Executive Team

Clare Marchant

Chief Executive

Clare Marchant joined UCAS as Chief Executive in July 2017, having previously worked as the Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council.

Clare started her career in production management for Rank Hovis McDougall, before joining Deloitte and leading IT-enabled change programmes for a number of government departments and well-known brands.

For seven years, she led the delivery and deployment of major IT implementations across the NHS, before joining Worcestershire County Council in 2010, becoming its Chief Executive in 2014.

Clare has an MSc in Manufacturing, Management and Technology, gained in 1998. She is a graduate of both the University of Hull and the Open University, and is is currently Chair of Gloucestershire LEP Employment and Skills Board.


Kevin Allison

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.


David Best 

Director of Analysis and Insights

David joined UCAS in April 2018 after three years as Director of Digital Services and Technology for the Office for National Statistics, and holds a wealth of experience from across the private and public sectors, including senior roles in the Government Digital Service and Ministry of Justice.

David was previously a Senior Partner at Deloitte Consulting, and has held several senior roles in delivering digital and data enabled transformation in large organisations. He has a particular interest in digital technologies and information governance.

David holds a BSc, MSc, and PhD from Aston University Business School, and was previously a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Informatics at the University of Strathclyde, as well as having lectured and supervised at post graduate level at universities in Europe and South America.


Elaine Chandler

Head of Human Resources

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.


Sander Kristel

Executive Director, UCAS Media

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.


Fatuma Mahad

Director of Technology, Operations and Customer Experience

Fatuma joined UCAS in July 2011, after holding a number of roles at the Qualifications & Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA). In over eight years at QCDA, Fatuma was Head of Corporate Business Planning, Head of Business Process Management, and Head of the Portfolio Office.

In September 2014, Fatuma was appointed as Director of Operations and is accountable for the day-to-day delivery of UCAS’ admissions services. This covers the processing of applications, collection of courses data, verification services, Awarding Body Linkage (ABL), SQA results day, A level results day, Confirmation and Clearing, and managing other critical milestones for all UCAS schemes. In February 2015, Fatuma also became Interim Director of the IT Business Unit, which is responsible for enterprise architecture and all technology services at UCAS, including strategy, delivery and IT operations. This position is now permanent.

Fatuma is also responsible for our Customer Experience function.

Prior to this, Fatuma had oversight of Corporate Services at UCAS, when she was responsible for Programme and Project Management, Corporate Governance and Performance, Organisational Development, Enterprise Architecture, Legal and Compliance, and the CEO Office. Fatuma’s role involved managing and supporting initiatives in UCAS to drive organisational performance, efficiency, delivery and implementation, and to protect UCAS from risk.

Fatuma has a degree in Accounting and Financial Management from the University of Essex, and a master’s degree in International Business from the University of London. She is a qualified Change Management practitioner, trained in MSP, PRINCE2, Management of Portfolios, and P3O.


Helen Thorne MBE

Director of External Relations

Helen joined UCAS as the Director of Policy and Research in November 2010. 

In January 2015 she became Director of External Relations. The External Relations Business Unit provides intelligence and insight to enhance UCAS’ reputation, and to drive and inform the strategic development of products and services. The Unit comprises a number of functions including Policy & Qualifications, Media and Stakeholder Communications, and Internal Communications.

Helen is also responsible for Marketing, Events, and Customer Strategy.

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.

After joining the Natural Environment Research Council as Head of Evaluation in 1997, Helen developed extensive higher education policy experience working in a number of Research Council roles. She led the Research Councils UK team for five years from its inception, and established and led the Research Council's UK office in the United States, strengthening collaboration between UK and US universities. Helen joined UCAS from the Russell Group of Universities, where she was previously the Head of Policy (Research), with responsibilities covering the student experience, postgraduate provision, and research funding.

Helen was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to the administration of science, and is currently an independent governor at Northumbria University.


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