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Edward Astle was appointed as Chair from October 2023.

Edward’s extensive executive and non-executive experience has spanned business, academia and the charity sector.

Since 2013, he has had a portfolio of non-executive roles, including Chair of the Board of The University of Manchester – a role he held for 6 years. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of Openreach, which are responsible for maintaining and upgrading the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. 

Edward was Divisional CEO and main Board Director of Cable and Wireless, BICC and National Grid over a 20-year period before becoming Pro Rector, Enterprise, at Imperial College London from 2008 to 2013. Here, he led a team which supported the university’s links with business, particularly for corporate research funding, and its international ventures.

He is also the Chair of award-winning social mobility charity, upReach, which helps university students from disadvantaged backgrounds obtain top graduate jobs, and a trustee of the Lakeland Arts Trust.

Edward was born and brought up in Manchester, attended Manchester Grammar School followed by Queen’s College, Oxford and has an MBA from Insead Business School in France.