Board of Directors’ Profiles

The Chairman and Chief Executive share the Trust’s leadership:

The Chairman’s role is to lead the Board of Directors; making sure it effectively governs the Trust.

The Chief Executive’s role is to lead the executive in delivering the strategy and managing operational delivery.

The Chief Executive is also the Officer accountable to Parliament.

The role of the non executive directors is to:

Bring a range of varied perspectives and experiences to strategy development and decision-making.

Ensure effective management arrangements and an effective management team is in place.

Operational responsibility is delegated to the executive and non executives have the role of holding the executive to account for performance.

The role of executive directors is to:

Share collective responsibility with the non executive directors as part of a unified board.

Shape and deliver the strategy and operational performance in line with the Trust’s strategic aims.

Declaration of Interests for Exec and Non-Exec Directors (Register of Interests)

All Board of Directors members are required to declare any business interests or positions of authority in any charity or voluntary body in the field of health or social care and any connection with a voluntary or other body contracting for NHS services.

Register of Interests Declared by the Chairman, non-executive directors and executive directors of this Trust.

 Chief Executive

Sam Higginson: Appointed 2019

Sam Higginson was appointed as Chief Executive of the Trust in October 2019.

Sam joined NNUH from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he was Chief Operating Officer from March 2017. Previously he was Director of Strategic Finance for NHS England and between 2010 and 2013 was Director of Strategic Development at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Sam started his career working with Unicef as a UN logistics officer co-ordinating the airlift of emergency supplies in Sudan followed by organising medical teams for a charity to assess the need for emergency relief in areas of Africa and Afghanistan.  He joined NHS London in 2008 after four years on the HM Treasury Health Spending Team and prior to that was a management consultant.

Sam leads the executive team responsible for the overall leadership of our hospitals.


David White: Appointed 2019.

David joined NNUH from East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust – Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals – where he worked as Chairman from 2015.
David began his career as a social worker in London before becoming a Director of Social Services then moving to East Anglia as Chief Executive of Suffolk Health Authority in 1994. He went on to spend four years as Chief Executive of Thurrock Council before joining Norfolk County Council, where he held the role of Chief Executive from 2006 until his retirement in April 2013. David has lived in Norfolk with his family since 2010.

David is Chairman of both the Board of Directors and of the Council of Governors and of the Board’s Nominations and Remuneration Committee.

Executive Directors

Professor Erika Denton– Medical Director: Appointed 2018.

Erika Denton is responsible for providing professional strategic medical advice to the Board and leadership on clinical quality and safety and clinical research. Erika has been a consultant radiologist for 19 years at the Trust after joining it in 1999.  Erika was appointed to the role of Associate Medical Director at NNUH in 2016 working across the local STP footprint, with UEA, to develop workforce and research strategies and in 2016 she was appointed to the role of Clinical Advisor in Imaging at NHS Improvement.

Professor Nancy Fontaine Chief Nurse. Appointed 2018

Professor Nancy Fontaine was appointed as Chief Nurse in August 2018 and is responsible for leadership of nurses, midwives, AHPs, Pharmacists and Bio-Scientists across the Trust. As Director for Infection Prevention and Control and Executive lead for Quality, Safety, Patient Experience and Engagement, Nancy is responsible for guiding the board on clinical priorities. Nancy holds a professorial role at Anglia Ruskin University.

Since 2012 Nancy was Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow.  Nancy was appointed as one of the country’s first Consultant Nurses in Emergency Medicine in 1999 and was latterly Chief Nurse at Whipps Cross Hospital leading the organisation into the Barts Health merger, where she was also appointed Deputy Chief Nurse before her move to Harlow.

Chris Cobb – Chief Operating Officer: Appointed 2019.

Chris Cobb was appointed as Chief Operating Officer at NNUH in 2019, after three years as Divisional Director of Operations for Medicine.  Chris joined NNUH in 2005 as an Admin Manager and has developed his career here in a number of management roles after serving for 20 years in the Royal Air Force.

Paul Jones – Chief People Officer:  Appointed August 2019

Paul Jones has most recently served as the Chief Human Resources Officer, helping open a new state of the art teaching hospital for Women and Children in the Middle East.  He has more than twenty years’ experience as a Human Resources Director, working for a number of hospitals including Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

Roy Clarke – Chief Finance Officer: Appointed 2020.

Roy Clarke was appointed to the Board as our Chief Finance Officer in 2020. Roy has 22 years of healthcare experience in primary, secondary and tertiary services and played a key role in the successful construction, commissioning and occupation programme for a new £200m specialist hospital.

Non-Executive Directors

Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan – Non-Executive Director:  Appointed in 2016.

Dr Geraldine O’Sullivan was appointed as a Non-Executive Director from 1 November 2016.  Geraldine is a Consultant Psychiatrist, who was previously the Executive Director of Quality and Medical Leadership, and before that Co-Medical Director, of Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust.  Geraldine is a Member and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  Geraldine is Chair of the Quality & Safety Committee and a member of the Audit Committee and Nominations & Remuneration Committee.

Julian Foster – Non-Executive Director: Appointed 2019

Julian is a chartered accountant and corporate treasurer. He was Executive Finance Director of Broadland Housing Association until 2019 and has held four senior finance director roles in growing housing association groups in the Eastern region over the last 20 years.
After graduating from Trinity College, Oxford, Julian worked in investment banking until moving to the social housing sector. Julian is Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Nominations and Remuneration Committee.

Dr Pam Chrispin – Non-Executive Director: Appointed in 2020.

Dr Pam Chrispin has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years.  Pam was previously Medical Director of the East of England Ambulance Service, Medical Director at West Suffolk Hospital and is currently Deputy Medical Director at East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Sandra Dinneen – Non-Executive Director: Appointed in 2020.

Sandra Dinneen was Chief Executive at South Norfolk Council, Head of Economic Development at Norfolk County Council and is currently a board member for Historic England.

Joanna Hannam – Non-Executive Director: Appointed in 2020.

Joanna Hannam has lived in Norfolk with her family for 30 years, was Head of Customer Services and Communications at Norfolk County Council, Executive Director of the Health Improvement Programme at Norfolk Health Authority and has been a lay member at Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group for one year.

Tom Spink – Non-Executive Director: Appointed in 2020.

Tom is an operations director from the engineering and aerospace industries.  He has held various key roles at Aviva including CEO of the General Insurance business in Turkey, and began his current role as Group Procurement Director in 2013.

Tom is also a non-executive director at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust where he is chair of the finance and performance committee, vice-chair of the Trust and a member of the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership Oversight Group.