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Dame Alison Nimmo appointed to Thomas White Oxford board

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Dame Alison Nimmo has been appointed to the board of Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John’s College in Oxford
Dame Alison Nimmo has been appointed to the board of Thomas White Oxford, the development company of St John’s College in Oxford

Thomas White Oxford Ltd, the development company of St John’s College, has announced the appointment of Dame Alison Nimmo DBE to its board to provide property and sustainability advice across its activities, which includes Oxford North, the new £500 million global innovation district in Oxford.

Dame Alison has over 30 years’ executive and non-executive experience in real estate, sustainability and leadership. She was formerly chief executive of The Crown Estate and held senior roles delivering the award-winning “big build” for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Before this, she led major city-centre regeneration projects in Sheffield and Manchester.

She is a commissioner of The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, a non-executive director in government and a member of Imperial College London’s Property Committee. Her previous non-executive roles included: FTSE100 Berkeley Group Plc, St Modwen Properties, chair of the CBI’s Economic Growth Board and a trustee and COP26 Ambassador for the UK Green Building Council.

She was awarded a DBE for public services and services to the Exchequer in 2019.

Thomas White Oxford has also appointed to its board Matt Dawkes, an experienced major mixed-use development chief financial officer.

Matt Dawkes has more than 23 years of experience and previously worked for North West Cambridge as finance director, Argent Group as head of finance, Euromoney and Grant Thornton.

Thomas White Oxford has also appointed Matt Dawkes to its board
Thomas White Oxford has also appointed Matt Dawkes to its board

The news follows the recent appointment of six members to the board of directors:

  • Bernard Taylor CBE, DL, FRSC, a scientist and corporate financier with more than forty years’ corporate business and finance experience, has been appointed chairman.
  • Professor Dame Kay Davies, DBE, FRS, FMedSci, a world-leading human geneticist with a research focus on the molecular analysis of neuromuscular and neurological disease.
  • Professor Andrew Parker ScD, FRSB, a professor of neuroscience and previously principal bursar of St John’s College.
  • Zoe Hancock MA, ACA, the principal bursar of St John’s College.
  • Professor Jason Schnell, a fellow at St John’s College and a professor of biochemistry.
  • Professor Jan Obloj, a fellow of St John’s College and a professor of mathematics.

They have joined William Donger, chief executive officer of Thomas White Oxford, and Mark Taylor, a legal professional with more than forty years of experience.

Board of Thomas White Oxford
TWO’s expanded board outside St John’s College’s New Library and Study Centre – front row (left to right) Professor Dame Kay Davies, Bernard Taylor, William Donger, middle row (left to right) Professor Jason Schnell and Zoe Hancock, back (left to right) Mark Taylor, Professor Andrew Parker and Professor Jan Obloj

In March 2021, outline consent was granted by Oxford City Council for the overall 64-acre Oxford North masterplan to deliver more than 900,000 sq ft (83,612 sq m) of laboratories and workspace, 480 new homes, three new parks and significant upgrades to the local infrastructure.

Detailed consent was also granted for the first new laboratories and workspaces, link road and Central Park. Enabling infrastructure works started in August 2021.

Delivered in tandem will be new, landscaped, open spaces that will encourage community interaction, enhancement of biodiversity and new places for the wider public to enjoy.

Hill Group has been appointed residential development partner to deliver circa 318 new homes, of which 35% will be affordable, along with the first public park and new streets, at Canalside.

Bernard Taylor, chairman, Thomas White Oxford added: “The board is committed to providing a new sustainable place for Oxford which meets the current high demand from businesses wishing to be part of the ‘Oxford Ecosystem’ and promotes model levels of sustainability to ensure we are creating a vibrant, state of the art new district.

“Alison’s considerable experience will be of huge benefit to Thomas White Oxford, and I am delighted she has agreed to join our board. Matt’s wide financial management experience will be key as the project is delivered. Our Oxford North investment will deliver an extraordinary place to live and work and be a facilitator of life-improving science and technology discoveries made in Oxford, for everyone’s future benefit.”

Oxford North's new Central Park
Oxford North’s new Central Park

William Donger, chief executive, Thomas White Oxford, said: “As this major project for Oxford is formed, it is a natural progression to bolster the board to reflect the ambitions of this new place.

“I warmly welcome Alison and Matt, and all to the new board and look forward to working with them to deliver our projects, in particular, our globally ambitious new district. We have assembled a superb team that connects academia and industry which will be to the benefit of those who live, work, and visit Oxford North.”

Dame Alison Nimmo added: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining this exceptional board as Oxford North enters its delivery phase. I hope that my property and sustainability experience can help us deliver something really special for Oxford that makes a really positive impact – economically, socially and environmentally.”

Matt Dawkes, chief financial officer, said: “I’m proud to bring my corporate and financial mixed-use development experience to the board as it continues its impressive strategy to deliver this major new project for Oxford, the UK and globally.”

Thomas White Oxford has also unveiled Oxford North’s new brand identity along with its new website, which embraces digital transformation to provide an interactive experience to showcase its masterplan, place and buildings.

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