Board of Directors
Key to committees/roles:
- E Executive
- N Nomination
- A Audit and Risk
- R Remuneration
Peter Allen, BA (Hons) ACA
Appointment: June 2018
Background: Peter has over 20 years’ experience as an executive director, non-executive director and chairman in a wide range of life science companies playing a significant role in their growth. He spent three years as Chairman of Proximagen Neurosciences plc (2009-2012), six years at ProStaken Group plc as Chairman (2007–2013) and interim CEO (2010–2011) and twelve years at Celltech Group plc (1992–2004) as CFO and Deputy CEO.
Current external appointments: Peter is currently Non-Executive Chairman of AIM listed Advanced Medical Solutions plc, Clinigen plc and Diurnal plc and privately-owned Oxford Nanopore Technologies Ltd. He is a Non-Executive Director of Istesso Ltd.
Skills and experience: A chartered accountant by background, Peter brings to Abcam his experience as a chairman and board member and has substantial experience in M&A, international growth, fundraising and investor relations, as well as the commercialisation of intellectual property.
Jonathan Milner, PhD
Appointment: April 1998
Background: Having worked in the life sciences industry for over ten years as an academic researcher, Jonathan identified the market opportunity for supplying high-quality antibodies to support protein interaction studies and in 1998 founded Abcam with Dr David Cleevely and Professor Tony Kouzarides.
Current external appointments: Jonathan is a Non-Executive Director of The Evolution Education Trust, HealX, Syndicate Room Group Ltd and Start Codon. He is also Chairman of Axol Bioscience Ltd, PhoreMost Ltd and CamAllergy Ltd. Jonathan holds an Executive Director position at Meltwind Limited, being a designated member of Meltwind Advisory LLP, and is a member of the advisory panel of Cambridge Innovation Capital plc.
Skills and experience: Jonathan is an experienced entrepreneur and investor and is passionate about supporting UK life science and high-tech start-ups. He has provided considerable investment and support to over 40 companies and has assisted three AIM IPOs and contributes this knowledge to Abcam.
Alan Hirzel MS, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Appointment: January 2014
Background: Alan joined the business in 2013 following a strategic review which he led with the Founder and Board to define a long-term growth plan for Abcam. He has subsequently led the company to achieve over 100% growth, and through substantial organisation change since becoming CEO in 2014. Prior to joining Abcam, Alan was a Partner at Bain & Company where he advised global executives and private equity investors on growth strategy, performance improvement and acquisitions. Early in his career he worked in a variety of roles from life science researcher at Cornell University to new product development research at Kraft Foods. He holds BS, MS, and MBA degrees from Cornell University. He also has a passion for social enterprise and was involved in establishing two social venture philanthropy organisations in the UK and later acted as a Trustee for the National Citizen’s Service Trust.
Current external appointments: Alan has no external appointments.
Skills and experience: Alan brings to the Abcam Board a rare combination of a strong scientific background, and global business and leadership experience. He has a keen focus to ensure Abcam engages with the needs and mission of its consumers in the lab, helping Abcam’s strategic vision to be the most influential life science company in the world because it helps researchers achieve their mission, faster.
Gavin Wood, BA (Hons) ACA
Chief Financial Officer
Appointment: September 2016
Background: Gavin is a chartered accountant who started his career in practice before joining the Unipart Group of Companies, where he had a number of roles of increasing responsibility. He moved into the life sciences sector when he joined Affymetrix Inc (Nasdaq: AFFX) in 2006. He was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer leading the global finance and information technology functions when Affymetrix was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc in 2016.
Current external appointments: Gavin has no external appointments.
Skills and experience: Gavin has over 20 years’ experience as an accounting professional with broad and international exposure in a number of sectors and roles including corporate, statutory and operational accounting, project management and investor relations.
Louise Patten, MA (Oxon)
Non-executive and Senior Independent Director
Appointment: March 2014
Background: Having started her career in corporate and investment banking, Louise moved into management consultancy and became a Board Director of the Hilton Group. Since then she has served on a succession of multi-national listed company boards for more than 20 years as a non-executive director, a senior independent director, a remuneration committee chairman and a company chairman at organisations including the retailers Marks & Spencer plc, GUS plc and Somerfield plc.
Current external appointments: Louise is currently a Senior Advisor to Bain & Company and a Non-Executive Director of Arthur J Gallagher (UK) Limited, Arthur J Gallagher Holdings (UK) Limited and Arthur J Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited.
Skills and experience: Louise’s highly recognised career in business, with her extensive board and corporate governance experience, brings Abcam the knowledge and proficiency required to support its strategic growth plans and, whilst doing this, ensures that the Abcam Board is led by a robust governance framework.
Sue Harris, BSc ACMA
Appointment: December 2014
Background: A chemist by training, Sue has held senior executive positions in Retail and Financial Services. She held senior roles at Marks & Spencer plc across finance and strategy, latterly as Head of Corporate Development and Group Treasurer. She was Managing Director Finance at Standard Life, where she led the process to float the Group. She was Finance Director of Cheltenham and Gloucester, Lloyds Banking Group’s Retail Bank and Group Finance and Group Audit Director. Sue has several years’ experience as a non-executive director. Previously she was a Non-Executive Director of St. James’s Place and Bank of Ireland UK, Chair of Trustees for KCP Youth and chaired the finance and audit committees of Mencap.
Current external appointments: Sue is a Non-Executive Director of Schroder & Co. Limited, FNZ UK, Barclays Pension Funds Trustees Limited and Co-operative Bank, and is Chair of the Audit and Assurance Council and a member of the Codes and Standards Committee of the Financial Reporting Council.
Skills and experience: With over 30 years’ of financial, commercial and corporate board experience as well as her scientific background, Sue brings a wealth of skills that strengthen the Abcam Board in its growth strategy.
Mara Aspinall, MBA
Appointment: September 2015
Background: Mara is Managing Director of BlueStone Venture Partners and CEO of Health Catalysts Group. Previously, Mara was President and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems/Roche Tissue Diagnostics, leading the company to increased market leadership worldwide and primacy in companion diagnostics. Mara spent twelve years at Genzyme Corporation (now part of Sanofi) as President of Genzyme Genetics and Genzyme Pharmaceuticals. She is co-founder of the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics at Arizona State University, the only institution dedicated to the study of diagnostics as an independent discipline. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
Current external appointments: Mara is a Director of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc, Castle Biosciences, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, OraSure Technologies, Strateos (was 3Scan Inc), RainBird and Paradigm Diagnostics.
Skills and experience: Mara contributes her considerable international experience in the biotechnology and diagnostics industries with public and private companies. Mara’s specific focus areas are acquisition integration, global manufacturing, quality systems and strategic marketing.
Giles Kerr, ACA
Appointment: 12 December 2018
Background: Giles has substantial commercial and financial experience from service on numerous public and private company boards and as an audit partner. From 1990 he served in a variety of increasingly senior roles at Amersham plc, including as Chief Financial Officer and a Board member from 1997 to 2004, when the company was acquired by GE Healthcare. Prior to his role at Amersham, he was a National Partner with Arthur Andersen. He was Director of Finance of the University of Oxford from 2005 until 2018 and was previously a Director of Victrex plc, BTG plc, Quanta Dialysis Technologies and Elan Corporation Inc.
Current external appointments: Giles is currently a Non-Executive Director of Arix Bioscience plc, Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc, PayPoint plc, Senior plc and Oxford Sciences Innovation.
Skills and experience: A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales with over 20 years' experience in key senior positions in a number of companies, Giles has played a pivotal role their development and growth. Giles brings his first-hand understanding of Abcam’s academic research customers from his time at Oxford University.