Our board is made up of three executive directors and five non-executive directors and shares a strong mix of skills and experience.

The members

Phil White, Chairman

Phil has served as Chairman since May 2008. He was Chief Executive of National Express Group plc from 1997 to 2006 and led the business through growth in the UK and overseas. He gained extensive executive experience in the public transport sector during the period of deregulation and privatisation. He is non-executive chair of Lookers plc as well as non-executive director of VP plc.

Richard Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Richard became CEO in June 2016 after working as Unite's managing director of operations since 2011 and joining the business as deputy chief financial officer in 2010. Prior to Unite, Richard worked in the transport industry in the UK, Europe, North America and Australia, including 13 years at National Express Group.

Joe Lister, Chief Financial Officer

Joe joined Unite in 2002 and was appointed chief financial officer in 2008 having held roles including investment director. Prior to joining Unite, Joe qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Richard Simpson, Group Property Director

Richard joined Unite in 2005 and is chair of the British Property Federation's cross-sector student accommodation committee. He is a qualified chartered surveyor and fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Prior to Unite, Richard served for six years in the British Army.

Professor Sir Tim Wilson, Non-executive Director

Sir Tim is widely recognised as one of the leading thinkers in the field of collaboration between academic institutions and industry. He is the author of the government-commissioned Wilson Review 2012. He has extensive experience in UK higher education including vice chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, deputy chair of the CBI innovation, science and technology committee, trustee of the Council for Industry and Higher Education and serving on the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. He was appointed to the Unite board in 2010.

Elizabeth McMeikan, Senior Independent Director

Liz brings extensive experience from customer-focused businesses including Tesco and Colgate Palmolive. She is senior independent director at JD Wetherspoon and chairs the remuneration committee at FlyBe plc. She is chair of Moat Homes Ltd, a leading housing association in the South East. She joined Unite in 2014.

Andrew Jones, Non-executive Director

Andrew became chief executive officer of LondonMetric Property in 2013. He was the founder of Metric in 2010. His previous roles include executive director and Head of Retail at British Land. He was appointed to the Unite board in 2013.

Ross Paterson, Audit Committee Chair

Ross was appointed as Audit Committee Chair in February, 2018, after being appointed as Non-Executive Director of the board in September, 2017. He is Finance Director of Stagecoach Group plc, and as a member of Stagecoach’s board is responsible for finance, technology and compliance. In addition, he is a non-executive director and Audit Committee Chair of Virgin Rail Group Holdings Limited, and a member of the Business Policy Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.


N.B: It is with great sadness the Board of Unite Group plc announces that Manjit Wolstenholme, senior independent non-executive director, has passed away.

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