Appointment of the Group Chief Financial Officer

Coventry University


Thank you for your interest in this exciting board level role at Coventry University Group.

Coventry is an award-winning modern university group that is innovative and dynamic, we have grown rapidly from a single-site University into a successful and sophisticated global enterprise with quality led operations across the UK, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and China. Our vision is to be a leading provider of innovative education and impactful research on a national and global scale. With a Group turnover nearing half a billion pounds we are an organisation that is highly ambitious and focussed on growth.

We have broken the mould in order to widen the reach and quality of our education provision across the globe. Our ambitions and approach stand us apart in the UK higher education sector and with the coming years characterised by continued national and international growth and the formalising of a defined Group structure we are now recruiting a Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to develop and lead our global financial strategy.

The successful candidate will work regularly with the Board of Governors as well as attending relevant Committees and subsidiary Company boards. As such, s/he is expected to develop an effective working relationship with the Chair of the Board and other key members of the Governing Body.

As we grow, our CFO will implement strong financial controls and best practices, particularly in relation to tax efficiencies and ensure robust processes are in place to protect the Group from risks. We are keen to explore applications from across sectors, but candidates must be able to demonstrate a proven track record of international financial operations and relevant leadership in a complex, group environment, with competing measures of organisational success.

Our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley would be delighted to discuss this opportunity with you in the first instance.

Professor John Latham
Vice-Chancellor & CEO

About us

We are a unique higher education group with a unique approach to our activities. We recognise that our staff are central to the group’s success and are committed to supporting our people to deliver teaching and learning, research outputs and impact, and enterprise development which will enhance our ability to operate globally. Our approach is partnership driven, entrepreneurial and sustainable.

Our teaching, staff, facilities and student experience have received a variety of awards and accolades in recent years, and our future is looking bright too. We’re proud of our achievements and how the university’s global reputation is flourishing. We’re committed to continuing to deliver quality teaching and learning, outstanding student satisfaction, and our objective of making our students into global ready graduates. 

We gained university status in 1992. Since then, we have worked tirelessly to become a global enterprise, establishing multiple campuses and initiatives across the world, including the Coventry University Group.

The Coventry University Group is an umbrella term for Coventry University and all of the locations owned and governed by Coventry University.

You can view our Organisation Chart – Executive Structure, Organisation Chart – Operating Units and the Coventry University Group Structure Chart for a more detailed overview.

Please click here to view the the latest annual report and financial statements.

2030 group strategy

Our Strategy is about who we are, why we’re here and how we want to create better futures for our students, colleagues, partners and stakeholders. Driven by our mission vision and values, we will deliver against our four strategy themes – Education and Student Experience; Research and Impact; Enterprise and Innovation; and Global University.

Our Vision

A global Education Group with a reputation for equity and innovation that empowers students and communities to transform their lives and society through teaching, learning, research and enterprise.

Our Mission

Creating Better Futures embodies our purpose, defining the diverse nature of Coventry University Group, from delivering inclusive and impactful global education for our learners, to addressing societal challenges through our research and innovation.

Our Values

Our values are our identity; driven forward by our people to help bring our mission, vision and strategy to life. They inform our practice and decision making and are essential for addressing challenges and opportunities. We have shaped our values to be enduring and strategic, emphasising our distinctive qualities and reflecting our aspirations.

  • Collaboration – we respect and value the contribution of colleagues, stakeholders, partners and communities to deliver real and beneficial impact.
  • Determination – we are here because we know we can make a difference and will not be deterred as we strive for success.
  • Diversity & Inclusion – we harness the power and potential of the different cultures, backgrounds, abilities, and experiences of our students, colleagues and partners to create opportunities for all.
  • Innovation  – we welcome challenge and embrace change; delivering creative and innovative solutions.
  • Integrity – we stay true to our mission, vision and values, taking responsibility for our actions and challenging our peers to achieve together.

Click here to view the strategy in full.

Group Chief Financial Officer

Group Chief Financial Officer (AQ1895)

Apply now

Job Title: Group Chief Financial Officer
(Group) Grade: Senior Post Holder

The post is responsible to the Vice-Chancellor and CEO, and through him / her to the Board of Governors, for the provision of Financial services across the Coventry University Group (defined as the University, its subsidiaries and companies). A senior post holder and member of the Group Leadership Team with responsibility for developing and supporting strategy, planning and change management across the Group and, with specific focus on the impact on the Group’s financial position, achievement against the corporate pillars, to support its growth and sustainability. The post provides leadership to fundamental elements of the Group’s Corporate Plan and the provision of expert professional advice on all financial issues, strategic and important governance matters.

The post-holder is responsible for the Group’s financial strategy, ensuring that it supports effective delivery of the Corporate Plan and the future sustainability of the organisation. The post-holder will work with senior leaders to develop new sources of income, grow existing income, reduce costs and improve surpluses through innovative methods.

The role is Coventry based; however, the post holder will be expected to spend time in other locations in the UK and internationally working closely with a wide variety of stakeholders to influence the strategic direction of the University Group in support of the Corporate Plan. The Chief Finance Officer is part of the Executive and Group Leadership Team. The post holder will work regularly with the Board of Governors as well as attending relevant Committees such as the Audit and Risk Committee and Strategy, Finance and Resources Committee as well as attending subsidiary Company boards. As such s/he is expected to develop an effective working relationship with the Chair of the Board and other key members of the Governing body.

The income for the University Group for 2020/21 was circa £438m.

Principal Responsibilities 

  • Develop and lead the Group’s financial strategy both within the UK and overseas, advising the Vice-Chancellor and Group Leadership Team, ensuring robust delivery.
  • Ensure that the Group’s financial affairs are properly planned, managed and controlled.
  • To lead on developing financial strategies relating to major corporate projects including longer term forecasting, budgeting and scenario planning.
  • Ensure the right financial processes are in place to meet the financial strategy, corporate plan and statutory/regulatory requirements, delivering value for money.
  • Develop a strategy to ensure growth and diversification of the University’s income sources. Advise senior leaders and Managing Directors of subsidiary companies on investment and development opportunities.
  • Develop strategies and plans to manage liabilities within the Group, such as pension liabilities.
  • Ensure financial processes and controls are robust for secure financial stewardship of the Group’s assets.
  • Identify financial risk within the Group and develop strategies to mitigate risk. Manage business risks inline with the Group’s risk appetite, ensuring auditor requirements are met and sustained.
  • Keep abreast of relevant legislation, Office for Students requirements and developments in accounting standards and adjust financial strategies accordingly. Advise senior leaders including Managing Directors of subsidiary companies accordingly.
  • Provide motivational and proactive leadership for managers and staff in Finance, developing and sustaining a results oriented high performing team.
  • To have oversight of finance policies, practices and procedures providing guidance to the Deputy Chief Finance Officer as required.
  • To have oversight of the budgeting process, estimates, forecasts and final accounts providing guidance and support to the Deputy Chief Finance Officer as necessary.
  • To oversee treasury and investment policies and decisions, working with the Deputy Chief Finance Officer.

AND other such duties within the scope and spirit of the job title, purpose, and it’s grading.

Post Responsible To

  • The post holder reports to the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the Group.

Supervision Given Deputy

  • Deputy Chief Finance Officer



Education/ Qualifications


  • Degree or equivalent.
  • A qualified accountant from one of the major recognised accountancy bodies or equivalent professional experience.


  • Status of Fellow with one of the major recognised accountancy bodies.
  • Leadership/management qualification.
  • Industry experience.



  • Significant post qualification experience or equivalent.
  • Experience of delivering in a global group context, aspects of tax, regulation and financial compliance.
  • Proven experience of working at a senior level in a commercial environment with complex decision making processes and an international focus.
  • Experience of translating the vision of an organisation into an effective financial strategy and implementing it successfully.
  • Knowledge of the regulatory framework related to a dynamic Global operation and issues that might affect it.
  • Experience of engaging effectively in a collaborative manner with senior stakeholders and external partners.
  • Experience of advising senior leaders/stakeholders on a range of investment matters, being comfortable in making and owning a recommendation.
  • Experience of preparing high quality clearly worded reports and advice for high-level meetings.
  • Experience of successfully managing budgets and staff teams which are responsive, efficient and agile in an international Group Structure.
  • Experience of enabling transformational change.


  • Experience of the HE or public sector funding models.
  • Experience of operating in a large complex Group structure.

Job-related Skills, Abilities, and Competencies


  • Proven ability to provide decisive advice and innovative solutions.
  • Capable of being a role model and sponsor of change who can encourage individuals to find innovative solutions and seek out new opportunities.
  • Clear understanding of risk management in relation to financial strategy and broader corporate projects and initiatives.
  • Exceptional organisational and planning skills, ability to multi-task and a pragmatic approach to problem solving.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment, requiring high energy levels, resilience and a personal style that is proactive, results oriented and self-motivated.
  • Ability to mentor and develop a high performing team using effective and supporting leadership and management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good IT skills.

Other Requirements


  • The ability to work flexibly to meet the needs and demands of a dynamic organization operating in a rapidly changing environment.
  • Able to travel within the UK and internationally to represent the University Group.

Terms of appointment

  • The salary will be agreed with the successful candidate depending on experience.
  • LGPS pension scheme or the Aviva Pension Scheme (defined benefits with matched contributions by the Employer up to 10%). Or a cash allowance scheme – available subject to sign off from REMCOMM for people who have reached the lifetime allowance for their pension
  • A discretionary 3 year long term retention plan, paid out after 3 years, over the following three years. The value is currently 60% of salary (determined at the start of the plan) and based on achievement of a defined set of Corporate metrics”
  • Annual Leave –38 days with the University and 28 days with the CUCS so overall an annual leave of 33 days
  • Employer funded Partner PMI (or reduce to Single if they wish) and Dental. These are subject to BIK tax through P11D in Jun

The University also offers a range of  benefits including  flexible working, a childcare vouchers scheme, training, personal and professional development and discounted membership to the university’s bespoke £4m sport and recreation centre. In addition, we have a number of lifestyle benefits, such as our cycle to work scheme and our Coventry University car share scheme, all designed to support your career, wellbeing and the environment.

This post will be engaged on a permanent basis 51% on Coventry University Terms and 49% on CU Corporate Services, until such time that the articles of governance can be amended.   Then it would be 100% through CU Corporate Services.

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 6 November, 2023.

AQ Reference: AQ1895

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 Carolyn Coates on, +44(0)7825 871 944 or Ed Pritchard on, +44(0)7980 817 927.


Timetable (Dates TBC)

Closing Date Monday 6 November, 2023
AQ Preliminary Interviews Mid-November, 2023
Final Panel Interviews Monday 11 December, 2023