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 six Executive Directors make up our Strategic Leadership 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.

Strategic Leadership Team

Mick Elliott

Michael Elliott

Chief Executive

Contact Michael


Lincoln Abbotts

Lincoln Abbotts

Executive Director: Strategic Development

Contact Lincoln

Tim Arnold

Tim Arnold

Executive Director of Global Operations

Contact Tim

Sue Cambridge

Sue Cambridge

Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Contact Sue

John Holmes

John Holmes

Chief Examiner

Contact John

Penny Milsom

Penny Milsom

Executive Director: Products and Services

Contact Penny

Jeremy Phillips

Jeremy Phillips

Executive Director: Commercial

Contact Jeremy

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.

Douglas Gardner

Douglas Gardner

Douglas is a Member of Council of the Royal College of Music, Chairman of Industrial Realisation plc, and a partner of Adams Row Capital LLP. Formerly, he was Chairman of Nuffield Health, Brixton Estate plc, GPT Halverton Ltd, Industrial Development Partnership 2 and Tarmac Properties Ltd, as well as Director of Investa Real Estate Investment Management Holdings Plc, Invesco Income Property Trust, Hirco plc, Prime plc and City and Provincial Securities Ltd.

Damian Wisniewski

Damian Wisniewski

Finance Director 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.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith

Director of Finance and Estates at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Secretary and Treasurer to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Trusts, Alan previously worked in a number of commercial and charitable organisations, including a posting with VSO in Sierra Leone. He is also currently an employer-nominated trustee of the ABRSM Pension Scheme.

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