Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust names new Chair

Paula Vennells CBE has been named as the new chair of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. She joins the trust from the Post Office, where she is group chief executive. She will take up her position on 1 April 2019.

Ms Vennells is an experienced leader in business. She is a non-executive director at the Cabinet Office and sits on the board of Morrisons PLC. Prior to the Post Office, she held senior positions at Whitbread and Argos, beginning her career with Unilever and L’Oreal.

Chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Professor Tim Orchard, said:

“Paula’s appointment is great news for Imperial College Healthcare, our staff and our patients. Her experience and expertise in complex organisational change, guided by a clear and shared set of values, will be hugely helpful as we continue to improve our care and respond to changing health needs. We’re really looking forward to welcoming her to our hospitals.

“I would like to thank Sir Gerald Acher for taking on the role of interim chairman since January, helping to ensure there is a smooth transition between our leadership arrangements.”

Former chair Sir Richard Sykes stepped down in December, after completing his seven-year tenure at the trust.

Ms Vennells said: “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to join an organisation as important to UK life as the NHS. Building on my experience of another great British institution, the Post Office, I am excited about working with Professor Orchard and his executive team to lead Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to become an exemplar in integrated healthcare.

“I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the trust and working with you and our many national and local stakeholders to deliver on our ambition of ‘better health, for life’ for the patients we serve.”

Ms Vennells joined the Post Office in 2007. She was appointed managing director in 2010 and chief executive in 2012, when she led its separation from Royal Mail Group. Previously she spent five years with Whitbread as group commercial director. She began her career with Unilever and L’Oreal and held directorships in sales and marketing with a number of major retailers including Argos where she was instrumental in creating one of the UK’s first profitable e-commerce businesses.

Paula is a non-executive director of Morrisons PLC, a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office and a governor of Bedford School. She holds a BA (Hons) in Russian, French and Economics from the University of Bradford and a Diploma in Theology from Oxford University. She is an ordained minister in the Church of England and a member of its ethical investment advisory group.

Notes to editors
1. Non-executive appointments to NHS trusts are made by NHS Improvement and are subject to the Governance Code for Public Appointments.

2. NHS Improvement ensures that all appointments to NHS trust boards throughout England are made in a way that is open, transparent and fair to candidates. NHS Improvement routinely publishes information about all the appointment it makes on its website.

3. Ms Vennells has been appointed from 1 April 2019 until 31 March 2023 and will receive remuneration of £60,000 per annum. She has no declared political activity in the last five years.