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The University of Southampton
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The University Executive

The role of The University Executive is to advise the Vice-Chancellor on day-to-day management and decision making at the University.

Members of The University Executive

Vice-President, Education – Professor Alex Neill

Vice-President (Education)
Professor Alex Neill

Executive Officer:


Main responsibilities

The Vice-President (Education) has University-wide oversight of all activities relating to education.

Research, achievements and external responsibilities

Professor Alex Neill is a Professor of Philosophy at the University, specialising in aesthetics, 18th century philosophy (especially Hume), and 19th century philosophy (especially Schopenhauer).

Vice-President, International - Winnie Eley

Winnie Eley

Executive Assistant: Nikki Reed


Main Responsibilities

The Vice President International provides university-wide leadership for the international strategy and its successful delivery, as an integral part of Simply Better: The University Strategy.

Research, achievements and external responsibilities

Winnie has over two decades of accumulated knowledge and skills in devising strategy and developing whole-institution approach and associated systems in alumni relations and philanthropy; global engagement and representation; international education; institutional partnerships and reputation; and student mobility. She has extensive experience in leading and developing leaders and high performing teams, and has oversight of a range of diverse portfolios from scholarships (Chevening, Ford Foundation, Scholarships for Excellence and Ma and Morley Scholarships Program gifted by Jack Ma Foundation), science, creative industries, customer and information services, transnational education, marketing and communications, to high level policy collaborations.

Vice-President, Research and Enterprise – Professor Mark Spearing

Vice-President, Research and Enterprise
Professor Mark Spearing

Executive Assistant: Fiona Wright


Main responsibilities

The Vice-President (Research and Enterprise) has University-wide oversight of all research and enterprise activities. This includes overall responsibility for: the research and enterprise strategy, funding, research governance, research quality, the Concordat for Early Career Researchers, engagement with external parties, intellectual property and 'spin-out' companies. The Vice-President (Research and Enterprise) works closely with the Vice-President (Education) on overseeing doctoral student development.

Research, achievements and external responsibilities

Professor Mark Spearing is a Professor of Engineering Materials, whose research and educational interests focus on materials, solid mechanics, composite materials and micro-electromechanical systems. He leads the Aerospace University Industry Sector Team, is Chair of the Committee on Student Discipline and Chair of the Boards of the University of Southampton Malaysian Campus and Southampton International Singapore Ltd.

Professor Spearing is a member of the Technology Advisory Group of the UK Aerospace Technology Institute, is a Trustee of the Faraday Institution and chair of the Fellowship Evaluation Panel for the Singapore National Research Foundation. He is a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and EPSRC’s Capital Equipment Strategic Advisory Team.

He was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for 2004-2009. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Chief Operating Officer (Interim) - Richard Middleton

Richard Middleton
Richard Middleton

Executive Assistant: Christine Lee Wing


Main Responsibilities 

The Chief Operating Officer provides leadership to the University’s professional service departments.

This role ensures that our professional services support the University in realising its educational, research and enterprise ambitions.

Research, achievements and external responsibilities

As interim Chief Operating Officer Richard Middleton provides leadership and strategic accountability for the University’s professional services, for UoS’s 23,000 students and 6,000 staff on its 6 campuses in the UK and 1 in Malaysia.  Professional Services teams take pride in ensuring that UoS is one of the UK’s and world’s leading research-intensive universities.

Richard has worked in similar roles in several UK universities since 2007 – learning from many great management teams and contributing to their developments and programmes of change.  Previously he worked for the NHS in Leicester, managing A&E services and medical specialties.  Richard also worked in the Northern Ireland HSS, managing professional support services.

For 14 years after leaving university Richard worked for charities supporting single homeless people in central London, including political campaigning, advocacy and practical support.

Richard gained a first in Mathematics with Language BSc (Hons), a distinction in Archaeology (MA) and an MBA.   He has always enjoyed cycling, and walking in the hills and mountains.

Executive Director of Human Resources - Anne-Marie Sitton

Executive Assistant: Clare Hutton


Main responsibilities

Anne-Marie is the Executive Director of Human Resources as well as Secretary to the Remuneration Committee.

Research, achievements and external responsibilities

Alongside her role as Executive Director of Human Resources, Anne-Marie is a director of the Universities’ Advertising Group.

Executive Director of Finance and Planning - Sarah Pook

Personal Assistant: Julie Shaw


Main responsibilities

Sarah is responsible for the department of Finance, Planning and Analytics at the University, as well as the stewardship of finances, budgeting and preparation of financial statements. She maintains the internal system of control and is responsible for the vision within the Finance department.

Research, achievements and external responsibilities

Sarah is a CIPFA qualified accountant and also a chartered member of CIPD.

Our Vision for the future

Read about our strategy for the future

University Executive Board expenses

The expenses of all 13 members of our University Executive Board (UEB) are routinely published on a quarterly basis.

Read the Quarter 1 expenses report

Read the Quarter 2 expenses report

Read the Quarter 3 expenses report

Read the Quarter 4 expenses report

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