Our Board

Maurice Watkins CBE, Chairman

Maurice Watkins CBE, Chairman

Maurice is Senior Partner and Head of Sport at Brabners LLP Solicitors, Manchester. Maurice has handled numerous high value soccer transfers at home and abroad. He has represented clubs and players before FIFA, UEFA, FA, Premier League and FAW (Football Association of Wales) disciplinary bodies, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and international and league compensation tribunals. He is Chairman of British Swimming, the Rugby League European Federation and Barnsley Football Club and President of the British Association for Sport & Law. He is also a director of Lancashire County Cricket Club. In 2012 Maurice stepped down as a director of Manchester United Football Club after 28 years’ service.

Maurice was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by University College London in 2011 and the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2011 for services to Charity. He was voted Who’s Who International Sports and Entertainment Lawyer of the Year in 2014.

David Cain, Deputy Chairman

David Cain, Deputy Chairman

David is a Senior Consultant Advisor to the Manchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and the appointed Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. David is also Chairman of the Manchester Health Academy and Deputy Chairman of the MFT Charities Fundraising Board. David represents MFT on the Oxford Road Corridor Board and is Chairman of the Executive team.

David`s earlier career was as an NHS Chief Executive of a number of Acute, Specialist and Ambulance service Trusts in Manchester and Liverpool in addition to a role as Regional Director of Primary Care for the North West. He is a founder member and Vice Chairman of Managers in Partnership (MiP) representing Senior NHS Managers in the UK. He is also an elected member of the Executive Committee of the First Division Association (FDA) of Civil servants.

His involvement with Charities extends to his role as Chairman of the Pain Relief Foundation, a National Charity focused on chronic pain research based in Liverpool and as a Board Member of the Ronald McDonald House ( Manchester) Charity. He is Deputy Chairman of the Alex Group Charity Care home for Disabled Adults in Accrington and a Trustee and Governor of the Bacup and Rossendale Grammar School.

Akeel Malik

Akeel Malik

Akeel Malik handles the day-to-day running of the Urban Splash Residential fund. He joined from UBS Investment Bank where he was part of the Real Estate, Lodging & Leisure (RELL) team advising on M&A, Equity and Debt Capital Markets transactions with a combined value of c.£20bn. These included the acquisition of Sponda by Blackstone for €3.8bn and the take private of MarketTech (owner of Camden Lock) for £893m. Prior to this, Akeel co-founded the education technology platform Aula. He graduated from Pembroke College, University of Oxford with a BA in Economics & Management.

Carol Smith

Carol Smith

Carol is Strategic Business Development Director and Head of Brand Engagement at WRG. Previously she was Managing Director of TBWA working across key accounts including PZ Cussons, Henkel, AG Barr and Brother. She then moved to McCann Erickson and led the drive into Social Marketing where the emphasis was on effective behaviour change for a variety of clients including the NHS and the COI.

She has a wealth of leadership and communications experience gained across a wide range of sectors led her to become Head of Brand Engagement at WRG. She is passionate about working with clients to develop programmes that deliver deeper employee engagement.

Professor Daniel Keenan

Professor Daniel Keenan

Daniel is a Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Associate Medical Director for MFT. He studied Medicine & Surgery at Queens University, Belfast (1975) and acquired his basic surgical skills dealing with the aftermath of the IRA terror campaign. He subsequently trained in both the UK and USA and in 1985 was appointed consultant to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, with admitting rights to BMI The Alexander Hospital. He also has consulting rooms at The Beeches in Cheadle.

He helped found the Manchester Heart Centre at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and served as clinical director from 1998 until 2002. He is a co-principal investigator within the cardiovascular research group in the University of Manchester. Nationally he chairs the Clinical Reference Group, advising NHS England on setting standards for adult cardiac surgery.

Gail Jones

Gail Jones

Gail Jones is the Managing Director and co-founder of cloud infrastructure firm UKFast. With more than 18 years’ experience in technology, Gail’s role sits within the software at the core of UKFast.

Managing UKFast's relationships with suppliers and continuously assessing best practice, Gail drives the creation of software to streamline internal processes and increase functionality for clients.

UKFast looks after the internet fortunes of some of the world’s biggest brands and protects the data of public sector and government organisations, whilst ensuring nurses and paramedics can access the training they need on the go and keeping check-in desks at some of the UK busiest airports running.

Gail works closely with UKFast’s director of CSR Russell to deliver community outreach for underprivileged young people in Greater Manchester. This saw her lead the firm’s first Community and Education Awards, recognising the North West’s unsung heroes.

Paul Horrocks DL

Paul Horrocks DL

Paul is one of the longest serving regional newspaper editors in the UK – former Editor-in-Chief of the Manchester Evening News and former President of the UK Society of Editors. He served on the Press Complaints Commission and sat on the appointments panel for new media regulator IPSO.

Currently he is a Partner at the media strategy company; Essential Comms based in Bury, Greater Manchester, and Partner at Gordon Burns Partnership, communications strategy and media training www.gordonburnspartnership.co.uk

He has experience in advising on NHS Service Transformation in Greater Manchester and is a communications specialist on hospital, primary care and social care reconfiguration. He is a media commentator for TV and radio & a BBC Breakfast TV newspaper reviewer. He is Chairman of the UK Society of Editors Regional Press Awards and judges the British Press Awards. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and a member of the Greater Manchester Police Crime Commissioner Ethics Committee. His charitable interests include acting as a Trustee for the Fusilier Museum Bury.

Rajiv Taneja

Rajiv Taneja

After graduating from Lucknow University, Rajiv moved to the UK to begin a career as a Chartered Accountant. He progressed to the position of Manager at Gane, Jackson & Walter before leaving to join to join his father-in-law’s textile business, I.J Parkash.

I.J. Parkash was then one of the leading importers of grey cloth and household goods, and in 1991 Rajiv purchased a manufacturing unit in Wales in order to being manufacturing for prisons, care homes and the National Health Service. Rajiv is now the company’s Managing Director.