Dr Jo Saxton

Chief Executive

Dr Jo Saxton became the Chief Executive of UCAS on 15 January 2024, and was previously Chief Regulator of Ofqual from September 2021 until 2024. Jo brings a decade of experience in school leadership to the role. She has been an education advisor to government and was formerly an academic. 

Jo served as a Trustee of The Brilliant Club, the New Schools Network, and was an Ofqual Board Member from 2018 to 2020. 

Jo began her career in academia, and holds qualifications from universities in England and the USA.

Kevin Allison

Chief Financial Officer

Kevin joined UCAS in October 2017, and is currently Chief Financial Officer, responsible for Finance, Legal and Governance, and Commercial and Estates.

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 the Oxford Dictionary and higher education publishing, going on to become Chief Financial Officer for the global academic publishing division.

As Chief Financial Officer at Oxford University Press, 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.

Dr Katie Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Dr Katie Bell has extensive leadership experience across both corporate consumer goods and higher education sectors. She spent her early career at Nestle UK in various brand marketing roles based around the UK before taking the opportunity to work in Porto, Portugal as marketing director for Symington’s port wine company, and then in Barcelona, Spain as managing director of the European University business school. Her return to the UK saw her promoted through a number of marketing, innovation and board-level strategic planning roles at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, where she was most latterly Vice- President of the Global Digital Marketing function.

Katie left GSK to take up a role as Chief Marketing Officer at Middlesex University, London, where amongst other things, she evolved the university brand, redesigned the admissions service, and most recently led on the launch of higher and degree apprenticeships at the University. She recently completed her professional doctorate in higher education leadership.

Katie is Chief Marketing Officer at UCAS where she is responsible for marketing, sales, communication and PR for both the UCAS charity and for its commercial fund-raising business. Her main focus is to enable potential students to discover the huge variety of higher education choices and pathways available to them, and, in particular, to ensure that higher and degree apprenticeships are within their consideration set. Growing the charity’s revenue is also a key focus for her team, as UCAS continues to invest in its work to increase access to higher education for students from disadvantaged and low access to higher education areas.

Elaine Chandler

Director of People

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.

Fiona Johnston

Chief Product Officer

Fiona worked in the higher education sector for ten years as an international specialist, before joining UCAS as the Head of International Strategy in October 2013. Following this, Fiona headed up UCAS’ national partnerships and analytical data products and services before progressing to the Executive team as Interim Director of Analysis and Insights.  

Passionate about customer delivery, she was subsequently appointed as the Director of Operations, looking after core operations and customer experience before taking on leadership for the UCAS Digital Transformation and wider UCAS change programme in 2020, including taking the lead on the admissions reform agenda.  As Chief Product Officer she now leads the Customer Insight and Product business unit to ensure that UCAS continues to deliver customer value at pace.

Fiona has a degree in law and business from the University of Birmingham.

Chris Kirk

Director of International

Chris joined UCAS as the Director of International in June 2022, to further enhance UCAS’ role in helping the world connect with UK higher education. He has responsibility for driving the evolution of our international undergraduate admissions services, as well as the growth and value in our recently launched Myriad by UCAS platform – a mobile-first tool to support international postgraduate students applying to study in the UK. 

Chris has worked in education and training for almost two decades. As Director of International Employers at OpenClassrooms, a French online education-to-employment platform, Chris led the international expansion of their business-to-business offer, focussing on reskilling and apprenticeships in the UK, USA, Africa, Middle East, and Asia.

As Managing Director of Digitalme, a City & Guilds Group Business, he launched and grew a new unit specialising in digital credentialing. The role saw Chris develop and test market strategy, create brand awareness, and significantly grow adoption and revenues. Prior to this, he held the position of Director of Products & Services at City & Guilds, having progressed in various roles within customer strategy, marketing, and sales. 

Sander Kristel

Chief Operating Officer

Sander Kristel joined UCAS in February 2018 as the Executive Director of UCAS Media, one of the commercial subsidiaries of UCAS. He was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer in May 2020 and is responsible for the successful delivery of the admissions cycle to over 700,000 applicants, customer contact, as well as the development and delivery of a wide range of products.  

Sander has a diverse background in banking, the hospitality industry, and in one of the largest education providers in his native Netherlands. In the UK, he has previously worked for the internet provider Freeserve, before moving into the public sector where he delivered large scale services and major technology and transformation programmes including substantial insourcing and outsourcing projects. Sander’s previous roles have included digital, technology, transformation, and commercial.

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