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About our Commissioners

Kishwer, Baroness Falkner of Margravine (Chair)

Appointed for four years from 1 December 2020

Baroness Falkner

Kishwer Falkner serves as a Member of the House of Lords where she is a Cross Bench member.  In the Lords, she was a spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats on Home Affairs, Justice and Foreign Affairs from 2004-2015.  She has also served on several parliamentary committees including Chairing the EU Sub-Committee on Financial Affairs, and as a Member of the EU Select Committee, Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights; and the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.

Kishwer was formerly Policy Director at the Liberal Democrats; a political researcher at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and has held Fellowships at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2010), and at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2006).

Kishwer’s academic background is in International Relations, obtaining degrees from the London School of Economics and the University of Kent.

 

Caroline Waters OBE (Deputy Chair)

Appointed for five years from 15 January 2013
Re-appointed for five years from 15 January 2018

Caroline Waters

Currently Vice President of Carers UK, Trustee of RSPCA, and Founder and CEO of CW Consulting Box, Caroline Waters was also Director of People and Policy at BT and has a distinguished record on equality, inclusion, and human resources, and has been the driving force of many diversity-focused groups. She chaired, for example, Employers for Carers from 2001 to 2013, was founder and inaugural Chair of the Employers' Forum on Belief, and Chair of the Lone Parents working group.

She was awarded HR Director of the Year in the 2009 and Most Influential HR Director of the decade in 2016 HR Excellence Awards and has also judged a number of prestigious diversity awards including the CRE Race in the Media Awards and Help the Aged's Living Legends. She was awarded the OBE for services to diversity and equal opportunities in the New Year’s list in 2010.

 

Alastair Pringle (Interim Chief Executive) 

Appointed (ex officio, as the CEO of the Commission) 11 January 2021

Alastair Pringle

Following a decade in the NHS and the same in Central Government, focused primarily on tackling health inequalities, Alastair has worked for the Equality and Human Rights Commission since its inception.

Initially as a public appointment to sit on the statutory Scotland Committee, which advises the Board as part of the governance structures for this GB body, he then took up the post of National Director for Scotland and was then promoted to Executive Director 4 years ago.

In November 2019 he took over the Commission’s Legal, Enforcement and Compliance functions which deliver our major investigations (BBC and Equal Pay, Labour Party and Antisemitism) and inquiries (Racial Harassment in Higher Education, Adult Deaths in Detention).  

 

Suzanne Baxter

Appointed for four years from 27 April 2018

Suzanne Baxter

Suzanne is an experienced board member, finance professional and chair. She has been actively involved in the national diversity and women on boards’ agendas and was Deputy Chair and Advisory Board member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Gender Equality Campaign for over 10 years. Suzanne has extensive board and Chair experience.

She is the External Board Member at Pinsent Masons LLP, was appointed to the Board of Ascential plc as a Non-Executive director on 5 January 2021 and is a consultant to the Burrington Estates Group of companies. She was formerly a Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chair of WH Smith plc and Group Finance Director of Mitie Group plc.

Her earlier career was spent at Serco and in the accountancy profession with PWC and Deloitte. Her previous roles include Chair of BITC (South West) and Chair of the Business Services Association. Suzanne is a Fellow of the ICAEW and the Royal Society of Arts.

 

Jessica Butcher MBE

Appointed for four years from 1 December 2020

Jessica Butcher

Jessica Butcher is a serial technology entrepreneur, angel investor and business advisor. She was the cofounding CMO of Blippar from 2011 to 2015 during its rapid ascent as one of the global tech pioneers in the field of Augmented Reality.

A business mentor, speaker and writer on subjects as diverse as women in technology and entrepreneurship, work-life blend and humane technology, with deep interest around both equality of opportunity and how society might address some of the more recent negative societal and behavioural ramifications of social technology.

She is the recipient of awards including the BBC’s Top 100 Women, Fortune’s Most Powerful Female Entrepreneurs, The Evening Standard’s ‘Progress 1000’  and Europe's Top 50 Inspiring Women in Tech. Awarded an MBE for services to technology and entrepreneurship in the 2018 New Years Honours List.

 

Pavita Cooper

Appointed for four years from 27 April 2018

Pavita Cooper

Pavita Cooper is recognised as a leading talent and diversity expert; she has over 25 years’ experience as an executive talent leader across a range of multi-sector global blue-chip organisations, including Shell, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group.

Pavita has acted as an advisor to CEOs, executive teams and business leaders across multiple sectors and geographies. Pavita is a passionate advocate of greater diversity; she campaigns tirelessly to change the face of British business. She is a regular speaker on women in business, increasing ethnic diversity and the acceleration of diverse talent in the pipeline to the C-Suite and Boardroom.

Pavita is the daughter of immigrants; her early life experiences shaped her dedication to strive for greater fairness and equality for all parts of society.

Pavita is a Steering Committee member of the 30 Percent Club. In addition she chairs CMI Race and is a trustee of the Old Vic theatre. Pavita was named Woman of the Year at the Asian Business Awards in September 2017. She is a member of the Whole Education Board and appears on the Disability 100 Power list.

 

David Goodhart

Appointed for four years from 1 December 2020

David Goodhart

David is a journalist, writer and thinktanker. He worked for the Financial Times for 12 years before setting up Prospect magazine in 1995. He has been involved with issues relating to equality and discrimination for 20 years.

In 2013 he published a book on race and immigration, 'The British Dream' (runner up for the Orwell prize). When director of the Demos think tank he set up the Integration Hub website as a focus for data and debate about ethnic minority integration and segregation.

In his current role as Head of the Demography Unit at the Policy Exchange think tank he has contributed to most of the policy debates on race including cowriting a report (with Shamit Saggar and others), 'Bittersweet Success', on ethnic minority people in elite jobs. His two most recent books are 'The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics' (2017) and 'Head, Hands, Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Stats in the 21st Century' (2020). 

 

Alasdair Henderson

Appointed for four years from 27 April 2018

Alasdair Henderson

Alasdair Henderson is a barrister at 1 Crown Office Row, specialising in public law, human rights, employment law and equality law. He previously worked in Rwanda for International Justice Mission, investigating cases of land rights violations.

He has been involved in several of the most high-profile public inquiries of recent years, including the Al-Sweady Inquiry, Leveson Inquiry, Litvinenko Inquiry and the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

 

Susan Johnson OBE

Appointed for four years from 6 January 2015
Re-appointed for three years from 7 January 2019

Susan Johnson

Susan Johnson was, until her retirement in August 2015, Chief Executive at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, where she was the first woman and non-uniformed chief executive to lead a Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom. Susan previously held a senior position in the Regional Development Agency for Yorkshire and Humber following a career in international marketing in the information technology sector.

Susan was awarded the OBE for services to New Deal in the North East in 2000 and has held a number of non-executive and trustee roles in the private, public and not for profit sectors including Greggs PLC, Legacy Trust UK and Durham University.

 

Helen Mahy CBE

Appointed for four years from 27 April 2018

Helen Mahy

Helen is chair of the Renewables Infrastructure Group, which is listed on the main market on the London Stock Exchange. She is also a Non-executive Director of SSE plc and Chair of its Safety, Health and Environment Committee. She is Co-Chair of the Employers Social Mobility Alliance.

She was, until she retired in 2013, Group Company Secretary and General Counsel of National Grid plc for 10 years. At National Grid, she was also executive sponsor of inclusion and diversity, about which she is passionate. Helen has also been on the boards of Aga Rangemaster Group plc, Stagecoach Group plc, SVG Capital plc, Bonheur A.S.A, Primary Health Properties plc and was Chairperson of Medicx Fund Ltd. She qualified as a barrister and was an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute. She is also an accredited performance coach.

Helen is a member of the steering board of the Parker Review in to Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards and is a Bencher at Middle Temple.

She was also an advisory board member of Opportunity Now. Helen was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2015, for services to business and voluntary service, particularly to the legal profession and Diversity in the Workplace.

 

Mark McLane

Appointed for four years from 27 April 2018

Mark McLane

Mark McLane is Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being at M&G PLC, and until the end of 2018 was Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion for Barclays PLC. Prior to Barclays, Mark was the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Booz Allen Hamilton, a professional services firm in Washington DC. He also held the position of Chief Diversity Officer for Whirlpool Corporation. Mark holds the title of Past Master of the Guild of Human Resource Professionals.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Mark was recognised by the Guardian’s global LGBT power list, the Financial Times 100 LGBT business leaders in London, and named among the top 50 global diversity executives by the Economist.

 

Bernard, Baron Ribeiro of Achimota (Ghana) and Ovington (Hants) CBE; FRCS

Appointed for one year from 1 December 2020

Bernard, Baron Ribeiro

Lord Bernard Ribeiro was born in 1944 in Achimota in the Gold Coast (now Ghana).

He qualified as a doctor at Middlesex Medical School in 1967 and then specialised in surgery, five years later being awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS).

From 1979 until his retirement in April 2008, he was consultant general surgeon at Basildon Hospital with a special interest in urology and colorectal surgery, and he helped to establish the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital’s and NHS Foundation Trust’s advanced laparoscopic unit.

He was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1998 and served as President from 2005 until 2008.

He holds honorary degrees from the University of Bath and Anglia Ruskin University and received an Honorary Fellowship from the American College of Surgeons. In the 2004 New Year Honours he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to medicine and was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2009 New Year Honours. He was created a life peer on 20 December 2010, as Baron Ribeiro, of Achimota in the Republic of Ghana and of Ovington in the County of Hampshire.

From 2012 to 2019, he was Chair of the Department of Health's Independent Reconfiguration Panel, advising the Secretary of State for Health on changes to local health services in England.

He is President of the Council of Dean Close School.

 

Dr Lesley Sawers OBE (Scotland Commissioner)

Appointed for five years from 29 March 2016
Re-appointed for four years from 29 March 2021

Lesley Sawers

Lesley is currently a non-executive director of Crosswinds Developments Ltd and a Trustee of Age Scotland. She is also a Director of GenAnalytics Ltd, a specialist analytical and market insights consultancy. Previously Lesley was Vice Principal and Pro Vice Chancellor for Business, Enterprise and Innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University, Chief Executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and Deputy Chair of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

She has also held senior executive positions at Scottish Power plc, Royal Mail, CACI Inc and VisitScotland. She is also a past Trustee and Chair of Action for Children (Scotland), Chair of the Royal Mail Advisory Board Scotland and Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance.

 

Su-Mei Thompson

Appointed for four years from 1 December 2020

Su-Mei Thompson

Su-Mei Thompson is CEO of Media Trust, a non-profit organisation which works with the media industry to give charities and young people a stronger voice while helping the media sector to be more representative.

Previously, she was CEO of The Women’s Foundation Hong Kong. She started her career as an associate at Linklaters and has held senior management positions at The Walt Disney Company and Financial Times.

Su-Mei also serves on the Orwell Foundation board, ENO advisory board and WACL (Women in Advertising & Communications London)’s campaign committee.

One of Cranfield’s 50 BAME Women to Watch 2019, she is a former Member of the Equal Opportunities Commission of Hong Kong, founded the 30% Club’s Hong Kong chapter, was a founding board member of Save The Children Hong Kong and an Associate Producer of the award-winning documentary, 'She Objects'.

Last updated: 28 May 2021