Appointment of the Chief Commercial Officer

Aston University


Dear applicant,

We are now seeking a Chief Commercial Officer who will work across the institution to drive forward the University’s sector-leading activities with strategic partners, businesses and industry both nationally and globally in support of Aston’s growth strategy, Birmingham Innovation Quarter and UK Investment Zone strategy, regeneration and inclusive growth in Birmingham and West Midlands.

Aston University is a mid-sized dual intensive university ranked in the top 25 universities in the United Kingdom. We are an agile and innovative organisation that thrives on collaboration and partnerships with businesses and the community. Our integrated placement year, our applied high-impact research, and our commitment to enhancing employability and social mobility of our students, all help to make Aston University distinct both nationally and internationally.

The University has been recognised by a number of awards and rankings, including 446th in the 2024 QS World University Ranking, placing the University in the top 30% of global institutions and 46th place nationally (QS World University Ranking, 2024) and 25th in the Guardian University League Tables 2024.

But most importantly, we are highly regarded by our students at Aston University, with more than three quarters of respondents to the 2022 National Student Survey indicating their overall satisfaction, and scoring more than 80% satisfaction levels for learning resources and staff support. We take great pride in our teaching quality and excellent student experience at Aston University.

During this appointment process you will learn more about our vision, our future plans, and what makes Aston University special. You can find more about the role and the University on this site and please talk to our advisers at Anderson Quigley. I look forward to seeing your application.

Professor Aleks Subic
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive

About the University

Built on strong and diverse foundations, Aston University was set up by Birmingham’s employers in 1895 as a technical college to support the needs of the City. From its establishment as a university in 1966 to the present day, Aston University has maintained its focus on meeting the commercial and technical needs of the region.

We are renowned for improving the lifelong prospects, social capital and progression of hard-working students who aspire to develop professional careers and contribute to their communities.

By most measures we are one of the most diverse universities in the UK, with over 70% of our home undergraduate students from BAME communities, compared with 24% average for UK universities, and we welcome international students from over 120 countries each year. A recent study by HEPI ranked Aston University 2nd in England for transforming lives through social mobility at scale. This is embedded across the DNA of Aston University – the results demonstrate our commitment.

We were the first university to include integrated placement years as standard in their degree programmes. Placements, pre-registration years, and work and study abroad opportunities now feature across our undergraduate programmes.

Our alumni community is extensive with over 100,000 engaged alumni from over 170 countries around the world, contributing to the success of their organisations and communities.

  • Awarded Triple Gold, the highest possible rating in the Office for Students Teaching Excellence Framework (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2023).
  • Ranked 18th for Graduate Prospects and named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024).
  • Ranked 25th in the Guardian University League Tables 2024.
  • Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country. On average, employed Aston University graduates earn £36,100 five years after graduation, putting us in the top 15 UK universities (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023).
  • Over 17,500 students from over 120 countries and more than 100 student clubs and societies to choose from.
  • 1st for the largest proportion of Ethnic Minority Students out of English.
  • Institutions (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide Social Inclusion Rankings, 2024).
  • Aston University is ranked 446th in the 2024 QS World University Ranking, placing the University in the top 30% of global institutions and 46th place nationally (QS World University Ranking, 2024).
  • The 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessments published in May 2022, ranked 79% of Aston University research as ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).
  • Top 30 UK institution for ethical investment; waste and recycling and carbon reduction measures (People & Planet University League, 2023/24).
  • Aston University is the second UK university to have an engineering department achieve Athena Swan Gold.

2030 Strategy

Our 2030 Strategy – Inclusive. Entrepreneurial. Transformational.

In September 2023, following an extensive process of engagement with our community, we were proud to launch our Strategy for 2030.

Through this process explored possible scenarios for our future within our city, our region, and more broadly within the national and international context, and how we navigate the challenges of a changing world. The culmination of this was three things which will define our future, each of which requires strategy and hard work to achieve.

We will be Inclusive. From the beginning, our founder’s dream was that Aston University would be defined not by whom we exclude but by whom we include and how they succeed. Inclusion and diversity: these two essential values go right to the heart of who we are as a university.  Each and every one of us here at Aston University is unique, and we are proud of that. We come from different backgrounds and cultures and have different experiences, skills and ideas. We all belong here at Aston University, and in Birmingham, one of the most  welcoming, diverse and inclusive cities on Earth.

We will embrace our innovative past and become a truly Entrepreneurial university. The past two decades have been witness to the most frenzied period of innovation and creativity in the history of the world. We’ve made significant strides in almost every field, driven in particular by science, technology and digital transformation. Connectivity has exponentially multiplied human progress.

With the Birmingham Innovation Quarter (B-IQ) here at Aston University we are co-creating an innovation ecosystem of global significance with all the essential ingredients, to enable innovation at scale and pace, attract enterprising talent, and create enterprising graduates – our future leaders of innovation and change.

Thirdly, our vision of Aston is as a Transformational university measured by the positive impact that we achieve for our people, students, businesses and the communities we serve. Being transformational means thinking and acting differently beyond the conventional boundaries of today, as we create a more agile and adaptive university, a learning organisation for the future powered by digital innovation.

Our Vision, Purpose and Values


Our Vision is to be a leading university of science, technology and enterprise, measured by the positive transformational impact we achieve for our people, students, businesses and the communities we serve.


Our Purpose is to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Our Values

Ambition: our ambition drives us to advance and accomplish our goals, strive for excellence and impact, and create value for our beneficiaries and communities.

Collaboration: we believe in the value of working together for a shared purpose, by engaging and collaborating across our teams and disciplines, as well as with our beneficiaries.

Inclusion: we provide an inclusive, caring and empowering environment for all and respect and support the values that diversity and inclusion bring to our whole community.

Innovation: we nurture an innovative environment that values new ideas, seeks diverse perspectives and pursues game-changing innovations that make a positive impact.

Integrity: by valuing honesty, trust, fairness and ethical behaviour, we always act with integrity and hold ourselves and others accountable.

Our Colleges and Schools

Our Colleges and Schools provide the academic structure for our outstanding educational offer to

our students, reflecting our history and providing a platform for us to deliver our 2030 Strategy.

College of Business and Social Sciences

  • Aston Business School
  • Aston Law School
  • School of Social Sciences and Humanities

College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  • School of Engineering and Technology
  • School of Computer Science and Digital Technologies
  • School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering

College of Health and Life Sciences

  • Aston Medical School
  • Aston Pharmacy School
  • School of Biosciences
  • School of Optometry
  • School of Psychology

Living in Birmingham

Aston University is in a great, central location. Ideally positioned in the centre of Birmingham – one of the youngest cities in Europe – our campus is only a 10 minute walk to the city centre.

Culture and heritage
Home to some of the greatest creators and inventors, culture and heritage makes Birmingham a great city.

The ultimate shopping experience
With over 200 shops across the Bullring and Grand Central, Birmingham is a shopper’s paradise.

Wonderful performing arts
Birmingham hosts the best British musicals, pantomimes, operas and ballet.

Fantastic food and drink
Michelin-starred restaurants, the Chinese quarter, street dining, farmers’ markets, high street chains to independents, Birmingham has some wonderful places to drink.

Sporting Action
Birmingham has a long history of football, cricket, rugby and athletics. Aston University is the Official UK University Partner of Aston Villa Football Club in the Premier League and was the host city of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Open spaces
Birmingham has acres of green spaces, parks, historical canals and scenic routes for walking, running or cycling.

The role

Chief Commercial Officer (AQ2403)

Apply now


Reporting to the Vice-Chancellor and a key member of the Vice-Chancellors Executive Group, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) will lead the Aston University Engagement and Commercial Development portfolio. They will work across the institution to drive forward the University’s sector-leading activities with strategic partners, businesses and industry both nationally and globally in support of Aston’s growth strategy, Birmingham Innovation Quarter and UK Investment Zone strategy, regeneration and inclusive growth in Birmingham and West Midlands.

The CCO is an exciting new role established as part of the new bold and innovative Aston University 2030 strategy focused on leading the university’s “omni-channel” commercial delivery model encompassing marketing and student recruitment, commercial training with industry and business including degree apprenticeships, commercial online education and training,commercial partnerships and development, external investments, international development, regional and offshore education hubs.

The CCO will be responsible for driving the university’s positioning in national and international markets focused on quality and innovation, growing market share, revenue generation and diversification, strategic partnerships, business growth and impact.

The post holder will have oversight of the areas covered by these portfolios and have line management responsibilities for the Lead for Business Development, Director of Aston Professional, Director of Alumni Relations and Development, Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment and Director of International Development.

The role will work closely with the other members of the Vice- Chancellor’s Executive, and the wider Senior Management Group.

Main duties and responsibilities

University leadership and management

  • As CCO, act as a key member of the Vice Chancellor’s Executive and to contribute to the overall strategic direction and policy development of the University.
  • Act as the Lead working across the institution to drive forward the University’s sector-leading activities with strategic partners, businesses and industry both nationally and globally.
  • Work closely with relevant members of the Vice Chancellor Executive Group to lead on the university’s commercial strategy and planning, development and evaluation to ensure continuous enhancement of our income generating portfolios.
  • Provide strategic and inspirational leadership to the University Engagement and Commercial Development portfolio. This will include being responsible for demand-led services including the Business and Regional Engagement Lead, Director of Aston Professional, Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment, Director of International and the Director of Alumni Relations and Development.
  • Promote a culture of commercial acumen and development, excellence and innovation to ensure that the services above are designed and delivered to maximise income or other performance targets along with enhancing experience of the University by these groups.
  • Work to promote a culture that is agile, customer-centric, focused on delivering effective outcomes and results, where all staff have a clear understanding of these expectations.
  • Provide leadership for the development of the University’s marketing and student recruitment strategies and plans to enhance the University’s domestic and international profile and reputation for excellence.
  • Provide scrutiny, monitoring and effective management of the CCO portfolio of service budgets including deploying resource in the most effective way to deliver positive outcomes and to meet income targets.
  • Work to create an environment that enables the University to recruit and retain of staff of the highest capability with the right mindset to achieve excellence and ensure continuous improvement.
  • To lead cross-university strategic and corporate projects, as required by the Vice-Chancellor, and deliver effective improvement strategies and operational plans at a University level.
  • To share collective responsibility for monitoring the external political and economic environment along with developments in the higher education sector both in the UK and internationally, assessing the implications and advising on appropriate plans/actions.
  • To contribute to positive working relationships between Executive colleagues, Directors/Heads of services and staff through modelling Aston’s values and behaviours.

Additionally, the CCO is responsible for the successful operation of the:

  • Aston Business Hub and Aston Enterprise Hub located in central Birmingham, as well as for the strategic partnerships with businesses and industry engaged for this purpose leading to new investments, licensing agreements, start-ups, and scale-ups.
  • Aston engagement with the Birmingham Innovation Quarter (B-IQ), including establishment and operation of joint ventures and relevant innovation activities (e.g. accelerator, clinical trials centre, digital tech and health tech innovation hub).
  • Partnered programs in other strategic locations nationally and internationally.

Organisational accountabilities

  • Aston University is committed to the health, safety, and wellbeing of its staff. The University and its staff must comply with a range of statutory requirements, including equal opportunity, occupational health and safety, privacy and trade practice.
  • Aston expects all its employees to comply with its policy and procedures, which relate to statutory requirements and our ways of working. The CCO is accountable for completing training on these matters and ensuring their knowledge and the knowledge of their staff is up to date.
  • The CCO will have considerable committee and working party responsibilities to be discussed and agreed with the Viveuand will be representing the University externally on a range of matters.

External liaison

  • Representing the University’s interests at local, regional, national and international level, as directed by the VC.
  • Collaborations with other higher education. institutions in the UK and internationally.
  • Business and industry partners.
  • Regional and Local Authorities.
  • Governmental partners.
  • Industrial and commercial bodies.
  • The CCO may be required to undertake such other duties commensurate with the nature and level of the post, as directed by the Vice-Chancellor.




  • Proven track record of leading on a commercial development portfolio in a large complex organization with positive impact.
  • Sustained leadership and strategic management experience gained at Executive level.
  • Demonstrable experience of leadership and turning plans into action, ideally evidencing commercial nous and ability to understand market demand to drive new opportunities for the University.
  • Demonstrable experience of effectively managing organisational change, innovation and driving performance improvement, commercial impact.
  • A strong intellectual leader, with the requisite experience and skills to operate credibly within a progressive, high impact academic environment and engender the respect of both internal stakeholders and external partners.
  • An unequivocal belief in and commitment to the vision, values and ethos of Aston University and the ability to understand, assimilate, empathise with, and shape the institution’s culture to best meet the University’s needs, goals and future ambitions.

Skills and abilities

  • A good understanding of the higher education sector in the UK and internationally and scope for commercialization within that.
  • Proven ability to contribute to institutional policy development across all the major issues within their portfolio.
  • An inspiring and credible leader with enthusiasm, ambition and commitment to the values of higher education and our students and graduates
  • Excellent interpersonal and influencing skills including the ability to communicate a clear vision to a wide range of audiences in a variety of media.
  • Demonstrable success in building close relationships and partnerships with key influencers in governmental, other agencies and external stakeholders including being effective in an externally-facing ambassadorial capacity.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including crafting complex messages for diverse stakeholders.
  • Ability to work effectively in a highly diverse organisation and leading on diversity and inclusion by personally role modelling effective practice.

Terms of appointment

The size and scope of the university means that the opportunities on offer are as diverse as the people who work here. From a generous annual leave scheme, gym membership and flexible working to opportunities to volunteer in the community, there is something for everyone. For more information please visit the benefit pages on our website:

Cycle-to-work scheme
Cycle-to-Work is open to all employees. Through our salary conversion scheme, we’ll make a bicycle available to you for commuting – alongside safety equipment, free of income tax and national insurance.

Employee travel pass scheme
The University has an affiliation to Company Travelwise in Birmingham and an on-going commitment to green transport. As a result, annual travel passes purchased under the Employee Travel Pass Scheme will be available at a discounted price.

Car park scheme
Under the Flexible Benefits Scheme, instead of the car park charges being collected from your net pay, you can exchange an amount of gross salary that is equivalent to the charge. As a result, you will pay less National Insurance, thereby reducing the cost of car park charges.

Low emission car lease scheme
The new Low Emission Car Lease Scheme offers you the opportunity of a new car, benefiting from corporate discounts and savings on Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. The car scheme will only offer cars with low CO2 emissions (120g/km or less).

Computer share childcare vouchers
The University recognises that employees with children often require flexible pre-school and out-of school childcare in a convenient location. Childcare vouchers allow you to choose your own childcare provider, reduce your childcare costs and help you achieve the work/life balance you need.

Aston gym memberships
The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre is a fantastic onsite staff facility. Permanent members of staff can choose to pay their membership fee via their monthly/weekly salary or in a one-off lump sum payment. Non-permanent staff can still get Aston staff prices but must pay for the membership in one lump sum.

Charitable giving
We have been looking at ways of promoting charitable giving through the payroll and of providing the most effective way of making tax savings on donations.
There are two ways you can do it:

  • Give As You Earn (GAYE) – A way of making donations to a charity of your choice and receiving immediate tax relief.
  • Flexible Benefits Scheme – Salary conversion for donations to Aston University to support students.

Citysave Credit Union
Having a regular savings plan means building up a fund of money towards Christmas, a holiday or just for a rainy day. Having it come directly out of your salary means saving has never been easier. In addition, surplus profits the credit union makes are returned to our members in the form of a yearly dividend. Citysave is covered by the FSCS, so your savings up to £75,000 are secure.

Cinema Society Club
You can register with the Cinema Society Club to receive up to 40% off tickets.

Will Writing Service
Aston University has teamed up with Dunham McCarthy, Estate Planning & Will Specialists, to offer Aston employees and their families a free will writing service.

Conference Aston
All staff receive a 15% discount when dining at Conference Aston.

Annual Leave
The annual bookable leave entitlement is 31 days. In addition to the above bookable leave entitlement, a minimum of 13 additional days holiday per year is given as specified Bank and University holidays, the dates of which are circulated annually and are published on the University’s website. Part-time staff are entitled to the same amount of annual leave, including Bank and University Holidays, as full-time staff, on a pro-rata basis to the hours that they work.

If you are a regularly employed member of staff, you will be enrolled into a pension scheme, the exact scheme will depend upon the grade of the post. Further information is available on our website: Here is the link to the Benefits and Reward page

Recognition Vouchers
We designed this scheme to provide managers with the flexibility and autonomy to recognise individuals or whole teams ‘in the moment’ by awarding them with e-vouchers. Typically e-vouchers are given for going above and beyond normal expectations of a job or role: completion of a project, innovative idea or process/product improvement that has had a positive impact for the university, students, staff or the wider community; excellent customer feedback; citizenship where an individual has gone out of their way to help others.

Personal/Professional Development
To equip you with all the skills you need, we offer a comprehensive range of learning and development programmes. Whatever your role and ambitions, we will support you to build your skills set and be your best at work. As well as training, we offer an induction programme for all our new starters. This induction will give you a basic overview of our organisation, along with the chance to meet colleagues from across the University.

Employee Assistance Programme
Open to all staff, the service offers confidential support for a variety of issues such as managing money; having a family; moving house; personal life; retirement; work life; returning to work after a break; family crises; personal crises; healthy choices; illness. Services are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Relocation Support
Subject to the conditions of the University’s relocation policy, we provide assistance to new employees who have to relocate to take up a position. This policy applies to staff appointed to a position at grade 7 (salary point 25) or above on an open-ended contract or to a fixed term position of two years or more, and who have to relocate their place of residence in order to take up the appointment. Positions which are externally funded fall outside of this policy.

Employment of Ex-Offenders
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, a person with a criminal record is not required to disclose any spent convictions unless the positions they applying for is listed an exception under the act.

Eligibility to work in the UK
New immigration system for EU/EEA and Swiss Nationals who were not resident in the UK before 31 December 2020.
A new immigration system has been introduced for people arriving in the UK from EEA countries with effect from 1 January 2021. In addition to those who have always required a visa, EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance. You can find more information on the following website. Candidates should check their eligibility to enter or remain in the UK in advance of making any job application via the UKVI website:

Before applying you should ensure that you meet the requirements, including meeting the English Language requirements. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, any application for a work visa would be unsuccessful.

If you require a visa to work in the UK the most common types of visa are
Skilled Worker Visa: and Global Talent Visa. If you are a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields you may be eligible to apply for a Global Talent Visa:

  • Academia or Research
  • Arts and Culture
  • Digital Technology

Please click the following link for further information and to check your eligibility for this visa:

Equal Opportunities
Aston University promotes equality and diversity in all aspects of its work. We aim to ensure, through our admissions policies for students, and our staff recruitment and selection processes that we encourage applications from all groups represented in the wider community at a local, national and international level.

The University will endeavour not to discriminate unfairly or illegally, directly or indirectly, against student or potential students, staff or potential staff. This commitment applies to all functions of the University and to any stage of an individual’s career.

An Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form is included within the application form. Data you provide on the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form will be included in a general database, for statistical monitoring purposes, enabling the University to monitor the effectiveness of its Policy, Codes of Practice and Guidelines on Equal Opportunities in Employment. Individuals will not be identified by name.

Data Protection
Your personal data will be processed in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) (“GDPR”). The University’s Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notices, including the Job Applicant Privacy Notice can be found at

Your application will only be used to inform the selection process, unless you are successful, in which case it will form the basis of your personal record with the University which will be stored in manual and/or electronic files. Information in statistical form on present and former employees is given to appropriate outside bodies.

Full details of our terms and conditions of service and associated policies and procedures are available online:

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to the University, an executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Thursday, 8 February 2024.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A cover letter (maximum of two pages) outlining your motivations for the role and how you meet the essential criteria of the person specification.
  • Please include details of two referees in either your CV or covering letter, though please note that we will not approach your referees without your prior consent and only should you be shortlisted.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact Kiersten Avery at or +44 (0)7510 384 735 or Elyse Turner-Pearce at or +44 (0)7808 648 559.