officer at the University of Nottingham. She is also currently a director of the Nova Education Trust and a member of the Audit Committee of the Office for Students.

Dr Lisa Smith, CEO of Midlands Mindforge, added:

“The experience and talent of our Board represents the seriousness of our ambitions as an independent patient capital investment company. Our Board is deeply connected to the Midlands innovation and research ecosystems and will play a pivotal role in supporting our goal to build a business that will invest in and support the scaling up of successful IP-rich businesses.”

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