Appointments and changes to the Genome Research Limited Board

At the GRL Board meeting on 2 December 2019, David Willetts announced his intention to step down as Chair because of his extensive commitments across the academic and science sectors. Wellcome's Director, Jeremy Farrar, will take over the Chair of GRL Board from 1 January 2020.

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Lord Willetts joined the board in December 2017 and in his time as Chair has brought valuable insights and thoughtful leadership to the board.

The change in leadership comes as the Wellcome Genome Campus prepares to embark on an ambitious transformation project. In October, South Cambridgeshire District Council granted outline planning permission for a bold new vision to expand the campus, creating jobs, homes and additional facilities for the world-leading genome and data science at Hinxton.

Lord Willetts said: “It has been a great privilege to chair the GRL Board. The work of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and activities across the Wellcome Genome Campus are cornerstones of the future of genomics research. The work undertaken here will fundamentally affect all of our lives and our understanding of the broader natural world. To be chair of the board during this exciting period has been a tremendous honour.”

Incoming Chair, Jeremy Farrar, added: “We are incredibly grateful to David for his superb stewardship of the GRL Board through what has been a transformational period for the Genome Campus. His insightful and thoughtful leadership is greatly appreciated. We now move into a busy period for GRL with many exciting new challenges – a growing Campus, major new scientific projects and exciting opportunities. These opportunities will build on the impressive foundations, established by the people, institutes and companies based at the Wellcome Genome Campus, for an exciting future.”

Other appointments to the Board that were recently agreed are:

  • Cilla Snowball, Governor of Wellcome and a non-executive director at Derwent London plc. Previously she was Group CEO and Group Chairman of creative agency AMV BBDO, chair of the Women’s Business Council, and a trustee of Comic Relief. She will join the board in January 2020.
  • Paul Schreier, Wellcome’s Chief Operating Officer. Previously he was Chief Executive Officer of Hakluyt & Company, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and COO of Macquarie University in Australia and a senior civil servant advising the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet.
  • Daniel Abrams, who will also Chair the GRL Audit and Risk Committee. Daniel is non-executive director of BioCity Nottingham, a biotech incubator; and non-executive director of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

“These are very exciting times for us and I thank those directors that have been instrumental in helping us reach this point. I welcome our new board directors and look forward to working with them as we shape the future of the Institute and Campus to ensure we continue to be a world leading location for genomes and biodata research.”

Mike Stratton Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and CEO of the Wellcome Genome Campus

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