Clare graduated from University of Hull in 1993, in History and Politics. She later went on to complete (alongside work) a MSc in Manufacturing, Management, and Technology from the Open University.
She started her professional life as a management trainee, then worked as Engineering and Production Manager for Rank Hovis McDougall. Clare then joined Deloitte Consulting, where she worked for a variety of clients including Burberry, Abbey, Department for Work and Pensions, and Department for Constitutional Affairs, leading large scale transformation programmes.
In 2003, Clare joined the Department for Health, leading the development and implementation of 'Choose and Book' and picture archiving communication services across the NHS. Having taken a short sabbatical to teach IT in Ghana, she returned as Chief Deployment Officer.
In 2010, she joined Worcestershire County Council as Head of Change, and in 2012, was appointed Assistant Chief Executive, with responsibility for leading change across the organisation. Clare was appointed as Worcestershire County Council's Chief Executive in February 2014. She left to take up the post of UCAS Chief Executive in July 2017.
Clare is passionate about delivering reform and value in public services, and particularly, the benefit education can bring to both an individual’s overall life chances, and creating a more productive society. With three sons at differing stages of life's journey, she is delighted to have the opportunity to lead UCAS during this time of considerable change in the education sector.
Director of Finance and Corporate Services
Kevin joined UCAS as the Director of Finance and Corporate Services in October 2017.
Kevin previously worked at Oxford University Press, in a number of different roles. In the education division, he helped develop and establish the commercial finance function. He then joined the academic division, which includes higher education publishing, going on to become Chief Financial Officer for the global academic publishing division.
As Chief Financial Officer, Kevin held responsibility for leading finance, ethics and compliance, procurement, and stock planning. He was located in New York for two and a half years.
Kevin is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management of Accountants.
Director of HR
Elaine joined UCAS as Head of HR in July 2017. Her experience within human resources and organisational development spans over 20 years, and Elaine has worked across both private and public sectors.
Elaine started her career in TSB Bank as a cashier, but within two years moved into organisation development. She worked for a number of large financial institutions, establishing a strong track record in cultural change, leadership, and organisational development.
For the last ten years, Elaine has worked in the public sector in a variety of leadership roles, utilising and consolidating her expertise in people development, organisation design, strategy and effectiveness, wellbeing, and HR.
Elaine is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.
Director of Strategy, Policy, and Public Affairs
John has worked in politics, communications, and policy development for the last decade and is Director of Strategy, Policy, and Public Affairs at UCAS – the charity that advises and connects people to their next step in life, whether that’s university, college, technical education, or an apprenticeship.
Originally from the Midlands, before joining UCAS John was deputy director of Public First, an education consultancy and polling company set up by the former head of education in Downing Street, Rachel Wolf. Prior to this, he worked with business leaders across the UK as head of education & skills policy at the CBI, advised three former education ministers, and was a founding director of the Education Policy Institute. Outside of work, John is nonexecutive director of the Activate Learning group of colleges, trustee of the charity Achievement for All, and is a governor of a special needs secondary school.
Executive Business Sponsor, Digital Transformation
Fiona joined UCAS as the Head of International Strategy in October 2013, to deliver the UCAS International Admissions Review, after working in the higher education sector for ten years as an international specialist.
Following this, Fiona headed up UCAS’ national partnerships, managing the key relationships for delivery of the UCAS Teacher Training scheme, alongside the day-to-day running of the organisation’s customer relationship architecture.
In July 2015, Fiona was appointed Head of Analysis Products and Services in the Analysis and Insights business unit at UCAS, with responsibility for analytical data and marketing services. In October 2017, she took over as Interim Director of Analysis and Insights, and was appointed Director of Operations in September 2018.
Fiona has a degree in Law and Business from the University of Birmingham.
Chief Operations Officer
Sander Kristel joined UCAS Media in February 2018. He has a diverse background in banking, the hospitality industry, and in one of the largest education providers in his native Netherlands.
He has previously worked for the internet provider Freeserve, before moving into the public sector. Prior to starting in UCAS Media, he was the Director of Adult Services at Worcestershire County Council, where he led 1,500 staff, and managed a budget of £184m. Before that, he worked for the Council as their Director of Commercial and Change, leading on large contracts, transformation, marketing, and other services. Sander’s previous roles have included digital, technology, transformation, and commercial.
Chief Digital and Data Officer
Aaron joined UCAS in January 2019, and has over 20 years’ experience in the development and delivery of software services across a range of sectors, including government, health, logistics, and financial services.
Prior to joining UCAS, Aaron was Chief Digital Officer for NHS Blood and Transplant for four years, where he led the digital transformation of several critical services that save and improve lives. Before his promotion to lead the digital and technology function, Aaron managed the operational support services for the UK’s Organ Donation and Transplantation service, including the 24/7 organ allocation and offering office. His diverse international experience also includes stints living and working in the Far East, the Middle East, and the United States.
Aaron graduated in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Manchester, and holds an MBA in IT Management from the University of Leicester, and an LLM in Health Law from Nottingham Trent University. In 2018, Aaron was named Digital Leader of the Year by Information Age, and was fourth in the UK CIO 100.
Helen Thorne MBE
Director of External Relations
Helen is responsible for the development of UCAS’ strategy and market opportunities, government relations, press and PR, communications, marketing, student information and advice, and UCAS events.
Helen joined UCAS from the Russell Group of Universities where she was the Head of Policy (Research), with responsibilities covering the student experience, postgraduate provision, and research funding.
With a degree in biology from the University of York, Helen began her career in pesticides regulation, and managing food safety research for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
She joined the Natural Environment Research Council in 1997, subsequently leading the Research Council's UK team for five years, from its inception. She was responsible for establishing and leading the Research Council's UK office in the United States, strengthening collaboration between UK and US universities. She was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to the administration of science.
Helen is proud to be an independent governor at Northumbria University, Newcastle and at Swindon Academy, Wiltshire.