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Board of Directors

Our mission is to create positive change in the communities we serve

The Board is collectively responsible for the long-term success of Unity Trust Bank. It provides strategic direction and guidance to the Executive and management, and monitors performance against financial and non-financial measures and risk appetite. The Board is the custodian of Unity’s vision, values and standards.

Alan Hughes, Independent Non-Executive Chairman

Appointed to the Board: April 2015.

Skills brought to the Board: Retail & commercial banking & finance; successful innovation; fintech; marketing; non-executive and chair experience. He believes in innovation for the public good.

Alan chairs the Board and the Nomination Committee and is a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Alan spent 35 years at HSBC rising to its UK/EU executive board as General Manager with responsibility for all products, service, pricing, and marketing. He was Chief Executive of First Direct Bank, ran significant subsidiaries of HSBC and was a main board director of its commercial asset finance group. He was responsible for commercial invoice finance throughout HSBC Group.

Alan has taught banking and was a visiting lecturer at Warwick University (voted MBA teacher of the year four times) and at Oxford University Saïd Business School. He has served as Deputy Chair of Council and Pro-Chancellor at Loughborough University, member of HM Government Cabinet Office Delivery Council and a Director of the UK Passport Agency as well as at other banking and financial companies.

Alan serves as Chairman of Equals Group plc (AIM listed) and Mitsubishi HC Capital UK plc (formerly Hitachi Capital UK plc).

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and holds an MBA from Henley Management College and an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University.


Unity Trust Bank Chief Executive Officer, Colin Fyfe

Colin Fyfe, Chief Executive Officer

Appointed to the Board: January 2024.

Skills brought to the Board: Strategic leadership and delivery in financial services, change management, sales and marketing, governance, stakeholder engagement and risk management.

Colin has led financial services firms for 10 years through his roles as Chief Executive Officer at Hinckley & Rugby Building Society and Darlington Building Society. This followed a 29 year banking career with the National Australia Bank Group, with the majority of this time spent at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank. His experience covered corporate, commercial, private, and retail banking and leadership positions spanning marketing, people, sales, and risk teams across these sectors.

Colin holds a Non-Executive Director position with Ahead Partnership, a purpose-driven business which supports young people to improve their careers outcomes.

Colin is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers in Scotland.


Martin Coward, Chief Risk Officer

Appointed to the Board: November 2023.

Skills brought to the Board: Cross sector business leadership; credit, operational and financial risk management; commercial relationship management and stakeholder engagement.

Martin has over 30 years’ experience in practical banking, many of which were spent at HSBC.  His last role in HSBC within the UK Risk Leadership Team involved responsibility for the UK Business Banking credit, delivered through specialist teams in India and UK.  Prior to this, Martin led HSBC’s UK Corporate Recovery unit, overseeing debt/equity transfers and business turnaround teams through the consequences of the financial crisis from 2010 onwards.  During his HSBC career, Martin has held a number of senior commercial and corporate leadership roles and kept close to banking relationships with customers.

Martin has a BSc in Agriculture and, from his career before banking, maintains an active interest in the agricultural industry.


Sandy Chen, Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointed to the Board: November 2015.

Skills brought to the Board: Leading financial analyst, deep knowledge of bank accounting, reporting and regulation, macro-economics and the economic environment, regulatory & central bank policy, UK banking innovation.

Sandy chairs the Board Audit Committee and is a member of the Board Risk Committee, and the Nomination Committee.

Sandy has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, as analyst and executive. He has published a book titled ‘Integrated Bank Analysis and Valuation: A Practical Guide to the ROIC Methodology’ (Palgrave, 2013), has advised the UK government on banking issues and occasionally appears in the media as a commentator on business and macro-economic issues.

Sandy is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Graphene Composites Ltd.

Sandy holds a BA ‘magna cum laude et cum honoribus’ in International Relations and a BA in Economics from Brown University (US) and was awarded Phi Beta Kappa academic honours; he also attended Phillips Academy Andover (US).


Christine Coe, Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointed to the Board: March 2023.

Skills brought to the Board: Commercial banking, credit and operational risk, banking regulation, SME lending, financial crime and anti fraud experience

Chris is Chair of the Board Risk Committee and a member of the Board Audit Committee and the Nomination Committee.

Chris has over 40 years’ global credit and risk experience which she gained through a variety of roles at HSBC.  Most recently she provided advisory and expert witness support to the HSBC legal team on regulatory matters arising from the 2008 financial crisis.  Prior to this she served as HSBC’s Managing Director and Global Head of Funds’ Due Diligence and Control, their Global Head of Funds Risk, and was Chief Risk Officer at HSBC Securities Services.

Chris serves on the Board of Atom Bank plc, a retail digital mortgage and savings bank.  She is the owner and Practice Director of The George Road Clinic, a multi-disciplinary Private Medical Practice providing a range of out-patient services and is an Executive Director of Birmingham Physiotherapy Limited.  Chris is also a Director and Charity Trustee of the British Pig Association and UK Tag, a non-profit concerned with the development of livestock exports.

Chris has a BA, Politics and Economics and a Finance Houses Association Diploma.


Alex Ryan, Non-Executive Director

Appointed to the Board: November 2020.

Skills brought to the Board: Knowledge of Trade Unions, corporate governance, investor relations, pensions, and non-executive experience.

Alex is a member of the Board Risk Committee, the Remuneration Committee, and the Nomination Committee. He is Chair of the Unity Trust Bank Pension Scheme.

Alex has over 20 years’ experience working in the Trade Union sector, and has worked with a number of FTSE 100 companies. In his role as Head of Pensions at Unite the Union, Alex is responsible for the operation of a £1billion defined benefit pension scheme and is an active voice within the pensions industry, particularly around Environmental, Social and Governance issues.


Susan Sternglass Noble, Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointed to the Board: November 2017.

Skills brought to the Board: Financial services business models, accounting and regulation; investment management, impact analysis and start-up experience.

Susan is Chair of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Nomination Committee and Board Audit Committee.

Susan joined the bank with a 30 year career as an analyst and  investor in financial services. She was an early board member of the Swedish internet stockbroker Avanza AB. She was a Commissioner on the  Dormant Assets Commission, tasked with unlocking money for the charitable sector, and as a Specialist Adviser to the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons.

Susan serves on the board of Asia Dragon Trust plc, a listed investment trust. She is a Fulbright Commissioner and Member of the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee of The US-UK Fulbright Commission and The Fulbright Foundation (Trustee) Ltd. Susan is also an active angel investor, particularly in fintech.

Susan has a B.A. from Cornell University and an MSFS. from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. She is a Fellow of The Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, and a Member of Chapter Zero and an Ambassador for Women on Boards UK.


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