Interview with Femi Macaulay

Linacre recently became the first Oxford college to amend its governance structure to include a Board of Trustees.

In this interview, Chair of the Board Femi Macaulay, shares his inspiration and vision for his role at Linacre.

What inspired you to become a trustee?

As an alumnus of Linacre, I have a great affection for the College. I completed an MPhil in Management Studies from 1983 to 1985 and loved my time studying in Oxford and at Linacre. When the opportunity arose to become a trustee, it felt natural to step forward. Throughout my career I have gained extensive experience that I felt would be beneficial to Linacre. I am also now at a stage in my life where I have the time and capacity for this role. It was important to me that I could offer all three of these qualities; the passion, the experience and the capacity.

How has Linacre changed since you were here as a student in the 1980s?

There are some differences but also many similarities. The feel of the College remains the same. When I walked into Linacre recently, I felt the same sense of warmth and conviviality that I experienced as a student. Linacre offers an intimate atmosphere and a sense of belonging, the fact that this has not changed was very comforting.

There have however been changes. There are more buildings on the site; the Bamborough was completed as I left but the Abraham and Griffiths Buildings are newer constructions. The number of students has significantly increased, and it is interesting to compare the size of the cohort from my matriculation photo below to the matriculation image from this year. Diversity has also increased since my time at the College.

What is your career background?

Since leaving Oxford, I have enjoyed an extensive career working for a number of global organisations. I started my career in management consultancy at Price Waterhouse in London in 1985, before various executive roles at HSBC in the UK and the USA. I was Chief Marketing Officer of GE Capital in Switzerland, and Head of Marketing Operations at Zurich Insurance, responsible for leading global marketing and client experience initiatives. I have also held the role of Executive Director at JP Morgan in London and New York.

What can the experience gained during your career bring to an academic institution?

On the face of it, the organisations that I have worked for are very different to an Oxford college.  But once you scratch beneath the surface, any organisation and specifically Linacre, has a purpose – a mission and objectives. It is my experience in marshalling the resources, skills and people at these complex organisations that I can offer Linacre to help achieve its objectives of advancing knowledge and nurturing excellence in education and research.

How will the board of trustees impact the future of Linacre?

I believe that the new governance structure will have a big impact on the future of Linacre. Ever progressive, Linacre is the first Oxford college to adopt this structure. A board of trustees is standard for many best-in-class charitable organisations and the benefits of this approach are plentiful.

The new governance structure will allow Linacre to be more agile in decision making and more accountable in its approach. A board of trustees equips Linacre College with the strategic oversight, diverse expertise, and governance framework necessary to navigate the complexities of modern higher education. It ensures that the College not only upholds its traditions and academic excellence but also evolves in response to the changing landscape of education, society, and the global economy.

What are some things you hope to achieve as Chair of the Board of Trustees?

I want to achieve a number of objectives in this role, but two of my key goals are to further progress the reputation of Linacre and to increase access for diverse talent. I want to make Linacre the most attractive graduate college in Oxford, and hope that in the future when students look for graduate education, Linacre is their number one choice.

I also want to increase access to the best and the brightest, regardless of background. I hope to attract the most talented students and the highest quality staff at Linacre, so that we can work together towards a bright future for the College.

Matriculation image from 1983

2020 Matriculation Photo