Executive Leadership Team

Our day-to-day activities are managed by a leadership team made up of senior managers from across the organisation. 

Portrait of Jeremy Farrar

Director of the Wellcome Trust

Jeremy Farrar

Before joining Wellcome in October 2013, Jeremy Farrar was Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Viet Nam for 18 years. His research interests were infectious diseases and global health, with a focus on emerging infections. He has published almost 600 articles, mentored many dozens of students and fellows, and served as Chair on several advisory boards for governments and global organisations.

He was named 12th in the Fortune list of 50 World’s Greatest Leaders in 2015 and was awarded the Memorial Medal and Ho Chi Minh City Medal from the Government of Viet Nam. In 2018 he was awarded the President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian of the Year Award. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences UK, the National Academies USA, the European Molecular Biology Organisation and a Fellow of The Royal Society. Jeremy was knighted in the Queen’s 2019 New Year Honours for services to global health.

Jeremy is married with three children. He loves all sport and walking in the Alps.

Chris Bird, Wellcome's head of legal

General Counsel and Company Secretary

Chris Bird

Chris Bird is Wellcome's senior legal adviser, and is responsible for managing all the legal needs of Wellcome and its subsidiaries.

During his time here, Chris has been involved in and led some of our highest profile projects and policy interests.

Before joining Wellcome in 2000, Chris was an Associate Solicitor with Osborne Clarke LLP. 

Karen Chadwick, acting chief financial officer at Wellcome

Finance Director

Karen Chadwick

Karen joined Wellcome in autumn 2015. Her responsibilities include ensuring the best possible operating position for Wellcome in relation to financial planning, reporting and cost management. This includes maintaining our financial controls, ensuring finance systems are robust and driving the quality of our financial and tax reporting.

Before joining Wellcome, Karen was Global Controller for Lonza Biologics, a contract manufacturing business. She qualified as an accountant with PwC and worked for many years at Bristol-Myers Squibb in a variety of finance and commercial roles. 

Alyson Fox

Director of Grants

Alyson Fox

Alyson Fox joined Wellcome in November 2010. She has responsibility for the management and governance of our grant funding and review processes.

Before Wellcome, she pursued a research career, at University College London and Imperial College, and then in the pharma industry. Alyson spent 13 years working in drug discovery at Novartis, ultimately leading a therapeutic area responsible for a portfolio of projects from target discovery and preclinical development to clinical trials.

She has experience in neuroscience, respiratory and gastrointestinal research areas.

Philomena Gibbons

Director of Culture & Society

Philomena Gibbons

Philomena Gibbons has enjoyed a long and varied career at Wellcome, having joined in 1991. Her responsibilities now include leading Wellcome’s work in humanities and social science research, public engagement, education and learning, open research, international cultural activities, and Wellcome Collection.

Before joining Wellcome, Philomena worked as a modern languages teacher in a London comprehensive school, an English teacher in Spain, and an arts administrator. She graduated with a degree in French and Spanish from the University of Birmingham.

She holds a number of charitable trustee positions, including trustee of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Europe.

Mark Henderson, Head of Communications

Director of Communications

Mark Henderson

Mark Henderson leads all aspects of our communications, with a particular focus on building and sustaining Wellcome's reputation and influence so that our work contributes more to health and society. His team's responsibilities include brand, media relations, digital products, content, campaigns, design and understanding our audiences. 

Mark joined Wellcome in 2012. Before that, he had a 15-year career in journalism at The Times of London, where he was Science Editor and won several awards for his reporting.

He has written two books: 'The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters', which explores the relationship between science and politics, and '50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know'. He is an avid skier.

Tim Knott, Wellcome's Director of Innovations

Director of Innovations

Tim Knott

Tim Knott joined Wellcome in 2009. He leads Wellcome’s Innovations team, which supports researchers and organisations to translate their ideas and discoveries into new interventions for the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of disease.

During his time at Wellcome, Tim has managed the Health Innovation Challenge Fund, in partnership with the UK Department of Health and Social Care. More recently he led the Science, Innovation and Translation Programme, which has built a portfolio of vaccine and therapeutic development programmes with a focus on global health. 

Before joining Wellcome, Tim worked at the Medical Research Council, Amersham, GE Healthcare and Imperial Innovations. 

Kathy Poole, Wellcome's Director of People

Director of People

Kathy Poole

Kathy Poole joined Wellcome in August 2018 and leads the People Department. Working in collaboration with leaders, teams and individuals across the business, she is focused on creating the conditions for our people that will ensure our ideas thrive and deliver against our global ambitions. As part of making sure that the best and most far-reaching ideas are developed and implemented, Kathy is committed to bringing about true diversity and inclusion within Wellcome and beyond our borders where we have influence.

After graduating from Imperial College with a Master's in Organisational Design, Kathy has spent her career within HR in a variety of different organisations including British Airways and Channel 4.

Outside Wellcome, Kathy is a member of the Board of Governors for the Institute of Employment Studies.

Paul Schreier, Wellcome's Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

Paul Schreier

Paul Schreier joined Wellcome in September 2019. He is responsible for the effective and efficient delivery of Wellcome’s operations, with a particular focus on finance, grants, digital and technology.

Before joining Wellcome, Paul led Hakluyt & Company, prior to which his experience includes roles as: DVC and COO of Macquarie University in Australia; deputy secretary with responsibility for economic policy and strategy in the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; a partner with McKinsey & Co; and an officer in the Royal Navy, including a period in Command.

His personal interests include history and historical biography, rugby, cricket and rowing. Paul is a trustee of the National Army Museum in London.

Jim Smith, Wellcome's Director of Science

Director of Science

Jim Smith

Jim Smith joined Wellcome's leadership team as Director of Science on 1 December 2016. From January 2019 to May 2020 he led a review of how Wellcome supports research to ensure the best possible advances in scientific knowledge and health. He has now returned to his original role. 

A globally recognised developmental biologist, Jim's research interests include inductive interactions in vertebrate development and applying the principles of developmental biology to stem cell differentiation.

His previous roles include Director of the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute and Director of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), where he oversaw its transition to the Francis Crick Institute. More recently, he has been Deputy CEO and Chief of Strategy at the Medical Research Council, and Director of Research and Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute.

Jim has a distinguished career in scientific research as a Fellow of the Royal Society (1993), a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1998) and a member of the Academia Europaea (2000). He has also been awarded the EMBO Medal (1993) and the Waddington Medal (2013). Jim was knighted in the 2017 Queen's New Year's Honours list.

Jim has kept his lab at the Francis Crick Institute but is no longer a Crick employee or part of its leadership team. In line with our Conflicts of Interest Policy [PDF 137KB], he will play no part in any Wellcome funding decisions related to the Francis Crick Institute or its employees.

James Thomas, Wellcome's chief technology officer

Chief Technology Officer

James Thomas

James Thomas joined Wellcome in April 2016. He is responsible for leadership of our technology and digital services. 

Before Wellcome, James had an extensive career in the private and public sectors, delivering transformational change through technology and data.

His career began in the oil and water industries, with BP and Veolia. He moved to global technology provider Oracle to develop and lead technology consulting services for clients, including banking, defence and manufacturing. 

He then moved into healthcare, with technology leadership roles in the NHS. This included eight years as a Director of UCL Hospitals, establishing UCL Partners, London NHS Procurement Partnership and the UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre. Following this, James became an Associate Partner at Atos Consulting, including working with Genomics England to review its Informatics and bioinformatics capabilities.

Ed Whiting

Director of Strategy

Ed Whiting

Ed Whiting works with teams across Wellcome to align our activity with our mission and to ensure Wellcome’s impact is greater than the sum of its parts. This includes working with Wellcome’s senior teams to set and communicate our short, medium and long-term priorities, and put resources and plans in place to deliver them.

As part of his role, Ed is also the Executive Leadership Team sponsor of Wellcome’s policy function, strategic partnerships and mental health priority area. 

Before joining Wellcome in September 2016, Ed worked in a number of Whitehall social and financial policy departments, including HM Treasury’s financial stability team during the 2008-09 financial crisis. He was most recently at 10 Downing Street as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, leading on public services.

Executive team sub-groups

These sub-groups have full delegated authority, except for certain key governance areas.

Operational sub-group:

  • Paul Schreier (Chair)
  • Sheri Adigun (Commercial Finance Manager)
  • Chris Bird
  • Karen Chadwick
  • Alyson Fox
  • Nina Frentrop (Grants Information and Systems Manager)
  • Chris Newstead (Head of Internal Communications)
  • Kathy Poole
  • James Thomas.

Funding and Direct Activities sub-group:

  • Alyson Fox (Chair)
  • Karen Chadwick (Deputy Chair)
  • Philomena Gibbons
  • Imran Khan (Head of Public Engagement)
  • Tim Knott
  • Clare Ryan (Head of Media Relations)
  • Jim Smith
  • Abby Taylor (Head of Strategy and Performance),
  • Ed Whiting.

Other Executive team members join the sub-groups when necessary.