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Key people

Governance and management

ABRSM's Patron is His Majesty King Charles III. 

Our senior decision-making body is the Governing Body, made up of an independent Chair, Trustees from our four Royal Schools partners and up to three independent Trustees. 

The Chief Executive is responsible for the overall management of ABRSM and is accountable to the Governing Body. The Chief Executive and other directors make up our Senior Leadership Team. 

The ABRSM family is made up of 180 staff members based at our London head office, over 400 representatives around the world, and more than 600 freelance examiners. 

Senior Leadership Team
Chris Cobb

Chief Executive

Penny Milsom

Deputy Chief Executive

Helen Coleman

Chief Operating Officer

James Halliwell

Chief Digital Officer

Tom Lee

Chief Product Officer

Mervyn Cousins

Chair of the Chief Examiner Group

Una Quinn

Director of Finance 

Join our team

Governing Body
Tony Hales (Chair)

Tony was appointed Chair in 2018. He is currently a Trustee of British Forces Broadcasting and the Royal Museums Greenwich Foundation. Tony previously Chaired the Greenwich Foundation, NAAFI, Canal and River Trust/ British Waterways, and Workspace PLC. He has served on several Boards including HSBC Bank, Aston Villa and Welsh National Opera and was Chief Executive of Allied Domecq. Tony is learning the saxophone. 

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

The 14th Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, Jonathan has released 13 albums as a trumpet soloist and produced over 250 commercial recordings for international artists and labels. He remains active as a scholar, lecturer, critic and contributor to journals and books, mainly as an established authority on Bach interpretation. 

Abdul F Bhanji OBE FCA

A former senior partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Abdul is a Trustee of the University of London, and on the Governing Body of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He is a former Chairman of the Aga Khan Foundation UK, a former Trustee of the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts and a former member of the Governing Body of SOAS.

Professor Colin Lawson CBE

Director of the Royal College of Music, Colin has an international profile as a period clarinettist and has played, toured and recorded with most of Britain's leading period orchestras. He has also published widely, and is co-editor of The Cambridge History of Musical Performance (2012) and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music (2018).

Professor Linda Merrick

Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, Linda has an international profile as a clarinet soloist and chamber musician. Specialising in contemporary repertoire, she has released over 40 commercial recordings of works she has commissioned, including new clarinet concertos and quintets by leading British composers and works for clarinet and electronics. Linda is regularly invited to teach and lead masterclasses worldwide and has published and presented her research on collaboration between performers and composers and contemporary performance practice at universities and conservatoires worldwide. 

Frances Anderson

Appointed a trustee in 2019, Frances is a lawyer specialising in intellectual property, technology and the creative industries. She has extensive charity governance experience, taking non-executive roles over many years in various arts and cultural organisations. She has undertaken several governance reviews. She is a Fellow of the RSA. Frances is learning the piano. 

Damian Wisniewski

Chief Financial Officer at Derwent London plc since January 2010, Damian is a chartered accountant, holds an engineering degree from Imperial College London, and is a member of the Governing Body of the Royal Academy of Music. He previously held senior finance positions at a number of property companies including Chelsfield plc and Stanhope Properties plc.   

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey

Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since 2014, Jeffrey is Vice President of the Association of European Conservatoires, Chair of CUK Juniors Forum and Governor at Wells Cathedral School. Jeffrey was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2022 and Royal Society of Arts in 2023. A pianist and composer, he was also a founding member of the Pirasti Piano Trio. 

Bronwyn Syiek

Non-Executive Director of International Personal Finance PLC and a Trustee of The SETI Institute, a US-based non-profit scientific research institute and significant contractor to NASA. Bronwyn was previously the Executive President and a Board Member of QuinStreet Inc., having been its COO. Bronwyn also served on the management committee of De La Rue and before that was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, Inc

Baroness Fleet (Veronica Wadley) CBE

Appointed a trustee in 2020, Veronica was Editor of the Evening Standard (2002-2009), Chair of Arts Council London (2010-2018), Senior Advisor to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson (2012-2016) and now chairs the Advisory Panel and Monitoring Board for the National Plan for Music Education and the London Music Fund, which she co-founded. Veronica received a CBE in the 2018 and was appointed to the House of Lords in July 2020. 

Gavin Reid LVO

Gavin Reid is Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

He studied trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before pursuing a wide-ranging freelance career.

He has been Director of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and General Manager of Manchester Camerata, whilst non-executive roles have included the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Association of British Orchestras (Chair) and International Music and Performing Arts Charitable Trust.


Leslie Kwan

Leslie Kwan is an American harpsichordist and founder of The Monarch Network.

 Highlights of Leslie’s career include: Associate Marketing Director (Boston Symphony Orchestra), Acting Marketing Director (Handel & Haydn Society), and Marketing Director (Chineke! Foundation). More recently, Leslie created a chamber music series for The Royal Marsden Chelsea and Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and in December 2021 produced a Christmas service video with The Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace in support of NHS hospitals.

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