Our governance

Oak Hill College Council


Oak Hill College Council provides the college with a great depth of charitable trust and corporate governance experience. The council members between them have a broad range of expertise across financial, legal, management, corporate, government, property and ecclesiastical spheres. To be well-informed, the council also draws on the specialist knowledge of several trusted advisors with long-standing connections to the College.

The council meets three times a year, and the current members are:

Jeremy Anderson CBE, Chair of Oak Hill College Council

Council Rep

Jeremy is a churchwarden at St Helen’s Bishopsgate. He served on the Archbishop’s task group on responsible savings and credit. Jeremy spent 30 years working with the banking and insurance industry in an advisory capacity, involved with strategy, risk management, governance, IT, operational transformation, mergers and bank restructuring. From 2010 to 2017 he was Chair of KPMG’s Global Financial Services practice. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of UBS Group AG. He is a trustee of the Productivity Leadership Group, a former Commissioner of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and a former Chair of the UK National Employment Panel. He was awarded a CBE in 2005 for his services to employment. His background enables him to bring wide experience to discussions on the strategic, financial, regulatory, operational and governance issues facing Oak Hill College and the Kingham Hill Trust.


Nicholas Bewes

Council Rep

Nicholas is the Chief Executive of the Howard Group, a family owned property and investment business based in Cambridge. He is responsible to the board and the shareholders for the overall management of the business. The company’s property activities are predominantly based in East Anglia and London and include student accommodation, residential investment, commercial property development and management. Prior to joining the Howard Group in 1999, Nicholas worked with the BOC Group, where he held various management positions. In the past, Nicholas was on the board of Cambridge Ahead, a business and academic member group focused on the long-term growth of Cambridge and the region. He is a trustee of the Shelford Gospel Trust, a charity supporting gospel ministries. He is on the PCC at All Saints, Little Shelford, and a trustee of Kingham Hill Trust. Nicholas brings strategic property experience to the Council, helping to shape the College’s property estate strategy.


Tom Custance

Council Rep

Tom qualified as a solicitor in 1989 and subsequently as a solicitor advocate (civil). He has been a partner with Fox Williams LLP in their litigation and dispute resolution department since 2001, and was previously a partner with Herbert Smith LLP. Tom has extensive experience in all aspects of the litigation, arbitration, and mediation processes across a broad range of commercial disputes, including insurance and employment-related disputes. Tom attends All Souls, Langham Place, where he is involved in leading Bible study groups, and occasionally preaches at the 8am communion service. He is also involved with leading a Bible study group for City workers at St Helen’s Bishopsgate. As an Oak Hill College Council member, Tom assists the college’s staff in reviewing and developing the college’s governance, regulatory and operational policies. He is the Council Safeguarding Representative.


David Durlacher

Council Rep

David is chief executive of Julius Baer International Limited, responsible for Julius Baer’s business in the UK and Guernsey. He is a director of the board of Julius Baer International Limited. He joined Julius Baer from Merrill Lynch International Wealth Management UK when the business was acquired in 2013. In the previous 14 years at Merrill Lynch, he held a number of roles, originally joining the business as an associate financial adviser. He sits on the British Museum Chairman’s Advisory Board, and is a churchwarden at St Botolph’s Aldersgate in the City of London. He was formerly a governor of a primary school in Tower Hamlets and chair of its performance review committee.


Paul Houghton

Council Rep

Paul is a chartered accountant and is Chief Executive of Kingdom Bank, which provides UK churches, Christian charities and gospel ministers with financial services. Previously, he was heavily involved in business and economic development in Sheffield, where he lives with his family. Paul was managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Sheffield office until 2020, during which he served a four-year term as a private sector board member of the City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, and was a member of both the City Growth Board and City Partnership Board until 2020. Paul is also Chair of Governors of Birkdale School, and Treasurer of Christ Church Fulwood, his local church, where he is an active member. He also serves as a volunteer leader on Christian activity holidays for young people in North Wales. Paul brings financial, commercial and strategy skills to the Council.


Revd Rob Hudson

Council Rep

Rob is the vicar of St Peter's Harold Wood, in the diocese of Chelmsford, where he has served for seven years, both as an associate minister for evangelism and latterly as the senior pastor. He served his curacy in the suburbs of Plymouth, where he helped to lead the Peninsula Gospel Partnership Training Course for lay Bible teachers. Prior to training for ordination, he worked for Barclays Bank in the Reading and Oxford area. Rob is part of the diocesan vocations team, and helps to lead the ReNew group in East London.


Helen Lamb

Council Rep

Helen is a member of St Ebbe’s Church in Headington, Oxford where she serves on the PCC as well as co-leading a home group. She previously served on the PCC at St Andrew the Great, Cambridge, the Deanery and Diocesan Synods for a number of years, and the General Synod for 2015-17. Her career has been in Human Resources, initially in financial services and for the last 10 years working on a freelance basis to support SMEs. She holds Chartered membership of the CIPD and has a particular interest in helping organisations consider their people challenges strategically.


Simon Pilcher, Deputy Chair of Oak Hill College Council

Council Rep

Simon is Deputy Chair of the College Council and Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. He is also a Governor of Kingham Hill School and chairs the Kingham Hill Trust (the charitable body that owns the College and the School). He is Chief Executive Officer of Investment Management at USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme). He is responsible for overseeing the investment strategy governing the scheme’s £73bn in assets, the majority of which are invested in-house, across both public and private markets around the world. Simon has an Honours Degree in Management Studies from Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He is a churchwarden of St Mary’s, Henham, where he helps to run the youth ministry and preaches regularly. He is a trustee of a number of other charitable trusts that support training for evangelical ministry.


Neil Powell

Council Rep

For the last 20 years Neil has served as Pastor of City Church, Birmingham. Neil is now director of the London Project, a new initiative for London and co-chairs the 2020 Birmingham church-planting partnership in Birmingham. He also works with church-planters, and churches, planting in the UK and Europe.  He is author of the recently published Together for the City: How Collaborative Church Planting Leads to Citywide Movements  He serves on the leadership team of City to City Global, Europe & UK. He is married to Jane and has two sons.


Tim Rakow

Council Rep

Tim is a Reader at King’s College London where he is part of the leadership team for the BSc Psychology programme. He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy with over 20 years’ experience of teaching, research, publication and scholarship in higher education, including editing for peer-reviewed journals and external examining of degree courses. He grew up worshiping at Lutheran churches and since 2001 has been a member at Anglican churches in the Colchester area and in Southwest London, where he has served as a Bible Study Leader for several years.


Ian Roberts

Council Rep

Ian studied economics at Bristol University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse. He spent 10 years in a variety of management positions in a US multinational. He took a career break to study evangelism at Trinity College Bristol, where he also served as the student representative on the College Council. He is currently Chief Executive of Christianity Explored, which provides biblically-rooted evangelistic materials, with courses attended by over 500,000 people annually in more than 100 countries. Ian was previously a trustee at All Souls Clubhouse, and attended Langham Arts Trust meetings and All Souls Church Council meetings in conjunction with his previous role at All Souls. He has been a member at Anglican, Independent Evangelical, and Baptist Churches, and is now member of the Leadership Team at Purley Baptist Church. His accounting background, leadership experience in a variety of churches, and knowledge of evangelistically-minded churches and movements through Christianity Explored, bring a breadth of experience and expertise to the Oak Hill College Council.


Rachel Steeden

Council Rep

Rachel Steeden is a solicitor with 16 years’ experience advising private clients and charities. She now works in-house with the Stewardship Philanthropy Services team to help generous Christians give effectively and to support charities receiving complex or cross-border gifts. Rachel is a member of the Charity Law Association, STEP Special Interest Group for Philanthropy, Lawyers in Charities and Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship. Rachel and her husband have two young sons. The family are members of St Helen's Bishopsgate, where they lead a Bible study group and Rachel is a PCC member.

In attendance at Council as Church of England General Synod Rep, but not on Council:

Revd Charlotte Cook

General Synod Rep

Charlotte Cook is the priest in charge for Westerfield, Tuddenham and Witnesham in St Edmundsbury and Ipswich diocese. She is a member of the Archbishops' Council, the Bishops' Council in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and a member of the Resourcing Ministerial Formation (RMF) working group. She worked at Selwyn College, Cambridge as the Gosden lay chaplain, she served her curacy in Walton and Trimley before beginning working in the pioneering Lightwave project. Charlotte continues to work as part of the diocesan vocations team and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Suffolk.