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Our Board of Trustees
Sir Andrew Pulford GCB CBE DL
Chair of Trustees
Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford joined the Royal Air Force in 1977 as a Support Helicopter pilot. During his flying career he accumulated over 5,000 hours on both Wessex and Chinook helicopters, serving primarily in Germany but including exchange tours with the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force and the Royal Australian Air Force. He has seen operational service in Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Lebanon, the Balkans and the Gulf.
Sir Andrew enjoyed a wide variety of junior ground appointments including staff posts in Headquarters Northern Ireland and the British Army’s doctrine organisation, and two years as Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff. As Station Commander of Royal Air Force Odiham, he commanded the UK Chinook Force through a period of unprecedented operational activity, including large scale deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.
His senior appointments included: Director of Air Resources and Plans; command of the Royal Air Force’s Air Transport, Air-to-Air Refuelling and Surveillance forces; two years as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations); and three years as Deputy Commander Capability at Air Command, responsible for all RAF personnel and equipment procurement matters.
Sir Andrew took command of his Service as Chief of the Air Staff in July 2013 and served a full 3 years in post, overseeing the Royal Air Force’s contribution to operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and leading the successful Air input to the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.
He joined BAE Systems as Senior Military Adviser in 2017.
John is a qualified accountant with a 30-year career in financial services. He built and managed Finance and Risk reporting teams for a number of global investment banks, UK retail banks, pension and life companies. Often recruited to address corporate crises, his troubleshooting includes an international joint venture, a merger, a new global banking division, and a banking bail-out.
John combines his professional finance background with further qualifications in the delivery of change and the management of risk, frequently working on regulatory initiatives across data, governance, risk and control.
As a trustee of a local Mind he was previously Chair of Finance and then Chair of Governance, Quality and Performance. He is currently Chair of Finance committee for a national mental health charity having previously been Chair of Audit & Risk committee. He has also been the independent member of Audit & Risk committee for the housing association, Settle.
Laurie Benson is CEO of Upnexxt Ltd, a media consultancy specialising in business transformation and new digital business models. Her clients include legacy media companies as well as digital start-ups. In addition, she is a regular industry speaker.
Laurie has extensive experience in television, print, digital and event media in both the U.S. and Europe, Middle East, Africa.
Ms. Benson served as Publisher for Time Magazine in Europe, Middle East, Africa. She then led the commercial activities of Bloomberg’s Publishing and Digital operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
She sits on the board of The Medical Algorithms Company.
Dr Carol Cole
Carol is Chair of the Staffing and Remuneration Committee, a member of the Nominations and Governance Committee and one of the board’s two Whistleblowing trustees.
A behavioural psychologist by background, she was a change management consultant with the NHS, a director at the Office for Public Management and a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, before establishing her own consultancy in organisation development and systemic change. Carol has extensive experience in strategy, leadership and governance, applying psychology to enhance business, team and individual effectiveness. She has worked across the public and private sectors, from blue chips to charities, and led successful consulting projects and leadership programmes in Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Carol is chair of Together for Mental Wellbeing, vice chair at Central London Community NHS Trust, a trustee of Age UK and a council member at the University of Roehampton. She has previously held several other board roles in the NHS and charitable sector and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She is interested in military history and has strong family connections with the RAF.
David Cooper CBE
David joined the Royal Air Force in 1988 as a fast-jet navigator. During his flying career he accrued over 1,500 hours on the Tornado GR1/GR4 and on various training aircraft. He served on the front-line, as an instructor, and in numerous headquarters in the United Kingdom, in Canada, and on frequent deployments across the world. During his 32 years in the RAF, David conducted operational service in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan, including disaster relief and evacuation operations.
David’s appointments included command of No. 617 Squadron, the Dambusters, and Royal Air Force Marham. He also gained extensive experience in operational Command and Control with the Royal Air Force and within Joint headquarters, working alongside Royal Navy and British Army colleagues. In 2014 David completed a 12-month deployment as the Director of Air Operations in Kabul overseeing NATO air activity in Afghanistan. This was followed by a post as the United Kingdom’s Joint Force Air Component Commander. David’s most recent military appointment was Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Group, responsible for the Royal Air Force’s air mobility and security forces.
David started working for Nova Systems in 2020, with whom he is an Executive General Manager, and he maintains a Royal Air Force Reserve commitment.
Dr Rodney Eastwood
Dr Rodney Eastwood was Secretary of Imperial College London from October 2007 to April 2012 and before that held various posts in the College in strategic planning and management information. Prior to joining the College, he worked at the Natural History Museum, finishing as Assistant to the Director.
Rodney is currently a non-executive Director of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, a trustee of the London school of ESCP Europe Business School, a member of the Board of Trustees of the RAF Museum, a governor of Chelsea Academy and the Audit Chair of the Society of Biology.
He was awarded an MBE for services to higher education in the June 2012 honours list.
Jonathan currently runs John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City and has previously run John Lewis Norwich, Peterborough, Brent Cross and Watford. He has been a Partner in John Lewis for 18 years. He has previously worked for Sainsburys where he was responsible for the development and roll out of Sainsburys Convenience stores on Shell Petrol Stations.
Before that, he worked for M&S where he held a variety of operational roles, including running stores in the Kings Road, Croydon and Maidstone.
He currently Chairs the Welwyn Business Improvement District (BiD) and previously chaired the Watford BiD. He also chaired the Oxford Summer School Advisory Board from 2011-2019. Whilst at Sainsburys, he was a non Exec Director of the National Association of Convenience Stores in the USA representing Britain's convenience store sector. He is currently a mentor on the National Be The Business mentoring scheme, working with a number of SME’s and helping them with their business plans and leadership skills.
Outside of work, Jonathan is a keen footballer and recently represented Team GB at an over 55’s tournament. He can often be found in the Gym or in the garden growing organic produce and sharing it on his Instagram account, @farmer_field
Jonathan has been married to Lorraine for 33 years and they have 3 grown up children, Emily, Jessica and Louis. They are looking forward to celebrating the weddings of both Emily and Jessica during 2022.