Governance and management

ABRSM's Patron is Her Majesty The Queen. Our President is His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

ABRSM’s 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 Management Team.

The ABRSM family is made up of 170 staff members based at our London head office, over 500 representatives around the world, and more than 700 freelance examiners.

Senior Management Team

Chris Cobb

Chris Cobb

Chief Executive

Contact Chris

Penny Milsom
Penny Milsom

Deputy Chief Executive

Contact Penny

Helen Coleman
Helen Coleman

Chief Operating Officer

Contact Helen

James Halliwell
James Halliwell

Chief Digital Officer

Contact James

John Holmes

John Holmes

Chief Examiner

Contact John

Lincoln Abbotts 
Lincoln Abbotts

Executive Director: Strategic Development

Contact Lincoln



Specialist Directors

Robin Barry

Robin Barry

Publishing and Product Development Director

Contact Robin

Philippa Bunting

Philippa Bunting

Learning and Qualifications Director: Products and Services

Contact Philippa

Governing Body

Tony Hales

Tony Hales (Chair)

Tony was appointed Chair in 2018. He is currently also Chair of the Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College and NAAFI Pension Trustees, and previously Chaired Canal and River Trust/ British Waterways, the NAAFI, and Workspace PLC. He has served on a number of Boards including HSBC Bank, Aston Villa and Welsh National Opera and was Chief Executive of Allied Domecq. Tony is learning the saxophone.

David Roper

David Roper (Deputy Chair)

A former partner at PwC, David has been a trustee of ABRSM since 2009 and is currently Deputy Chairman of the RNCM. A music graduate, he has maintained an active interest in music, singing in choirs in London, Manchester and Birmingham. More recently, he has joined the Board of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra as Trustee for Finance.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

The 14th Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, Jonathan has released 10 albums as a trumpet soloist and produced over 200 albums 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.


Jeremy Heap

Jeremy Heap is Chief Executive of the Equitas group, and also holds non-executive positions with a Lloydâs managing agency and a University of London college. He qualified as a chartered accountant following his degree in Chemistry from Oxford University.

Colin Lawson

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).

Linda Merrick

Professor Linda Merrick

Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music and Chair of Conservatoires UK, Linda is a professional clarinettist who performs and teaches regularly, presenting masterclasses, lecture recitals and research papers in universities, colleges and conservatoires worldwide.

Frances Anderson

Appointed a trustee in 2019, Frances is a partner at national law firm VWV LLP, specialising in intellectual property, technology and the creative industries. She has extensive charity governance experience. She is a Fellow of the RSA, a Guardian of the Birmingham Assay Office, a trustee of the Lunar Society, and a non-executive director of the BE Festival. Frances is learning the piano.

Damian Wisniewski

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.   

Jeffrey Sharkey

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey

Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since 2014, Jeffrey was previously Director of Johns Hopkins Universityâs Peabody Institute, Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Director of Music at the Purcell School in London and Head of Academic Music at Wells Cathedral School. 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 Department for Education’s Expert Panel for the Model Music Curriculum 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.

Nicola Irvine

Nicola is the managing partner of the Scottish law firm, Russells Gibson McCaffrey and undertakes civil and criminal litigation and professional regulatory work. She is a former Dean of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. In 2017, Nicola was appointed as a legal member of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.

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.


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