Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett has been announced as the next Chair of the John Innes Centre’s Governing Council.
Sir Thomas is a prominent figure in healthcare, the charity sector and education, following a varied career which includes law and investment banking. He brings outstanding experience of organisational leadership and he is known for his enthusiasm and commitment to those causes he champions.
Recently retired after seven years as Chair of the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sir Thomas is Co-founder and Chair of the Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics, founder of the charity Helpforce. He has been Chair of the Institute for Global Health at Imperial College and CEO of Marie Curie.
He will start his position as Chair in September 2021, taking over from industry leader Dr Deborah Keith, who has led the Board as Interim Chair.
Sir Thomas will work closely with the Director and senior management team at the John Innes Centre, to continue its programme of excellent and impactful research and innovation and to build on its status as a world-leading plant and microbial science institute.
He takes up his leadership at an exciting point in the John Innes Centre’s development, as it takes forward ambitious plans to deliver Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet (HP3) – a joint scientific vision with The Sainsbury Laboratory.
In June this year, the two organisations were awarded £1million to progress plans for a world-leading plant and microbial research hub on the Norwich Research Park, and they are now working with BBSRC to secure funding for new research facilities to provide a world-class research environment.
Sir Thomas brings a wealth of private and statutory sector fundraising experience, and confesses that he loves helping raise funds to allow great organisations to grow.
Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre said: “We are delighted to welcome Sir Thomas to this role at the John Innes Centre. He is a highly effective leader with experience of innovative organisations, and brings a passion for supporting organisations to think creatively about their futures. I look forward to working with him as the John Innes Centre takes the next steps on its journey.
“I would like to thank Deborah Keith who has done a fantastic job as Interim Chair. She has driven the HP3 programme forward, and her experience of strategic partnerships has been invaluable as the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory look to position themselves as a global hub for plant science.”
Dr Deborah Keith, Interim Chair of the Governing Council said: “I am very pleased to welcome Sir Thomas to the Governing Council, and I look forward to working with him. His experience as a chair and his leadership roles in innovative organisations will provide valuable support and guidance to the institute.
This is an exciting time for the John Innes Centre, and Sir Thomas is a great fit for the institute. He brings a natural enthusiasm for partnerships, and is skilled at bringing the right people together to ensure an exciting and sustainable future.”
Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Incoming Chair of Governing Council at the John Innes Centre said: “I am excited and privileged to take on this role at the John Innes Centre – an ambitious, world class organisation for which I have acquired the greatest admiration. It has a wonderful history of global leadership in plant and microbial science, and an exciting future delivering the Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet vision.
“I look forward to working with Professor Sanders and the Governing Council as well as the whole team at the John Innes Centre, to ensure the organisation continues to grow and deliver its excellent and impactful research securing a safer, healthier and more sustainable future for all of us.”
Dr Amanda Collis, Executive Director, Research Strategy and Programmes, BBSRC said: “Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett has an enviable background in public sector healthcare, academia, law and investment banking. He will be a great addition to the John Innes Centre’s Governing Council. BBSRC is a proud funder of the John Innes Centre and will continue to work in partnership with the research institute as it builds on its status as a world leading centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology.”