Our Directors

Graham Upton

 

Professor Graham Upton DL MA PhD FBPsS

Chair of Experience Oxfordshire

Graham was educated and began his working life as a school teacher in Australia but moved to the UK in 1972 where he enjoyed a distinguished academic career. After a brief spell at Leeds Polytechnic he worked at what was then University College, Cardiff and The University of Birmingham before moving to Oxford Brookes University in 1997. During that time he carried out research and published extensively in the fields of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs but early in his career became involved in university management culminating in his appointment as Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes, a post which he held from 1997-2007. Since then he has held Interim Vice Chancellor appointments at the University of Cumbria and Glynd┼Ár University in North Wales where he has effected major turnarounds in universities which were in serious financial difficulties.


Graham has held appointments at Board level in both the private and not for profit sectors. In the private sector these have included three start up companies, Oxford Bio-Innovation Ltd, Miles Internet Ltd and Oxford Expression Technologies. In the not for profit sector this has included being Chair of the Oxfordshire Community Partnership and the Oxford Playhouse and membership of the Boards of Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals Trust, the Oxfordshire Public Service Board, the Oxfordshire Economic Partnership and the Heart of England Training and Enterprise Council. Graham also has extensive international experience and has held visiting appointments and undertaken consultancies and educational development work in a long list of countries including a period as Advisor on Higher Education to the Ministry of Education in Brunei.

Fiona Piercy

 

Fiona Piercy

Fiona is an experienced business leader and has held a number of senior management roles in both the public and private sectors.

She is currently Oxford City Council’s Regeneration Programme Director with overall responsibility for economic development and city centre management activities, and leads on major mixed use regeneration schemes including the rail station redevelopment and Oxpens.

Fiona is also a board member of Oxford West End Development Ltd and Barton Oxford LLP.

 

Michael Grange

General Manager at the Macdonald Randolph Hotel. Michael’s first job after training was as Banqueting Manager at Browns Hotel in London. The job involved the running of the 8 banqueting suites which included very high profile events from looking after the Royal family, captains of industry, politicians and Diplomats. He started his career working in London as an Assistant Manager, and then moved
outside of London to become a Deputy General Manager at a couple of hotels, one of which was a new opening. He has subsequently held seven different General Manager positions in 4 and 5 star hotels in southern England including the 5 star Macdonald Bath Spa. He has also enjoyed short assignments in Madrid, Rome, and the States. In his free time, Michael enjoys visiting and seeing other countries, meeting different people and learning about different cultures.

 

John Hoy

John Hoy joined Bidwells from early January 2017 as an Equity Partner and as Head of the Rural Division – based in the Oxford office, John’s work leads a team looking after a broad rural portfolio throughout England with many opportunities for diversification. Prior to joining Bidwells, John had been Chief Executive of Blenheim Palace since early 2003 and much progress had been achieved during his time there in order to refresh the business and the Estate. Before arriving at Blenheim Palace, John worked for The Tussaud's Group at Warwick Castle and at Madame Tussaud's in London and prior to that he had 13 years running the Knebworth Estate in Hertfordshire and 5 years working on the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. He is a Member of the VisitEngland Advisory Board and also sits on the Tourism & Commercial Development Committee for the Historic Houses Association.

 

Helen Morton

Helen Morton read Engineering at New Hall, Cambridge, trained as a civil engineer and worked on the Thames Barrier before moving to BP to work on offshore oil platform projects in the North Sea, refineries in Europe and Australia and various corporate roles, including Company Secretary for BP Oil. While at BP, she completed a part time MScBA with Boston University. She left the oil industry in 1992 to work in the charity sector, including VSO, Marie Stopes International and 5 years as Finance & Administration Director at Trinity Hospice, London. In 2000, she moved to Oxford to become the Treasurer (Finance & Estates Bursar) at Somerville College, Oxford. She took early retirement at the end of 2012 to give her more time to concentrate on her musical and outside interests. These include being a Director of Experience Oxfordshire and Experience Oxfordshire Charitable Trust, a Trustee of the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Funds, a Governor of Oxford High School and of Pipers Corner School and a Trustee of the University Women’s Club.

 

Richard Munro (Director of Experience Oxfordshire Charitable Trust)

Richard is former Director of Cultural Services for Oxfordshire County Council. Before coming to Oxfordshire he had managed libraries, arts and museums for local authorities in Manchester, London and Coventry. Currently he is Vice Chair of Cogges Heritage Trust in Witney, and a parish councillor in his home village of Alvescot, West Oxfordshire.

 

Richard Rosser

Richard Rosser has been Chief Executive of The in Oxford Group for ten years and publishes local titles such as Living In Oxford Magazine, B4 Business Magazine and The Oxfordshire Restaurant Guide. The group also run The Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards, now in their 6th year, Business in Oxford, in its 3rd year.

Richard graduated from Southampton University and trained as a Chartered Accountant with PwC (formerly PriceWaterhouse) in London.

 

Richard Venables

Director at VSL and Partners, Richard was educated at Exeter University where he gained a Geography degree. He joined James Offen and Partners in 1993, moving to Savills in 1998. Richard has considerable experience in office, industrial, retail, development and investment agency work.

 

Miranda Markham

Miranda is Community Relations Director at Value Retail / Bicester Village and is closely involved in the development of Bicester and North Oxfordshire.

 

Lorraine Lyndsay-Gale

Lorraine is Cabinet Member for Cultural & Community Services, Oxfordshire County Council. Born and bred in Oxfordshire, Lorraine worked in advertising until deciding upon a second career. She gained a BA Hons at Reading and a Professional Diploma at Oxford in order to become an archaeologist. Until December 2008 she worked at Oxford Archaeology as their Corporate Communications Officer.

 

Debbie Dance OBE

Debbie is the Director of Oxford Preservation Trust, which owns over 900 acres and listed buildings, and takes pride in its positive approach to heritage, planning, community engagement and partnership, setting up and running Oxford Open Doors, the UK's most successful Heritage Open Day event.

Debbie began her life-long career in the built environment as a commercial property surveyor, and has a Historic Conservation MSc (Distincition) from Oxford Brookes University. She has completed a number of award winning conservation projects including at Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and the regeneration of Oxford Castle.

She has held a number of voluntary posts nationally and locally and is currently a Trustee on the Churches Conservation Trust and a Trustee of the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust.

She is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS), a member of the Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation IHBC and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts FRSA.

Debbie Dance was awarded an OBE for her services to heritage in the Queen’s New Years Honours 2013.

 

 

Stuart Crook

 

Stuart Crook

Stuart divides his time between the Wellers offices in Thame, Oxford and London. He holds his Professional ACA Qualification and a degree in Maths and Accounting from Oxford Brookes University and has been with Wellers since 1999.


Born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and raised in Headington, Stuart has a natural understanding of the issues and opportunities that face Oxfordshire based businesses. He is keen to support the board by providing valuable input on the strategic side of running a business as well as financial processes. This will involve working with both the staff and fellow board members, analysing future opportunities and areas for growth of the Oxfordshire brand.


Although Stuart works with a broad range of businesses, he has extensive experience in the hospitality, technology and construction industries.

Dominic Hare

 

Dominic Hare

Dominic Hare was born in Liverpool but at 18 came up to Oxford to read Jurisprudence at New College. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, he spent the next ten years in corporate finance and investment banking, specialising in the media and telecoms sector. He is proud to have helped DJ Chris Evans buy Virgin Radio but also to have helped Bob the Builder buy both Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney the Purple Dinosaur. For the last 13 years, he has served as Finance Director at Blenheim Palace and is now the Chief Executive Officer. He is also a governor of two local schools.

Christopher Wigg

Christopher Wigg BSc FCA

A degree in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College was followed by qualification as a Chartered Accountant in London with what is now KPMG. Auditing the American University and Hospital in Beirut in 1977 was a particular highlight. Moving into industry Chris joined the head office of EMI in 1978 in the heyday of the CT scanner and Kate Bush.

Leaving EMI after it was taken over by Thorn led to a 25 year career as a Finance Director in the construction services, construction and facilities management sectors. Hire, sale and contract supply of equipment internationally with SGB; Group Finance Director of Eve Group plc, a specialist contractor in telecoms and power networks, listed on the London Stock Exchange; facilities management with Balfour Beatty plc involving public and private sector clients, and including operation of PFI contracts.

In 2006 Chris joined St Anne’s College in the University of Oxford as Treasurer and Finance Director and steered the College through significant change leading to improved financial performance and successful building projects. He retired in 2016 and is now an Emeritus Fellow. Chris was born in Lincoln and includes wood and wine in his interests.