Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Part of NHS Digital annual report and accounts 2018-19

Board members' biographies and Register of Interests

Current Chapter

Current chapter – Board members' biographies and Register of Interests

All directors have confirmed that they know of no relevant audit information of which the auditors are unaware. 

They have also confirmed that they have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as directors to find out relevant information and to establish that auditors are aware of it.

The Register of Interests of Board directors are included within the board papers for each public meeting.

View the summary of directors’ expenses.

Executive directors

Sarah Wilkinson

Chief Executive

Image of Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive

Sarah joined NHS Digital in August 2017. She previously worked as Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer at the Home Office with responsibility for the delivery of all technology services for counter terrorism, the UK border, visas and immigration and asylum and policing.

Before working for the Home Office, Sarah spent 23 years in financial services and held chief information officer roles at Credit Suisse, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers.

Sarah is a non-executive director of NatWest Markets, a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee of Kings College London and a member of the advisory boards of the Department of Computing at Imperial College London and the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Oxford.

Rob Shaw CBE

Deputy Chief Executive and Senior Information Risk Owner

Image of Rob Shaw CBE, Deputy Chief Executive and Senior Information Risk Owner

Rob was appointed as NHS Digital’s Deputy Chief Executive in August 2017, after serving as Interim Chief Executive in early 2017 and Chief Operating Officer since April 2016.

He has helped lead the transformation of the health and care system’s IT infrastructure since 2014, delivering more efficient, flexible and secure services. In his current role, he is responsible for live services, technical architecture, the governance of all releases into live  service and cyber security. Rob is managing  the movement  to cloud of existing infrastructure services and building our cloud capability in partnership with our delivery partners, Microsoft and AWS. He also leads the UK input to the Global Digital Health Partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care.

Rob became our Director of Operations and Assurance Services in April 2014 and managed the insourcing of three critical infrastructure services: the core NHS Spine systems, the Care Identity Service and the Secondary Uses Service. He was also responsible for overseeing the provision of more than 60 essential live services to NHS and social care organisations.

Carl Vincent

Executive Director - Chief Finance Officer

Image of Carl Vincent, Executive Director - Chief Finance Officer

Carl heads NHS Digital’s Finance and Improvement directorate. He joined NHS Digital in June 2013 on secondment from the Department of Health and Social Care. In  addition to his current responsibilities, he has had periods leading NHS Digital’s commercial, human resources and data and information functions. Carl joined the Department of Health and Social Care as an economist in 1996 and had a number of roles in analytical services, commercial and finance. He also spent a year on secondment at Ernst and Young.

Dr Amir Mehrkar

Chief Medical Officer (a.i.)

Image of Dr Amir Mehrkar, Chief Medical Officer (a.i.)

Amir is an NHS GP working in Southampton and joined NHS Digital in May 2017 as Senior Clinical Lead for Interoperability and Architecture.

In 2016, Amir co-founded INTEROPen, an open collaboration of individuals, industry, standards organisations and health and social care providers. In 2017, he co-founded  the Interopsummit,  an educational interoperability event.

Amir has extensive international and clinical experience in informatics. He is a former member of the HL7 UK board and is currently a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Health Informatics Group.

Previously, he was National Clinical Lead for NHS Digital’s e-Referral Service and, between 2013 and 2015, he was Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) for the Hampshire Health Record. In 2014, he took on the role of Digital Clinical Champion for NHS England’s Patient Online Programme and the following year became CCIO for Orion Health.

Non-executive directors

Noel Gordon


Image of Noel Gordon, chair

Skills and experience: Noel chairs the NHS Digital Board.

Noel is also a non-executive director of NHS England and Chair of the Healthcare UK Advisory Board. He also serves as a non-executive director of the Payments Systems Regulator and is chair of the board of trustees of He was formerly a member of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Board, the Accelerated Access Review and the chair of the Specialised Services Commissioning Committee.

Previously an economist and a banker, Noel spent most of his career in consultancy, where he was Global Managing Director of the banking industry practice at Accenture from 1996 until his retirement in 2012. He has extensive practical experience in restructuring complex organisations across technology and business cycles and driving fundamental innovations in transforming industries through big data, analytics and digital technologies.

Appointed to the Board: 1 June 2016.

Term expires: 31 May 2020.

Committee membership: Chair, Talent, Remuneration and Management Committee.

Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE

Image of Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE

Skills and experience: Soraya is the Senior Independent Director and leads on clinical safety and governance, e-channels and diversity and inclusion for the NHS Digital Board.

Soraya has 35 years’ experience in academia and clinical practice, retiring as Dean of the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire in November 2016. She has held a number of non-executive posts in the NHS since 1991. She was Chair of Luton and Dunstable NHS Foundation Trust (1999-2010), a member of the General Pharmaceutical Council and a board director for the Eastern Academic Health Science Network. She is a non-executive director and vice chairman at the Hillingdon Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and an academic manager at the University of Hertfordshire.

Soraya was awarded an MBE for her contribution to health services in Bedfordshire, is a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and a recipient of the society’s Charter Gold Medal for Sciences and Practice.

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017.

Term expires: 31 December 2020.

Committee membership: Chair, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group and member of the Talent, Remuneration and Management Committee

Daniel Benton

Image of Daniel Benton

Skills and experience: Daniel leads on IT delivery excellence, operational transformation and technology strategy for the NHS Digital Board.

Having spent most of his career at Accenture, where he was Global Head of Technology Strategy and Digital Strategy Practices, Daniel has extensive experience in setting and implementing technology agendas for large organisations going through periods of transformational change, including the implementation of consumer-facing technologies. He led  much  of  Accenture’s thinking around the impact of technology on business models and on transforming IT organisations. He also served as chief information officer of an international bank and a large global insurer.

Daniel is a trustee of the Grange Festival.

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017.

Term expires: 31 December 2020.

Committee membership: Chair, Investment Committee; Member, Audit and Risk Committee; and Member, Digital Committee in Common.

Deborah Oakley

Image of Deborah Oakley

Skills and experience: Deborah leads on assurance and risk for the NHS Digital Board.

Deborah was formerly a non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk committee of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). She was chair of the audit committee at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, chair of the Health Protection Agency’s Medicines Technical Committee and chair of the audit committee at the NHS Camden Clinical Commissioning Group.

She has spent most of her career in the financial services sector as a director of Newton Investment Management. Since 2010, she has worked at Veritas Investment Management, where she manages portfolios for private clients, trusts and charities.

Deborah is involved in several charities including a winter night shelter for the homeless and a parent teacher association in Camden.

Appointed to the Board: 1 July 2018.

Term expires: 30 December 2021.

Committee membership: Chair, Audit and Risk Committee; Member, Information and Cyber Security Committee.

John Noble CBE

Image of John Noble CBE

Skills and experience: John leads on information and cyber security for the NHS Digital Board.

He was Director of Incident Management at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), where he led on nearly 800 major cyber security incidents. Before this, he spent four years at the British Embassy in Washington DC.

During his 40 years of government service, John has specialised in operational delivery and strategic business change. He was awarded a CBE for his work in creating effective partnerships in the run-up to the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Appointed to the Board: 1 July 2018.

Term expires: 30 June 2021.

Committee membership: Chair, Information and Cyber Security Committee; and Member, Audit and Risk Committee.

Rob Tinlin MBE

Image of Rob Tinlin MBE

Skills and experience: Rob leads on integrated care, digitising social care, change management and organisational development for the NHS Digital Board.

Rob is a non-executive director on the board of the Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal Service and chairs its audit and risk committee.

Until his retirement in 2017, he was chief executive of Southend-on-Sea Council for 12 years, during which it received the LGC Council of the Year Award (2012) and MJ Senior Leadership Team of the Year Award (2016). He was formerly chief executive of South Northamptonshire Council.

Rob was the chief executive leading on health and social care for the East of England and was a founding member of the Southend Health and Wellbeing Board. He has been a member of the National Information Board, the Anglia Ruskin MedTech Campus Board and  the advisory board for the Queen Mary University of London School of Business.

He was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to local government.

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017.

Term expires: 31 December 2019.

Committee membership: Member, Talent, Remuneration and Management Committee.

Professor Sudhesh Kumar OBE

Image of Professor Sudhesh Kumar OBE

Skills and experience: Sudhesh leads on big data, partnerships with the research sector, clinical informatics, medical technology and life sciences for the NHS Digital Board.

Sudhesh is Dean of the Warwick Medical School and Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare at the University of Warwick. He is a Non-Executive Director on the board of University Hospital Coventry and the Warwickshire NHS Trust.

He is a clinical endocrinologist with 24 years’ experience as a consultant physician in the NHS. His research has included developing novel approaches in areas such as medical technology, obesity and diabetes management. His work has helped to transform and improve patient care and treatment, on which he has published over 240 papers and six books.

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017.

Term expires: 31 December 2019.

Committee membership: Member, Audit and Risk Committee and Member, Research Advisory Group.

Dr Marko Balabanovic

Image of Dr Marko Balabanovic

Skills and experience: Marko leads on innovation, emerging technologies, partnerships and technology transfer for the NHS Digital Board.

Marko has been driving innovation in academia, corporations and start-ups both in the UK and the USA for more than 20 years. As Chief Technology Officer at Digital Catapult, his role is to drive innovation by bringing together expertise from the creative and research and development fields, and ensuring that the organisation remains at the forefront of key trends and emerging technologies. He has been instrumental in bringing several new technologies to market, including ‘State’, a digital global opinion network.

He was head of innovation at, where his team launched an array of award-winning mobile phone apps. He studied computer science at the University of Cambridge and has a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from Stanford University, where he led foundational work on recommender systems.

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017.

Term expires: 31 December 2019.

Committee membership: Member, Information and Cyber Security Committee and Member, Investment Committee.

Balram Veliath

Image of Balram Veliath

Skills and experience: Balram leads on culture, values and stakeholder relations for the NHS Digital Board.

He is the Director of Quality, Risk and Assurance at the BBC, where his responsibilities include internal auditing, risk management, safety and security, and assurance of critical projects.

He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1988 and has over 25 years’ experience of risk governance, including developing and implementing risk management systems, assisting organisations to assess their capability to handle risk, and supporting boards in culture, diversity and inclusion.

Previously, he worked in senior executive roles at the Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN AMRO, covering internal auditing and risk management across operations and technology. He worked at KPMG for 12 years, including as a partner with responsibility for financial audits across a range of sectors.

Appointed to the Board: 1 July 2018.

Term expires: 30 June 2021.

Committee membership: Member, Audit and Risk Committee.

Attendance at the Board and committees

Attendance at the Board and committees during 2018-19 was as follows:

- Public Board Board development ARC IACSC TRaMCo IC
Number of meetings 6 5 5 4 6 10
Executive directors - - - - - -
Sarah Wilkinson 6/6 5/5 3/5 - 6/6 -
Rob Shaw 5/6 4/5 3/5 2/4 - 6/10
Carl Vincent 6/6 5/5 5/5 - - 10/10
Prof Martin Severs 3/5 2/4 2/5 2/4 1/1 -
Non-executive directors            
Noel Gordon 6/6 5/5 - - 6/6 8/10
Dr Marko Balabanovic 6/6 5/5 - 4/4 - 3/3
Daniel Benton 6/6 5/5 5/5 - - 10/10
Prof Soraya Dhillon 6/6 5/5 - - 6/6 -
Prof Sudhesh Kumar 5/6 5/5 1/1 - 4/6 -
Rob Tinlin 5/6 5/5 3/5 - 2/2 -
Sir Ian Andrews 4/4 4/4 3/3 3/3 - -
Dr Sarah Blackburn 1/2 1/2 2/2 1/1 1/1 -
John Noble 5/5 4/4 3/3 3/4 - -
Deborah Oakley 5/5 4/4 3/3 3/3 - -
Balram Veliath 5/5 4/4 2/3 - - -

The above table reflects those non-executive and executive directors who attended meetings and the number of meetings they are entitled to attend in their relative capacities.

Representatives from our main sponsors,  Jonathan Marron - Director  General  for  Community  and  Social  Care,  Department of Health and Social Care and Dr Simon Eccles - Chief Clinical Information Officer for health and social care are invited  to  the Public Board and attend the Private Board as an observer. They fully contribute to the discussions but have no voting  rights. They are not paid by NHS Digital for their attendance. Jonathan Marron resigned on 30 September 2018.


ARC – Audit and Risk Committee

IACSC – Information Assurance and Cyber Security Committee

TRaMCo – Talent, Remuneration and Management Committee

IC – Investment Committee


Last edited: 4 May 2023 4:10 pm