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Business experts join UEA leadership

Three influential figures from the world of business are being appointed to key leadership roles at the University of East Anglia. 

Announced today, Café Rouge founder Karen Jones CBE will be UEA’s new chancellor. Former chair of Ford Britain Joe Greenwell CBE becomes the new chair of UEA Council - the university’s governing body. And Mark Williams, former partner at professional services giant Deloitte, is named as the university’s new treasurer. 

The three appointments underpin the university’s key corporate objective to develop an enterprising campus culture that is second to none and to promote UEA’s reputation at home and abroad. All three are graduates of UEA and keen to lend their wealth of commercial expertise and experience to help the university enhance its links with industry and encourage enterprising staff and students as they develop their own business ideas. 

Entrepreneur Karen Jones takes over from award-winning novelist and UEA alumna Rose Tremain, whose three-year term concludes at the end of this academic year. The chancellor’s formal duties include chairing the university’s annual general meeting and conferring degrees at graduation ceremonies. Beyond this ceremonial function, each chancellor shapes the role in the way they feel best supports the values and aspirations of the university. 

Karen was born in Lancashire and educated at the University of East Anglia, where she studied English and American Literature from 1975 to 1979, also attending Wellesley College in the USA. She co-founded the Café Rouge chain of restaurants in 1989, became CEO of the Spirit pub group in 1999, and is co-founder and chair of the Food and Fuel group of London gastro-pubs and café bars as well as holding Non Executive positions at Booker plc, National Theatre Enterprises Ltd, Firmenich AG and Cofra Holdings (the latter two in Switzerland).

Karen said: “I am delighted and honoured to become the next chancellor of UEA and am very much looking forward to working with Joe Greenwell, David Richardson and the whole team at UEA to continue and develop its reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative universities. It is an equal honour to follow in the footsteps of Rose Tremain, whose standing as one of our leading novelists has confirmed UEA’s stature in the fields of literature and creative writing.”


Joe Greenwell replaces Richard Jewson, who served as chair of UEA Council for six years. Council is the university’s governing body and comprises community, student and staff members.

Joe studied English and American Literature at UEA between 1970 and 1973 and worked in the automotive industry for four decades, holding a variety of senior roles at Jaguar, Ford Europe and Ford North America. He retired from Ford Britain in 2013 after four years as chairman and is currently chairman of the RAC Foundation. He has served as an independent member of UEA Council since 2013.

“It is a great honour to succeed Richard following his outstandingly successful term of office,” said Joe. 

“In an increasingly competitive sector, universities must develop a culture of enterprise and sharp competitive edge. I am thrilled to be playing a role in delivering UEA’s bright future and look forward to working closely with our new Chancellor Karen Jones and everyone at UEA.”


Mark Williams replaces Jonathan Sisson who served as UEA treasurer for 10 years.  He studied History and French at UEA from 1981 to 1985. He is a former partner at Deloitte, one of the UK’s ‘big four’ professional services companies. After recently retiring from a career in the accounting industry, Mark has been involved with a number of organisations and is currently chairman of Protective Film Solutions (Europe) Ltd. He has served as an independent member of Council since 2014.

Mark said: “I am delighted to have accepted the role of treasurer at UEA. Giving something back to the institution which shaped me as a young undergraduate is both rewarding and exciting, especially at a time when UEA embarks on an ambitious growth and estate development plan over the next few years.”



Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson said: “I am thrilled that three eminent UEA graduates will be continuing and deepening their long-standing association with this institution. I look forward to working closely with Karen, Joe and Mark to advance UEA’s mission as one of the UK’s great centres of teaching, research and innovation.

“Meanwhile I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to Rose Tremain, Richard Jewson and Jonathan Sisson who have worked tirelessly in support of UEA during their terms of office. On behalf of all our staff, students and alumni, I wish them well.”

Business partners work with UEA’s innovative researchers, students and graduates and use the university’s specialist facilities to solve technical, strategic and operational issues. Links with industry generate around £30m in annual income and the university is ranked in UK Top 10 for the number of graduate start-ups and social enterprises established.

In 2015 UEA opened its award-winning Enterprise Centre – one of Europe’s most sustainable buildings. Purpose-built to deliver enterprise activities alongside teaching, the ground-breaking centre has become the region’s hub for entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses committed to a low carbon future.