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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

New REC board takes office following governance shake-up

Press releases

The REC is pleased to announce that its new board has now taken office, completing a year-long overhaul designed to better serve the interests of recruiters across the UK.

Earlier this year members of the REC voted to approve REC Council recommendations on modernising how the REC is run. This included making space for a more diverse range of talent and experience, creating four new Non-Executive Director positions appointed from outside the recruitment industry.

Sarah Thewlis, Chair of the REC, said:

“I would like to wish a very warm welcome to the REC’s new board members. Each person brings an enormous amount of talent and experience as leaders in the recruitment industry and beyond. This is exactly what we need to ensure the REC delivers even more for our members.”

“I am looking forward to continuing to work with my fellow recruiters and I am also excited to welcome, for the first time, our four new Non-Executive Directors from outside the recruitment world. Their breadth of skills and experiences across such a diverse range of industries will give the REC the edge we need in these unprecedented times.

“I look forward to working with the new board,  Neil and the REC staff, to focus on how we support members regionally, embrace diversity, inclusion and equality, and make sure the recruitment industry is recognised for the important role it plays in our economic recovery and the ever-changing world of work.”

Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC, said:

“The new board brings together some brilliant experience from recruitment and key skills from other sectors. The addition of our four Non-Executive Directors from other parts of the economy will bring fresh thinking on commercial development, digital transformation, inclusion and standards. This is all the more crucial given the economic challenges we all now face.  

“I’d like to like to take a final opportunity to thank Chris Moore for the fantastic support he has offered recruiters over the past three years as Chair and several more before that on our Council. Similarly, our thanks go to each of our Board and Council members for their commitment to the REC and the wider industry.”

The members of the board are as follows:

  • Sarah Thewlis (Chairperson), Managing Director, Thewlis Graham Associates
  • Jeanette Barrowcliffe, Finance Director, Meridian Business Support
  • Neil Carberry, Chief Executive, Recruitment and Employment Confederation
  • Mark Edwards, Chief Executive, SERT
  • Rebekah Handford, Managing Director, Highpoint
  • Michelle Mellor, Managing Director, Cummins Mellor
  • Sakhila Mirza, Executive Board Director and General Counsel, London Bullion Market Association
  • Dr. Gopa Nair, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Unit Croydon
  • Jane Rumble, Interim Deputy Group Director, Consumer and External Relations Group, Ofcom
  • Heather Salway, Group HR Director, nGAGE
  • Jon Sibson, Pro Vice-Chancellor - Faculty of Business, the University of Greenwich.

In July Sarah Thewlis was elected as the new Chair of the REC Board, taking over from Chris Moore who has served the maximum term of seven years as a non-executive director and three years as Chair.


Notes to editors

  • Sakhila Mirza is a qualified lawyer and a specialist in compliance and corporate governance. She is Executive Board Director and General Counsel at the London Bullion Market Association, a position she has held since 2014. She previously worked in the energy and commodities industry where she dealt with compliance, legal and regulatory matters.
  • Dr. Gopa Nair is a strategist and business transformation expert who brings many years of leadership experience to the REC from a variety of industries. He is currently a Chief Operating Officer in the NHS where he leads a business improvement programme for GP Practices in Surrey and he has previously held senior roles at a number of major international non-governmental organisations. Amongst others one being Deputy Regional Director of Nutrition International UK & Canada (2018-2020).
  • Jane Rumble is an expert in building productive partnerships with industry, regulators, consumer groups, and government stakeholders and brings a wealth of experience to the REC in regulation, policy making, and consumer research. Over the last ten years she has held a variety of senior roles at Ofcom where she is presently leading the regulator’s policy response to Covid as Interim Deputy Group Director of the Consumer and External Relations Group.
  • Jon Sibson has held leadership positions for over twenty years, setting strategy in competitive markets and delivering outcomes around social purpose as well as finance. He is Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Business at the University of Greenwich where his is also on the University’s senior leadership team. Before his academic career he held a number of senior positions at professional services firm PwC where he was partner and leader led the firm’s £200m+ Government and Public Sector businesses.
  • Sarah Thewlis began her career in retail HR with Marks and Spencer PLC and after twelve years she joined the staff at the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) as Deputy Chief Executive. In 1994 she was appointed Chief Executive at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and in 2002 took up the role of Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council. After six years she moved into executive search as Head of the Not-for-Profit practice at Gundersen Partners (formerly Bucher Rugman).  


The REC is the voice of the recruitment industry, speaking up for great recruiters. We drive standards and empower recruitment businesses to build better futures for their candidates and themselves. We are champions of an industry which is fundamental to the strength of the UK economy.