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Creating a new NHS England: NHS England and NHS Digital merged on 1 February 2023. More about the merger.

Part of NHS Digital annual report and accounts 2021-22

Appendix B: Board members’ biographies and register of interests

Current Chapter

Current chapter – Appendix B: 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 is included within the board papers for each public meeting

You can view a summary of directors’ expenses

Managing directors

Simon Bolton

Interim Chief Executive

Simon Bolton

Simon joined NHS Digital in June 2021. He is also the Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO) for NHS England, which falls under the newly formed Transformation Directorate.

Prior to joining NHS Digital, Simon was the CIO at NHS Test & Trace and has held a number of executive technology leadership roles including CIO of Jaguar Land Rover and CIO of Rolls-Royce’s Land and Sea Division.

Simon was appointed as an Independent Member of Governing Council for The University of Derby in April 2019 and is also on the Board of Tech Partnership Degrees, an employer-led and not-for-profit organisation that unites employers and universities to improve the flow of talent into the digital workforce. Simon is also a Member of the Board of Advisors for Armis, a computer and network security company based in California.

Pete Rose

Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Information Security Officer

Pete Rose

Pete Rose joined NHS Digital in May 2020 as Deputy Chief Executive. He died in August 2021.

Pete was an outstanding public servant with a long track record of delivering digital and technology services to the British public. He made a significant contribution to our response to the pandemic, leading our service operations, infrastructure, collaboration services and cyber security functions during one of the most intense and challenging periods in our history.

Before joining NHS Digital, he was Deputy Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer for the Home Office. He had previously served in the Cabinet Office and had held senior roles in the private sector.

Sarah Wilkinson

Chief Executive

(until June 2021) 

Sarah Wilkinson

Sarah joined NHS Digital in August 2017. She was previously CIO at the Home Office and, prior to that, worked in financial services, where she held CIO roles at Credit Suisse, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers

Sarah is also a non-executive director of NatWest Markets, the investment banking arm of The NatWest Group, and a member of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee of King’s College London.

Executive directors

Carl Vincent

Chief Finance Officer

(until October 2022)

Carl joined NHS Digital in June 2013 on secondment from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and became permanent 2 years later. As well as leading the finance and estates functions, he has also provided temporary leadership to a number of corporate and delivery functions

Carl has an MSc in Health Economics and joined the DHSC as an economist in 1996, where he worked in a range of roles in analytical services, commercial and finance. He also spent a year on secondment at Ernst & Young.

Pete Thomas

Interim Chief Financial Officer

(from October 2022)

Pete joined NHS Digital in January 2016 as Commercial Director and became Finance Director the following year.

He has extensive experience working within the health sector. Between January 2013 and January 2016, Pete was Commercial Director at NHS Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) and was previously on secondment as Interim Chief Financial Officer at NHS West Yorkshire CSU. Pete has held senior roles within professional services, where he focused on financial management and corporate finance, working for organisations such as KPMG and Deloitte and advising public and private organisations including DHSC and the NHS.

Pete is a qualified accountant and trustee of Cardiomyopathy UK.

Professor Jonathan Benger CBE

Chief Medical Officer

Professor Jonathan Benger

Jonathan joined NHS Digital in October 2019. He is Professor of Emergency Care at the University of the West of England and an NHS consultant in emergency medicine and pre-hospital care. He works as a clinician at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and with the Great Western Air Ambulance, which he established as its first medical advisor between 2007 and 2011

Between May 2013 and July 2019, Jonathan was the National Clinical Director for Urgent Care at NHS England and led reform of the ambulance services and wider emergency care system. This included the implementation of the NHS England review of Urgent and Emergency Care, the development of the NHS Long Term Plan, and the Emergency Care Data Set. Before 2013, Jonathan chaired the Clinical Effectiveness Committee of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and served on the college’s council and executive board.

Non-executive directors

Laura Wade-Gery


Laura Wade-Gery

Laura is Chair of the NHS Digital Board, as well as Chair of the People and Transition Committee

Laura is also a non-executive director of NHS England.

Laura has over 20 years’ business experience having worked for several large businesses, including Marks & Spencer Group and Tesco. She joined Marks & Spencer Group in 2011 and was Executive Director, Multi-Channel, responsible for stores and online until 2016. She was CEO of from 2003 to 2011, and previously held several senior roles at Tesco, having joined them in 1997

Laura is currently a non-executive director of British Land PLC (and Chair of its Remuneration Committee) and of Legal and General Group. She is a trustee of Britten Pears Arts. She was an advisor to the Government Digital Service from 2012 to 2016 and a non-executive director of the John Lewis Partnership from 2017 to April 2021.

Appointed to the Board: 1 September 2020

Professor Sudhesh Kumar OBE

Professor Sudhesh Kumar

Sudhesh is Vice Chair of the NHS Digital Board.

He is Dean of the Warwick Medical School at University of Warwick, a nonexecutive director on the University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust Board, and a member of the External Advisory Board at Brunel Medical School

Sudhesh is a clinical endocrinologist by background with 24 years’ experience as a consultant physician in the NHS. His research interests include developing novel approaches, including medical technology, to managing obesity and diabetes that have helped to transform and improve patient care and treatment. He has published over 240 papers and 6 books on these subjects

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017

Daniel Benton

Daniel Benton

Daniel is Senior Independent Director of the NHS Digital Board.

He spent most of his career at Accenture, where he was global head of the Technology Strategy and Digital Strategy practices. He has extensive experience both of setting and implementing the technology agendas for large organisations through periods of transformational change, including the implementation of advanced consumer-facing technologies. He led much of Accenture’s thinking around the impact of technology on business and on transforming IT organisations. He was also seconded twice as CIO to an international bank and a large global insurer. 

Daniel is a trustee of The Grange Festival.

Appointed to the Board: 1 January 2017

Deborah Oakley

Deborah Oakley

Deborah is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee (ARC).

She has a long-standing passion and commitment to the NHS which stretches back to 2000 when she started as a volunteer at University College Hospitals. She was formerly a non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk committee of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), chair of the audit committee at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, chair of the Health Protection Agency’s Biological Medicines Technical Committee and chair of the Audit Committee at NHS Camden

Deborah’s executive career is in financial services. She worked at Newton Investment Management for 20 years and became a director of the company. Since 2010 she has worked at Veritas Investment Partners (UK) Limited where she is an Investment Partner managing portfolios for private clients, trusts and charities.

Deborah is involved in several charitable projects including a winter homeless night shelter, a food bank and a welfare scheme in Camden.

Appointed to the Board: 1 July 2018

Balram Veliath

Balram Veliath

Balram is currently the Director of Quality, Risk and Assurance at the BBC where his responsibilities include internal audit, risk management, safety and security, and assurance of critical projects. Previously, he has worked in senior executive roles with Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN Amro covering internal audit and risk management across operations and technology. Prior to this he worked at KPMG for 12 years, including as Partner with responsibility for financial audits across a range of sectors

Balram 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 capacity to handle risk, and supporting boards with monitoring and assessing culture, diversity and inclusion. He is also on the College Council of Royal Holloway, University of London and is the Chair of the Audit Risk and Compliance Committee.

Appointed to the Board: 1 July 2018

John Noble CBE

John Noble CBE

John is Chair of the Information and Cyber Security Committee.

Formerly, he was Director of Incident Management at the National Cyber Security Centre, where he led on nearly 800 major cyber incidents. Prior to that, John spent 4 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 in 2012 for his work in creating effective partnerships in the run up to the London 2012 Summer Olympics

Appointed to the Board: 1 July 2018

Ben Goldacre

Professor Ben Goldacre

Ben joined the Board of NHS Digital as a non-executive director on 1 April 2021.

He is a professor at the University of Oxford, where he is also Director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science, building tools and research outputs from large health datasets and advising government on better uses of data and technology

He leads various open-source technology projects at the University of Oxford including, a new model of secure analytics platform that runs across unprecedented volumes of linked primary and secondary care electronic health record data;, an open data explorer for NHS primary care prescribing with over 130,000 users a year; and, a tool that monitors clinical trial reporting performance

His books, including ‘Bad Science’, have sold over 700,000 copies in more than 30 countries. His online lectures have over 5 million views.

Appointed to the Board: 1 April 2021

Steven Woodford

Steve Woodford

Steve is a member of the Information Assurance and Cyber Security Committee and the Investment Committee.

Until May 2022, he was CIO at BGL Group, home of and provider of motor, home and life insurance products from several of the best-known brands in UK financial services including Budget Insurance, Dial Direct and Beagle Street.

Steve’s responsibilities include all aspects of technology, business continuity, information security, data platforms and AI / machine learning

Steve has a strong track record of leading bold technology-enabled business transformation for global organisations in fast-moving, highly regulated sectors. He has developed over 25 years’ experience through directorship positions with PwC, BGL Group and tech start-ups, working with organisations as varied as Pfizer, Nestle, GlaxoSmithKline, SBO Bet, Microgaming, Microsoft, BBC and Zurich Insurance. He is a trustee for the UK charity Dr Frost Maths, which provides free online maths learning resources for children across the world

Appointed to the Board: 1 April 2021

Patrick Eltridge

(until September 2022)

Patrick Eltridge

Patrick was a member of the Investment Committee and the People and Transition Committee.

He is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Nationwide Building Society where he leads on technology, digital, operations, data, security, payments, risk and controls, supply chain and property.

In roles prior to Nationwide, Patrick was Group CIO at Royal Bank of Scotland (now NatWest) and Group CIO for Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications business

Patrick has a career spanning over 30 years with experience including financial services, telecommunications, consulting and technology start-ups.

Appointed to the Board: 1 April 2021

Dr Marko Balabanovic

Dr Marko Balabanovic

Marko has over 25 years’ experience developing innovations in academia, corporations and start-ups in both the UK and US. As Technology Director at Our Future Health (previously Early Disease Detection Research Project UK), his role is to develop the technology platforms to underpin one of the world’s foremost health research programmes. Previously, as Head of Innovation and Artificial Intelligence at Huma, he was creating market-leading digital health technologies. Prior to that, he was Chief Technology Officer at Digital Catapult, working across emerging technologies including machine learning, 5G, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality and blockchain.

Marko has been instrumental in bringing several new technologies to market. At a start-up called State he helped to launch a digital global opinion network. Formerly, Marko was Head of Innovation at lastminute. com, where his team launched an array of award-winning mobile apps. Marko studied Computer Science at Cambridge University and has a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from Stanford, where he led foundational work on recommender systems. 

Term expired: 31 December 2021.

Professor Soraya Dhillon MBE

Professor Soraya Dhillon

On the NHS Digital Board, Soraya has a non-executive director oversight role for raising concerns and whistleblowing.

Soraya has over 35 years’ experience in academia and clinical practice. She retired as Dean of School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire in November 2016 and is Emeritus Professor in Clinical Pharmacology.

Soraya has held several senior non-executive posts in the NHS since 1991. She was chair of Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (1999-2010), non-executive director and vice chairman at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2014-2020), a member of the General Pharmaceutical Council and a board director for the Eastern Academic Health Science Network. 

Soraya is a non-executive director at Health Education England. She is a fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, holds the Charter Gold Medal for Science and Practice and was awarded an MBE for her contribution to Health Services in Bedfordshire. 

Term expired: 31 December 2021

Ex-officio Board members

Simon Madden

(from 9 May 2022)

Simon is Joint Head of the NHS Transformation Digital Policy Unit and Director of Data Policy in the Department of Health and Social Care.

He is a career civil servant with experience in frontline operations, policy development, project delivery, strategy, planning and performance. His previous posts have included Director of Places for Growth in the Cabinet Office, leading a cross-government programme delivering a commitment to move public bodies and civil service roles out of London into the regions and nations of the United Kingdom; and Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s Implementation Unit where he led on government planning and performance strategy


Matthew Gould

(until 5 May 2022)

Matthew was the CEO of NHSX, prior to the organisation integrating with the Transformation Directorate at NHS England in early 2022

Before joining NHSX, he was the government’s Director-General for Digital and Media Policy for 3 years. Before that, he was British Ambassador to Israel, where he set up the UK-Israel Tech Hub, and the UK government’s Director of Cyber Security. He also served in Tehran, Islamabad, Washington and Manila.

Last edited: 8 November 2022 1:08 pm