Skills sector development agency

SSDA Board

The SSDA is headed up by business-leader Chair Margaret Salmon and a representative, employer-led Board. All Board appointments are made by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in consultation with ministerial colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Register of Board Members’ Interests is held by the Board Secretariat. Enquiries regarding the Register should be directed to Jane Measures, Head of Business Services.

Margaret Salmon


Mark Fisher

Chief Executive

Gareth Cadwallader

Gareth is a Partner of change management consultancy, The Senate Partnership. He is also a member of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) National Council.

Previously he was Chairman of e-skills UK, a Director of Cable & Wireless plc, Digital Equipment Limited and Compaq Computer Limited.

Brian Connolly

Brian is the former Chairman of the Qualifications, Curriculum Assessment Authority for Wales. He is also a Director of UK Skills.

Formerly he was Chairman of the Wales Skills Task Force for the National Assembly and was Spokesman for Education and Training Wales TUC.

Jeannie Drake

Jeannie is Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union. She is an EOC Commissioner and member of the Pensions Commission.

She is a former member of the National Training Organisation Recognition Panel and Re-recognition Advisory Group.

Shaks Ghosh

Shaks Ghosh is a consultant to the voluntary and public sector. For nine years she was chief executive of Crisis, the homeless charity, leading it through a re-brand and service transformation. Shaks has a track record as a homelessness campaigner, and is very familiar with the world of influencing, communications and media.

Her background is in policy and research, and she has worked in the fields of learning and skills, health and community care. She is an experienced housing and regeneration professional, has worked for local authorities and housing associations and serves on the Mayor’s Housing Forum and chairs his Housing Equalities Standing Group. She is a member of the DfES Leadership and Management Advisory Panel and was recently named amongst the UK’s 100 most influential Asians. Shaks has worked with a number of foundations and trusts and is a member of Impetus, the venture philanthropy trust.

Clive Jones

Clive Jones has had a distinguished career in front of the camera – he was an award-winning news and documentary maker for 26 years – and in senior positions at ITV.

Previous posts include editor of TV-AM, Managing Director of London News Network and Managing Director of Central Television. He is also chair of Skillset – the Sector Skills Council for the audio-visual industries.

John King

John is a Trustee/Director of Abbey National plc Pension Scheme and was formerly a Director of Corporate Development and Resources for Abbey National plc.

He is Chair of the National Occupational Standards Group, a Board Member of the NHS Professionals Special Health Authority, the NHS Pensions Agency Special Health Authority, and ENTRUST.

John was formerly a magistrate, a member of the Children’s Panel and a member of the Executive Committee of a Residential Alcohol Unit.

Josh Layish

Josh has extensive experience in the consumer goods sector in Europe and the US and is currently Group CEO of Farrow & Ball.

He was formerly Group Executive Director of Kettle Foods Inc., manufacturers of natural snack foods in the UK and the US. Previously Josh has worked for Unilever and Masterfoods in a number of corporate strategy and international marketing roles.

Richard Martin

Richard is Chair of the NHS Professionals Special Health Authority. Formerly he was Chief Executive Officer and then President of Adecco UK, a large HR services and recruitment company. Richard was also formerly Managing Director of Granada Hospitality Ltd, Lex Mead Ltd and former Chief Executive of Inchcape Berhad and Mann Egerton Ltd.

Richard is a Governor of Thames Valley University and formerly Chairman of the Retail Distribution section for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Bill McGinnis

Bill is Chairman of the McAvoy Group Ltd, a company manufacturing and selling modular buildings. He is also a Board Member of Invest Northern Ireland and UK Trade & Investment.

He is also Chairman of the Northern Ireland Skills Task Force and a Non-Executive Director of the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland.

His previous roles include: Chairman and Managing Director of Sperrin Metal, Belfast Harbour Commissioner, and President of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Paul Murray-Smith

Paul has extensive experience of the hospitality and leisure sector. He is currently Chief Executive of Dreamhouse Inc, a property and serviced apartment business.

Previously he worked for Scottish Highland Hotels – including as Managing Director – and for Forte plc.

Professor Maggie Pearson

Maggie is Deputy Vice Chancellor at Keele University. Having trained as a social scientist and nurse, Maggie has had a varied career in higher education, government and the NHS.

Before joining Keele as Deputy Vice Chancellor in 2004, Maggie was Deputy Director of HR for the NHS at the Department of Health, with lead responsibility for skills, learning and personal development across the NHS workforce. She is also a lay member of the UK Commission on Human Medicines, which licences drugs for use in the UK, and a non-executive member of an NHS Trust.

Paul Wilkinson

Paul Wilkinson is Chair of Improve PLC, the Sector Skills Council for the food and drink manufacturing and processing industry. He has considerable experience in the sector, including as Executive Chairman of Rank Hovis McDougall and Managing Director of British Bakeries.

Paul also chairs or advises several other organisations including Big Bear Ltd – owners of Fox Confectionary – and IAWS plc, a major Irish food group.