Our Board

Cognus has its own Board, comprising of a Chair and five Non-Executive Directors.

The Board meet bi-monthly and there is an annual meeting (AGM), where the company formally shares it’s accounts and business plans, and discusses items requiring shareholder sanction and approval.

Our Board Members are:

Ian Comfort (Chair)

Ian is an educationalist and lawyer. He started his career as a maths teacher and youth worker. He has extensive experience in the management and direction of education services gained as a local authority director of education, chief executive of a large  academy trust and an adviser, nationally and internationally, on education infrastructure and reform.  He chairs the Middlesex Learning Partnership, an academy trust in West London; Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College; and Bennu, a charity providing art and drama therapy for children in primary school.  As a lawyer, he specialises in education and regulatory law and is a member of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers. He currently chairs professional conduct tribunals for a range of occupations including doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and accountants.  Alongside his professional practice, Ian is actively involved in direct work with children, young people and communities. He chairs the multi-award winning Ebony Steelband; the Carnival Village Trust, a national portfolio organisation for the Arts Council responsible for the Tabernacle arts centre in Notting Hill; and  the Notting Hill Carnival, Europe’s largest street festival.

Dean Clark (Non-Executive Director)

Dean was appointed to the Cognus Board in July 2018. He has over 30 years banking experience at an executive level, having been the director of a risk management consultancy for the last twenty years. His clients have included some of the largest global names in financial services. Dean specialises in providing control and risk management solutions throughout the business processing cycle. Dean is the Chair of the LEO Academy Trust, a primary only multi academy trust based in the London Borough of Sutton.  Dean enjoys applying business and banking principals to the educational environment to ensure all children are provided with the best opportunities and experiences to fulfil their potential.

Kieran Holliday (Non-Executive Director)

Kieran Holliday is the Head of Pupil Based Commissioning at the London Borough of Sutton. Working closely with the Assistant Director for Education and SEND, he leads on strategic place planning at the Council, schools capital, Schools Forum and is currently working with the Education Leadership group on a review of the Local Area’s High Needs Block (SEND). Prior to taking up post in Sutton, Kieran was an area lead on school commissioning and school organisation at Surrey County Council, and prior to that as a programme manager for the Surrey’s preparations for the Building Schools for the Future programme. Kieran has over 15 years experience of working in education roles both in the public and private sector.

Ian Geary (Non-Executive Director)

Ian Geary is Head of Financial Reporting and Control for Sutton Council, overseeing the financial reporting activities and the exercise of strong financial governance across two London boroughs. Ian has previously supported the board of a charity in south London, and worked closely with local authority-owned companies.

Bradley Peyton (Non-Executive Director)

Bradley Peyton is Head of Insurance and Pensions Administration for Sutton Council. Bradley is responsible for the shared pensions administration service with Kingston Council, and has been pivotal to the implementation and ongoing success of the integrated insurance services provided to various Surrey boroughs and districts. The education insurance schemes Bradley’s team manage in Sutton and Kingston provide cover to over 100 maintained and academy schools in a competitive market. Bradley has developed high-performing, revenue-generating services for Sutton Council and will bring expertise in this area to the board.

Jenny Sims (Non-Executive Director)

Jenny has spent all her working life to date in education working as an English teacher in London and Milton Keynes in secondary schools as well as working in adult and further education for over 40 years as a teacher, assessor, verifier, manager, and principal.   Jenny has extensive experience working as an External Examiner and Moderator for GCSE and vocational qualifications from pre-entry levels to level 5. Additional experience gained working as an Ofsted inspector highlights a key interest in quality assurance and improvement.  Jenny is currently working within the education field maintaining currency and understanding which she also applies to her Governor roles being a Chair of Governors in 2 primary schools.

Other key interests in the Borough include being Chair of the Board of Trustees for Community Action Sutton