Appointment of the Chief Financial Officer

Brunel University London


Introduction from the Vice-Chancellor and President  

Thank you for expressing an interest in the role of Chief Financial Officer at Brunel University London.  

Brunel has a proud and very distinctive history, dating back to the 1800s. Since becoming a university in 1966, we have been pioneers in education and research with a strong technical and technological flavour. We use our campus location in West London to push boundaries of education and research, and inspire all who come through our doors. Our record in innovation in education and broad research portfolio enables deep and meaningful partnerships with industry, business, the NHS and the Third Sector. I believe that the opportunities for Brunel in the west London location are enormous, and there is great opportunity for Brunel to follow an ambitious path over the coming years. 

Since joining Brunel at the beginning of 2022, I have worked with the community to ensure that the right structures are in place to enable our staff and students to succeed. I have made adjustments to the roles and remits of the senior executive, and been delighted to make a number of key appointments with the aim of maximising our existing strengths across research, education and innovation, and establishing a solid platform for growth over the coming years. Our valued professional services staff are a crucial part of this process, and the CFO will play a critical role in supporting the University’s strategic development and delivery of operational plans and objectives.    

This is a significant leadership role, and a key part of the senior leadership of the University. The CFO will be responsible for the financial strategy of the University, as well as bring in examples and experience of best practice from higher education or an equivalent complex environment to ensure that our processes and ways of working are appropriate to support our aims.  

I am looking for exceptional individuals who share my aspiration to create a wonderful University of which we can all be proud. If this is a challenge that excites you, and you think you can make a positive difference at Brunel, then I hope you will consider applying.  

I wish you the very best of luck in your application.  

With best wishes,  

Professor Andrew Jones
Vice-Chancellor and President

About us

Brunel University London is a global university, committed to providing outstanding education and research to the benefit of society.

Since 1966, Brunel has stood out from the crowd, pioneering innovation in education, through providing sandwich degrees, and promising students the academic, professional and personal skills they need to not only succeed in their future careers but positively change the world.

We have grown significantly over the years, from a founding student cohort of 866 to a diverse and vibrant student body of 18,000, including 8,000 overseas students from more than 150 countries, supported by 2,500 staff.

We offer degree programmes underpinned by innovative and sector leading approaches to education across our three Colleges:

  • The College of Business, Arts and Social Science (CBASS)
  • The College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences (CEDPS)
  • The College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (CHMLS).

We have a long history as a technical and technologically orientated university with a close relationship with industry and business. Our new Medical School welcomed its first cohort of students last year and this provides another platform to grow and engage with our partners in the community and the NHS.

Our ambition is for our Medical School to transform medical education and healthcare practice through education and research, in combination with multidisciplinary community engagement. Beyond our reputation in science and engineering however, we also host dynamic and growing business and law schools, as well as technical-orientated subjects as diverse as design and creative writing.

You can access Brunel’s latest financial statements here.

Equality and diversity

We are passionately committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion, making sure that we adopt a whole university approach to making Brunel a fairer and more inclusive university, with social justice at its heart, for our students and staff.

We are proud of our diversity – on campus, online and as part of our global reach and influence, and our place in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

We are committed to providing an inclusive culture and strive to embed principles of inclusion and equality into all aspects of the university’s operations, and into the daily life and experiences of the university community. We are determined to exceed our legal duty to eliminate discrimination, however it occurs, and to advance equality of opportunity and outcomes for all. We want to build a culture and community that is kind, committed to fairness and open to change, and we expect our leaders to embody this. Our aim is that everyone is:

  • Well-informed
  • Respectful
  • Enabling
  • Inspirational
  • Integrating
  • Self-reflective

Research and knowledge exchange

At Brunel we nurture a culture of interdisciplinary and disciplinary research that is respectful of academic freedoms and promotes a university-wide research ecosystem fit for the 21st Century, linking research, innovation, education and engagement.

Our community shapes and participates in a strong, vibrant and inclusive research culture and environment, embedding an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit throughout, in order to attract, develop and retain exceptional PhD students, Early Career Researchers and academic staff at all levels able to deliver world-leading and internationally excellent research.

Our research is world-leading, demonstrated by our success in the REF 2021 exercise, which confirmed our place in the top research universities in the country for the quality and depth of our research. The volume of our ‘world-leading’ research increased by 63 per cent from the previous exercise, with 72.7 per cent of our research assessed as being world-leading or internationally excellent, an increase from the previous score of 61 per cent in 2014.

Delivering creative solutions to industrial and global challenges and bringing economic, social and cultural benefit, Brunel is committed to delivering impactful research focused on those areas in which we can integrate academic rigour with the needs of governments, industry, business and the NHS, and the not-for-profit sector.

Our Research Strategy aims to capitalise on the opportunities as a technical university and including those offered by the Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund and its Industrial Strategy. As well as research excellence in its own right, our research operates at the interface of the vibrant industrial ecosystem we work in. Our income from SMEs is notably the second highest of any university in London, we have an outstanding track record of success in industry-university partnerships, and we are one of only five universities in England to have secured funding from Research England’s UKRPIF scheme for three or more major research capital initiatives; these have leveraged a total of over £46 million in industrial co-investment – the largest outside of the Russell Group universities. We are also an EPSRC Strategic Partner.

Student life


We have a diverse and dynamic student body. Our 18,000 students hail from more than 150 countries, with our local community also strongly represented.

We offer a full campus experience, with everything on site, from student accommodation on campus, world-class sports facilities and great eating spots, to industry leading technical facilities and a full suite of student support services. The Union of Brunel Students runs more than 150 sports clubs and societies, and our campus offers plentiful green spaces.


Brunel’s students have the advantage of a rounded education that takes them to the cutting-edge of their subject through research-led teaching and work-based learning. Our students are encouraged to embrace innovation and entrepreneurship; and are developed for success in the workplace, so that they can step out of full-time study and into employment with the wide range of skills they need to succeed.

Brunel offers an excellent experience for our students, with tangible benefits for the students who walk through our doors. We are particularly proud of the excellent employment outcomes for our students as evidenced in the Graduate Outcomes data showing high numbers of graduates progressing to graduate level roles and/or further study.

We work with businesses, the NHS and other partners to ensure our graduates have the broad skills required by employers, to use our expertise in research to drive economic growth and social prosperity and to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

The challenges of the pandemic led to a greater focus on innovative modern forms of education delivery, and we are committed to continuing to use cutting edge technology as an enabler for an excellent learning experience.


Our London campus is central to our student and staff experience. It is the heart of our university, providing an outstanding environment for staff, students, partners, visitors and the wider community. Maintaining and developing our excellent academic, social, recreational and residential facilities is a central part of our long-term vision.

As at many Universities with complex build environments, the condition of the campus varies significantly, and we have worked hard to remedy areas requiring attention in recent years, and sought to develop exceptional new facilities.

In May 2022, we completed the refurbishment of Quad North, which is now home to the Brunel Medical School (BMS), which has welcomed its first intake of medical students in September 2022, as well as providing updated, modern space for the departments of Chemical Engineering and Psychology. We have also invested significantly in our student and Student’s Union facilities, supporting the learning environment of our community.

The role

Chief Financial Officer (AQ2171)

Apply now

Position: Chief Finance Officer
College/Directorate: Office of the Vice-Chancellor and President
Contract Type: Permanent, Full-Time
Accountable To: Vice-Chancellor and President
Direct Reports: Director of Procurement, Deputy Director of Finance
Salary: c£150k


Reporting to the Vice-Chancellor & President, the Chief Finance Office (CFO) is responsible for the financial strategy of the University, ensuring strategic aims are met through the provision of financial expertise to Council and Executive Board and the leadership of the Finance and Procurement Directorates.

As a member of Executive board, the CFO has a critical role in supporting the University’s strategic development and delivery of operational plans and objectives. The CFO provides commercial insight, drives financial and operating performance and delivers an appropriate long-term strategy to achieve best overall value for the University.

The CFO has overall responsibility for ensuring effective project investment appraisal, financial planning and implementation, efficient financial operations, the integrity of financial processes, procedures and systems and sound financial controls.

Key duties and responsibilities

  • As a member of the University Executive Board, contribute to the development and successful delivery of the University’s vision and strategy; develop, implement and report on the University’s financial strategy, ensuring it underpins the University’s academic mission.
  • Work closely with the Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor to agree the University’s Financial Resources Framework.
  • Work closely with academic and professional services leaders to prepare budgets, financial forecasts and plans including providing clear and accessible financial reporting and analysis.
  • Provide strategic advice and guidance to the University’s Council on financial and commercial matters, including the financial implications of internal and external developments and their statutory duties.
  • Manage the University’s investment portfolio, including identifying future investment plans and strategies; identify and develop opportunities to enhance the financial position of the University.
  • Enhance and encourage a stronger entrepreneurial culture within the University, working in partnership with Executive Board colleagues and other senior leaders, ensuring that the University’s assets are optimised by supporting commercial and income-generating opportunities.
  • Working closely with the Chief Operating Officer on strategic capital investments and delivery of projects, managing financial risks, particularly those relating to large capital-intensive projects and ensuring that appropriate mitigation is in place.
  • Strategic leadership or the Finance and Procurement Directorates, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and engagement and ensuring staff are effectively supported and developed.
  • Ensure the provision of robust financial processes and systems, ensuring the financial integrity of the University and that financial risks are identified and managed.
  • Manage Treasury and the University’s pension interests.
  • Ensure that there is a sound system of financial control and effective delivery of all internal and external financial reporting and forecasting in a manner that informs decision-making and comply with statutory requirements.
  • Provide financial oversight of the University’s portfolio of research grants/contracts and other externally funded activities. Ensure compliance with regulators, research councils and other funding bodies.
  • Strategic leadership of cross-University projects as agreed with the Vice-Chancellor, which enhance the University’s effectiveness and success.
  • Maintain and develop constructive relationships with the relevant regulatory and funding bodies, banks, corporate financiers, investment and tax advisers and other stakeholders on a local, regional and national basis and represent Finance and the University at relevant external groups and on national committees.

University Policy

  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as required and commensurate with the grade of post.
  • Adhere to and comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act, GDPR and the Health and Safety at Work Act in accordance with the University’s policies.
  • Undertake all duties and responsibilities in compliance with the rules and regulations encompassing equality to help foster a diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Adhere, comply and work in accordance with the University’s policies, procedures and codes of conduct.
  • Promote the University’s Environmental Policy and demonstrate commitment to it through actions and decision making.

Structure chart

Please view our senior leadership structure chart here.


Applicants with a disability who meet the essential criterion will be guaranteed an interview as part of the University’s commitment to the Disability Confidence Scheme.

All of the following criteria are essential unless otherwise noted.


  • A professionally qualified accountant and member of one of the CCAB bodies (ACA, CA, ACCA, CIPFA) or CIMA, with relevant and up to date membership and evidence of continuous professional development.


  • Significant strategic and operational experience as a CFO or Finance Director gained in large complex regulated organisations.
  • Significant strategic planning and operational experience gained in a large customer-centric organisation.
  • Evidence of working collaboratively with colleagues to influence decision making and bring about cultural change whilst improving commercial performance.
  • Proven success in leading Finance and Procurement as a proactive and supportive enabler of organisational strategy.
  • Experience of optimising and monitoring cash flows and liquidity and developing relationships with regulatory and funding bodies, banks, corporate financiers, investment and tax advisers and other stakeholders.
  • Board level (or equivalent) experience and influencing skills. (Desirable)
  • Experience of financial leadership in the areas of funding of defined benefit pension schemes and innovative financial arrangements and major capital projects. (Desirable)

 Knowledge, skills & abilities

  • Comprehensive understanding of and a broad financial skill set that includes financial reporting and accounting, financial control, financial planning and analysis, business partnering skills, procurement, tax and treasury.
  • An appreciation of the issues currently facing the higher education sector and an empathy with the University’s mission, vision and strategic goals.
  • Analytical thinker with sound judgement, decisive and courageous in corporate discussions. Strong commercial acumen: a business enabler with the ability to develop creative solutions and negotiate successful outcomes.
  • Confident, robust and resilient, able to inspire confidence and respect, exemplifying high standards and as a role model to others.
  • Demonstrable experience of using finance to help deliver cultural change and commercial performance improvement. Capable of working in partnership and through matrix structures with those in decision making positions thereby demonstrating high level influencing skills and a compelling and adaptable communication style.
  • Excellent facilitation, negotiation, communication and presentation skills with the proven ability to influence senior internal and external stakeholders. Integrity and objectivity, demonstrating professional competence consistently, with due care and confidentiality.
  • A flexible leadership style that is appropriate to the situation and builds fruitful relationships internally and externally.
  • Strong commitment to innovation, performance improvement and adding value. Challenges effectively, and gives and receives constructive feedback.
  • A strong commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Terms of appointment

View our employee benefits here.

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 noon on Monday 13 November 2023.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter outlining how you meet the essential experience 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 Aino Betts on +44 (0)7743 934 723, or Alberto Lidji on +44 (0)7743 927 988,


Closing date Monday 13 November
Longlist w/c 20 November
Preliminary interviews with Anderson Quigley w/c 27 November
Shortlist w/c 4 December
Final interviews Monday 18 December