Who we are

CoSector - University of London is a uniquely placed organisation, dedicated to enhancing education and enriching the learning experience. We were formed in 2015 by bringing together three formerly separate divisions within the university to share resources and expertise with our customers.

Senate House - CoSector Governance

Our services focus primarily on the higher education sector, but we also work closely with professional learning organisations and commercial companies in other sectors. We are steeped in university culture as a core part of the University of London and as such have a particular insight into future of learning environments.

Governance - The CoSector Advisory Board

Rosalyn (Ros) Wilton has had a distinguished career spanning four decades during which she has held a number of high profile executive and non-executive positions. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of LondonMetric Property PLC, where she is Chair of Audit. Previous positions include non-executive director of AXA UK Ltd, where she was Chair of Risk and a non-executive director of Optos plc, where she was Chair of Remuneration.

Between 1999 and 2006, Ros was chief executive of Hemscott Group Ltd, the financial data company which merged with a US firm to form the global financial technology company Ipreo, where she became Chairman until 2009. Prior to this, she worked for Reuters Group, where she held a number of senior roles, including the position of Managing Director, Transaction Products. She was also the first woman to be appointed to the Reuters Executive Committee, making her the most senior woman in the Reuters Group at that time and was short listed for UK Business Woman of the Year.

Previously, as a Director of the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE), she was the first woman to serve on the board of any Exchange in the UK or Europe. 

Ros’s educational involvements include being Chair of Governors at Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley and is Vice Chair of the Harris Federation Board a leading sponsor of 44 academies in and around London and a Teaching School for training teachers.

Ros read Mathematics at the University of London and is married with two daughters.

Ros is Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of London

Chris Cobb is Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of London.  He was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor at Roehampton University  and prior to that was at the London School of Economics where he was Director of Business Systems and Services.

Chris is a former member of the AHUA Executive (2014-2016) and is a member of UK HE Financial Sustainability Steering Group and is also a member of the HESA Data Futures Programme Board.
Chris has sat on a number of national working groups relating to IT in Higher Education. Chris is a member of Oracle EMEA HE Advisory Group and a member of Ovum’s Future EdTech Advisory Board.

Previously he has been a member of the HEFCE Shared Services working group. He has undertaken JISC funded research in the use of enterprise architecture within a university context with the specific aim of developing a services oriented architecture to enable shared services.

Chris has also taught University IT Management at the HUMANE Winter School and is a member of the HUMANE Executive Committee and Round Table.

Chris is a judge on the Times Higher Education Awards and the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards, and is also a Governor of Goodenough College and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and the City of London.


Professor Paul Layzell BA (Econ), PhD, FBCS, CEng, FHEA is Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, joining the institution in 2010. Previously he held senior positions at the universities of Sussex, Manchester and UMIST and managed the merger of UMIST and the University of Manchester. 

He is a computer science academic working in the field of software engineering and Cloud computing. He is chair of AQA Education, one of the UK’s largest examination bodies for A-level and GCSE qualifications. 

He is also a trustee of Jisc, provider of digital services to the higher education, further education and skills sectors, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of London.

During his international career in the chemicals industry Martin was engaged as the Finance Director to a variety of businesses and groups. He also joined Boards in Asia, The Americas and Europe, including Chair of a substantial Joint Venture in Korea and Chair of a UK Pensions Trustees Board.

In 1998 Martin joined Akzo Nobel to merge a newly acquired chemicals group. Following its successful integration, he accepted the role of Finance Director for the global Marine and Protective Paints business where he played a pivotal role in its turnaround and as a reference for business excellence throughout the Group.

In 2006, he took up the role of Group Financial Controller and Divisional Finance Director in Akzo Nobel’s corporate team in the Netherlands. The development of strategy and implementation of strong policies, at both corporate and business levels, were integral to success during the period of transformation at this Global Fortune 500 Group. Martin was influential in many of its major transactions, including the acquisition and integration of ICI (formerly Imperial Chemical Industries) in 2008.

Retiring from the chemicals sector in order to work with groups with an unambiguous social purpose, Martin joined Kingston University in 2011 as Finance Director at a time when the HEI needed to adapt to the changing regulatory landscape. His influence developed beyond Kingston as an active member of sector groups, including work with HEFCE and BIS in 2014 advising the Minister of State for Universities and Science on the subject of policy changes for improved graduate employability.

Since 2014 Martin has concentrated on Non Executive positions within the Higher Education and Social Housing sectors. He is a Trustee and Director on the Board of Regent’s University as well as a member of its Finance and Investment Committee. He is a member of Southern Housing’s Audit Committee. Other recent roles have included membership of the Audit and Risk Committee at Circle Housing and Board memberships of the Roddens and Russet housing associations.

Martin is a qualified accountant and holds first class honours in economics from the London School of Economics.

Mark Newton, Managing Director of CoSector – University of London has over 29 years of experience in operational, technical and IT roles, with a strong track record of delivering change initiatives across business critical operations in a range of sectors by identifying creative and pragmatic solutions.

Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr is the Director of Property and Facilities Management

Karen Kroger is the Acting Finance Director and provides financial planning and analysis capability within the University.

Mark Allen has a background and extensive expertise in student accommodation and housing and was formerly a director at UPP (Universities Public Partnerships).

Leadership Team

Mark Newton, Managing Director of CoSector – University of London has over 29 years of experience in operational, technical and IT roles, with a strong track record of delivering change initiatives across business critical operations in a range of sectors by identifying creative and pragmatic solutions.

At CoSector – University of London, Mark is responsible for leading the business comprising Digital and ICT, Student Housing, Recruitment and Events, line managing circa 120 staff. CoSector’s purpose is to improve student experience and outcomes by working with organisations to help them optimise their investment in education. Aiming to be a provider of choice for a range of services which enrich learning and education. 

Previous to joining CoSector, Mark held a role for eight years at Ealing Council, where he was director of business services. Here he was responsible for ICT, Property & Facilities Management, Strategic Procurement and HR Shared Services. During his time at Ealing, Mark developed a 5-year ICT strategy which saw the refresh of an ageing ICT infrastructure to enable the Council’s key delivery objectives, securing approval of Executive Board and elected members. Previous to this, Mark spent 18 years in a variety of technical operational and senior management roles at the BBC, including head of IT and technical support in BBC News.

Mark holds an MBA (with merit) from the University of Westminster and a BSc (Hons) Applied Physics from Portsmouth. Further to this, Mark completed a senior leadership accreditation from Ashridge during his time at the BBC. 

James Silcock, Commercial Director, has more than 30 years experience of managing and developing companies. He has led these companies through start-up, re-organisation, acquisition, divestment, turnaround and growth. 

James has spent the last 20 years in Senior Business Development and Commercial roles spanning Consultancy, Business Process Outsourcing, SaaS, Software Publishing and IT Services Management. His understanding of both Domestic and European markets encompasses Mergers and Acquisitions, Direct Sales, Business Development and Marketing in the Financial Services, Government and Education markets. 

At CoSector – University of London, James is responsible for driving the company’s business development and commercial value forwards. Specifically developing and implementing marketing and business development plans that maintain and increase existing business and open up new market opportunities. His key successes in this area have been the development of the company’s business strategy that focuses on the Learner’s Journey and Student Experience. 

James holds a Business of Science Biotechnology degree and a Master of Science Information Technology degree from De Montfort University Leicester, a Master of Arts Marketing degree from Kingston Business School, as well being a certified Direct Marketer from the Institute of Digital and Direct Marketing and is a Google Certified Digital Marketer. 


Dave Kenworthy, Director of Digital Services has over 17 years of experience of leading the delivery of commercial IT services including software, infrastructure, platform and professional services.

At CoSector, Dave leads the Digital Services team, circa 60 staff, responsible for delivering high quality, cost-effective IT and digital solutions to over 300 UK institutions, and over one million HE & FE users. Dave’s key focus at CoSector, in a rapidly changing digital world, is to continuously embed solutions and processes that enable our customers to enrich education and learning through innovative and sustainable services, and ultimately enhance the student experience.

Prior to joining University of London in 2012, Dave spent over 10 years in software engineering at global engineering firm, Bühler. Dave moved from a graduate position to leading the software team and in doing so transformed the full software lifecycle - producing more reliable, better-functioning software delivered, tested and released efficiently through automation.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Modern History, Economic History and Politics from Royal Holloway, University of London 2:1 (Hons) and a Master of Science (MSc) in Computer Science (Distinction) from UCL.

Martin Wills, Transformation and Operations Director - Martin is a versatile, adaptable and innovative senior business leader with extensive experience of leading organisations through challenging transformations to achieve profitability and sustainable growth.  

At CoSector – University of London, Martin has driven shaping the business following a merger of 3 previous separate divisions in 2015. He lead the team through transformation focusing on efficiency, processes and growth areas, focusing particularly on the Housing and Recruitment services teams. 

He has extensive experience of operating at board level and has a proven track record of delivery in: Education; Utilities; Powered Access; Financial Services; Pharmaceuticals (FMCG); Automotive & logistics industries for blue-chip organisations.  

Following reading Economics at the University of Leicester Martin spent 10 years in Retail banking in a variety of roles starting in Branch Management before moving into Head Office and project based roles. 

Subsequently, Martin moved on to work in the Utility sector. Here he held a number senior roles in Strategy, Change and Transformation, working across HR, Finance and IT. Also during this period Martin gained a Masters in Service Management, specialising in Human Resources and the people aspect of change and Lean process automation. Then he attended Ashridge Business School to complete the Leading Strategy and Change course. 

Over the last ten years Martin has held a number of Director Roles, principally with Lavendon Group (at the time a FTSE 250 company) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and also operated as a Management consultant doing work for Tata, JaguarLandRover (JLR) and Thames Water. During this time Martin also gained an expertise in Business reporting and analytics.

Andrew Smith, Associate Finance Director - As Associate Finance Director at CoSector, Andrew has responsibility for the financial health of the business. He combines operational and strategic roles, managing reporting and financial control functions, and he has also established a financial strategy for the profitable long-term growth of the business. 

“I think Co-Sector has the potential to develop into something quite remarkable and unique, both within in the HE sector and beyond, and I am very much looking forward to being a part of that”. 

After initially studying law at both university and postgraduate level, and having previously worked in publishing and financial services, Andrew began his career as an accountant working for Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

Andrew then moved into the Third Sector where he began focussing his efforts on the financial planning and analysis side of the business as this was where he felt he could add most value. 

Most recently, prior to joining CoSector, Andrew was working as Financial Controller for a group of specialist PR companies focussed on the pharmaceutical industry. 


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