Who we are

Asthma UK is governed by a Council of Trustees and is chaired by John Tucker.

Asthma UK has a long history, stretching all the way back to 1927, when the Asthma Research Council was founded after the Earl of Limerick wrote to The Times.

Today Asthma UK is a membership-based charity with a current membership of approximately 5,200. Council sets the strategic direction of the charity, ensuring the charity achieves its objectives whilst upholding the charity’s values.

The day to day running of the Charity is the responsibility of the Senior Leadership Team. More details of our governance structure can be found in our governance section. 

On this page:

Our Board and Trustees

John Tucker – Chair

John was appointed as Chair in July 2018 and is a member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committees. John retired from legal practice in April 2016 after five years as a partner of an Australian firm and 26 years as a partner at Linklaters with various board and management responsibilities in London and New York. He is a Director and Finance Committee member of London First and Chairman of Governors at The Study preparatory school for girls in Wimbledon. John also holds various consulting roles for established as well as start-up ventures.

Professor Ian Hall – Vice Chair

Ian joined as a Trustee in July 2017. He is currently Director of the NIHR-Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and works clinically as a respiratory physician, running a specialist clinic for patients with severe asthma in Nottingham. Ian has over 25 years’ experience in this clinical area and in 1993 was appointed as the inaugural National Asthma Campaign Senior Research Fellow. Ian has been heavily involved in research management and clinical academic training at a national level, as well as medical education. He chairs the UK Respiratory Research Collaboration. Ian has supported Asthma UK over many years, serving on the Asthma UK research panel, contributing to Asthma UK reports, and participating in workshops for a range of activities including EARIP. Ian is a member of the Nominations Committee.

George Anson

George became a Trustee in June 2015 and brings 30 years of entrepreneurial and financial expertise. He is a Managing Director of HarbourVest Partners, a global private equity investment management company, having founded their London office in 1990. He is also a former Director and Chairman of Invest Europe. George is a Trustee of The Watts Gallery and The Anson Charitable Trust. He sits on the Finance and Audit Committee.

Jean-Francois Bessiron

Jean-Francois became a Trustee in March 2017 and brings over 20-years’ experience in Supply Chain/Commercial operations and Digital Marketing/Technology. He has held senior leadership positions with FTSE100 and NASDAQ quoted companies at Kingfisher, TechData, Amazon and most recently at Groupon where he is International Vice President. Jean-Francois has deep expertise in leveraging Technology at scale to develop new customer propositions from customer insights to product strategy, customer experience and physical operations (Logistics, Customer Services). He has been leading internal transformation programs impacting several thousands of employees across EU, developing automation and Machine Learning to make faster and better business decisions. Jean-Francois is an Independent Advisor for the UK Government at HM Revenue & Customs.

Jim Bowes

Jim became a trustee in March 2017 to help Asthma UK maximise the benefit of its use of digital technology. He is the CEO and co-founder of Manifesto, an award-winning top-100 digital agency and consultancy. Jim set up the London based business in 2011, designing digital services and products around the needs of users, working predominantly across the health, housing, travel and charity sectors. Jim has worked in digital for over fifteen years, and presents the podcast Alexa Stop!, which discusses the impact of technology on our lives. Jim is Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Dr Yvonne Braun

Yvonne joined as a Trustee in July 2018 and brings over 30 years’ experience in financial services and academia to Asthma UK. She is Director of Policy, Long-Term Savings and Protection, at the Association of British Insurers and is particularly interested in how technology can empower users. Yvonne has expertise in organisational leadership, managing complex projects, policy, campaigning and regulation. Her earlier career was spent as a commercial lawyer and as an academic in international criminal law. Yvonne is a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Dr Paul Hodgkin

Paul joined as Trustee in June 2015. After working as a GP for 25 years, Paul founded www.CareOpinion.org.uk in 2005, a not-for-profit website where patients, carers and staff can share stories of care. Paul brings experience and knowledge of the impact of the digital world in the healthcare arena to the role of Trustee at Asthma UK. He is a member of the Finance and Audit Committee and Chair of the Nominations Committee.

Katherine Morgan

Katherine joined as a Trustee in July 2018 and is currently Head of Business Planning for Sainsbury’s Argos, providing insight and governance for various steering groups and Board level committees. Katherine has wide experience balancing customer, commercial and strategic initiatives and hopes to use this to support Asthma UKs future activity. Katherine is a member of the Nominations Committee.

Niren Patel

Niren joined as a Trustee in July 2018. Niren is an investment strategist at Aviva Investors, and is responsible for building bespoke investment strategies for institutional investors across all areas of design, management and client delivery. Prior to joining Aviva Investors, Niren was a Director within the Solutions business at BlackRock. He worked with a number of large UK Defined Benefit pension funds to design, implement and evolve their investment strategies. Niren began his career at KPMG LLP where he worked both in investment and pension consulting. Niren is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Niren is a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.

Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie OBE FRSE

Sir Lewis joined as a Trustee of Asthma UK in March 2016. Lewis is jointly qualified in general practice and public health medicine and is Mackenzie Professor of General Practice at the University of Aberdeen. He has R&D interests in developing new models of service delivery, eHealth and disease prevention. He has significant experience of NHS Boards at Non-Executive and Executive level, and as a Charity Trustee. Lewis a member of the Nominations Committee.

Professor Ian Sabroe

Ian joined as a Trustee in July 2018. He is a consultant in respiratory medicine in Sheffield and an asthma specialist. He undertook a PhD in asthma-related research at the National Heart and Lung Institute at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and has continued research in this area as a consultant and Professor at the University of Sheffield. Ian helps to coordinate care of people with asthma across the Yorkshire region. He has worked with Asthma UK before on the Research Committee and has had funding for his research from Asthma UK. Ian is a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Martin Sinclair

Martin was an Assistant Auditor General at the National Audit Office, the external auditors of central government until September 2015. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. He is a Non-Executive Director of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust. He joined as a Trustee in 2012. He has been a member of the Asthma UK Finance and Audit Committee since 2010, and became Chair of the Committee in September 2016.  He contributes to the charity providing advice on accounting, audit, risk and performance management issues.


Chief Executive and Senior Team

Kay Boycott – Chief Executive

Kay started her career in commercial roles for Nestlé Rowntree and Johnson & Johnson; managing major brands, key customers and major change programmes. This was followed by a decade in strategy consultancy for global clients, including DTZ Property, GlaxoSmithKline and Vodafone, and UK government departments. In this period, she was a Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair of NHS Hammersmith & Fulham Primary Care Trust, supporting the turnaround from significant financial deficit to sustainability.

Kay moved to the charity sector in 2009 as Director of Campaigns, Policy and Communications for Shelter, also serving as a Trustee of Gingerbread. In October 2013 Kay became Chief Executive of Asthma UK leading the organisation through digital transformation and increasing cross sector partnerships in research and innovation. She is currently a Trustee of the Association of Medical Research Charities, a member of the Kings Fund General Advisory Council, Lay member of the Durham University Board and a Non-Executive Director for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Dr Samantha Walker – Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Research and Policy

Samantha joined Asthma UK in January 2011. A nurse by training, she maintains her research activity through an honorary senior lectureship (non-clinical) in the Division of Community Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh and has published extensively on asthma and allergy for over 25 years in high impact research journals.

Ben Clarkson – Chief Operating Officer

Ben joined Asthma UK in September 2019 to lead the Operations team, incorporating the Facilities, Finance, Governance, People, and Technology functions. He is also Company Secretary. A CIPFA qualified accountant, Ben started his career in the public sector with the Audit Commission, where he led audits across a range of local government and NHS clients. From there, he moved into the not-for-profit sector with Macmillan Cancer Support, where he was Head of Financial Operations. Ben then moved to The London Community Foundation, where he was Director of Finance and Resources, before joining Asthma UK. Ben is a trustee of Lewisham Speaking Up, a charity for adults with learning disabilities, and also sits on the CIPFA Charities and Public Benefit Entities Faculty Board.

Alison Cowan – Interim Director of Income Generation

Alison joined Asthma UK in July 2019. She has been a charity Fundraising and Marketing Director for the best part of 15 years and specialises in interim roles transforming income generation, marketing and communications activity and teams. Charities she has worked at include Teenage Cancer Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Barnardo’s, Mencap and Missing People. Alison was a key member of the Comic Relief team that delivered the most successful Red Nose Day ever raising £110M. She was a trustee at the mental health charity Mind for eleven years including seven as Vice Chair.