Chris Payne – Acting Chief Executive
Chris has worked in Further Education for the last 20 years, latterly in a variety of Senior Leadership roles. Since October 2018 he has been acting CEO, leading the group on a period of significant transformational change. Chris started his FE career as head of Adult Training in an outstanding Sixth Form College, before taking on a number of management and Senior Leadership roles at a large college in Nottingham.
He joined NCG in February 2010 as Group Director for Planning and Performance, before becoming Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships. In that latter role he was Executive Lead on the mergers with Kidderminster, Carlisle and Lewisham Southwark Colleges. Externally Chris has represented the sector on Technical Advisory Groups with the Finding Agencies. He is also a Governor and Vice Chair at Ada, The National College for Digital Skills in North London.
Karen Heaney – Chief Operating Officer
Karen joined NCG in September 2018 from her role as Director of Regeneration at social housing and adult residential care providers Home Group. She has substantial experience in asset management and development, and in delivering improved services to internal and external customers in a large group.
As COO, Karen oversees Group Services functions at Executive Management level and is directly responsible for HR, Organisational Development, Communications, IT, Procurement, Property and Estates. Karen also takes a leadership role in building, implementing, and overseeing NCG’s systems, processes, workflows, and procedures ensuring overall quality and efficiency of operations.
Mike Wilmot – Chief Finance Officer
Mike took up his role as CFO at NCG in September 2018, joining from Parkdean Resorts, where he was involved in acquisition projects, business growth strategies and mergers.He also brings experience from Big Four accounting firm PwC, where he worked on some of the North East’s largest audit accounts.
Mike has overall responsibility for the financial management and reporting across NCG, as well as contributing to the overall strategic direction of the Group. Mike also leads the financial aspects of planning and budgeting, manages cash flow and ensures the accounting integrity of the Group is consistently maintained.
David Balme – Executive Director of Governance, Assurance & Risk
David joined NCG in August 2018 from his role as Director of Continuous Improvement, Change and Compliance at the University of Sunderland. David brings a wealth of education experience, having worked at the University for in excess of 13 years in a number of finance, assurance and student data roles. Prior to this, David worked within the HE and FE sectors whilst employed in financial advisory and assurance roles within KPMG.
As an Executive Director, David has responsibility at an Executive level for governance compliance across the group, leading on risk & assurance, the HE registry and information governance (including FOI and data protection).
Steven Wallis – Executive Director, Quality
Steven joined NCG in April 2018 and is responsible for the Group’s education and training performance, quality and continuous improvement, working closely with the leaders, managers and staff within NCG’s colleges and training providers.
Steven has over twenty years of experience in further education and skills, in a variety of teaching and managing roles.
Before joining NCG, he spent the last decade in the executive team of a successful Further Education college, specialising in curriculum strategy, curriculum operations and quality of provision.