Ralph has worked on a number of private equity deals, in a number of different sectors. He currently chairs Williams Lea Tag, an Advent International investment, and is Independent Director of Keter, a BC Partners investment. He also chairs an exciting early stage business, Headbox.
Ralph has been involved in a number of education activities in recent years. He is Board Trustee on the largest primary school MAT. He chairs the Advisory board of a leading University business school. He was Chairman of Cognita until 2018, the global K12 schools organisation, with over 70 schools worldwide.
Ralph spent 25 years at Unilever, and has lived and worked in S Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand and Belgium, as well as the UK. He rose to become executive director on the main board of Unilever. He has also been a director of Intercontinental Hotels, and was Board advisor on the main board of Mars, Incorporated.
Ralph was appointed Commander of the Royal Order of the Direkgunaborn, a Thai royal honour, in 1999.
Simon joined Study Group as Chief Financial Officer in April 2023.
Prior to Study Group, Simon has spent the last 20 years as a successful CFO at a number of UK entities, gaining experience of a range of sectors, scales and governance structures. Since 2009, he has focussed on health and education. His immediately preceding roles were as CFO at Connect Health (physiotherapy services to the NHS) and prior to that he was CFO at Servelec (IT software to the public sector) until their successful exit to The Access Group in August 2021, where he worked with our Chief Executive, Ian Crichton. His earlier CFO experiences include Serco (Healthcare FM), Edinburgh Napier University and NHS National Services Scotland.
After Simon qualified as a Chartered Accountant, he spent many years developing his commercial and skills in a range of finance and operational roles in large-scale food and drink businesses including Guinness, Bass, Burton’s Biscuits and Scottish & Newcastle.
Simon lives in Edinburgh with his wife Kathryn and their family.
Chief Financial Officer
Sir Keith Burnett FRS
Professor Sir Keith Burnett FRS is an eminent scientist who was formerly the Head of the Division of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences at The University of Oxford. He also worked as a physicist in the United States and at Imperial College in London before spending two decades at Oxford and then 11 years as the President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sheffield.
In addition to his role with Study Group, Sir Keith is Chair of the Nuffield Foundation - the charitable trust established in 1943 Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motors, which aims to improve social well-being by funding research and innovation projects in education and social policy, and building research capacity in science and social science. He is also the Chair of the Academic Council of the Schmidt Science Fellows in partnership with the Rhodes Trust in Oxford, a global programme to support exemplary interdisciplinary science in partnership with the world’s leading universities. He has served as President of the U.K. Science Council, as a trustee of the Royal Society and as a member of the Prime-Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology.
A speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Sir Keith has also been a significant leader of scientific and educational partnership between the UK and China. In 2014 and 2016 he was given an Award for Outstanding Personal Achievement by the People’s Republic of China for his contribution to the understanding of Chinese language and culture. Sir Keith was the co-founder of the award-winning #WeAreInternational campaign which welcomes international students and scholars to the UK, now supported by over 100 UK universities, education providers and businesses and led by the U.K. Council for International Student Affairs. He was awarded a knighthood in 2013 for services to Science and Higher Education.
Sir Keith Burnett FRS
Bruno has been a Managing Director with Ardian since 2002. He was previously a Director at PAI Partners. He has extensive investment experience in the food, chemicals, industrials and healthcare sectors. Bruno has worked in the pharmaceutical industry with Rhone-Poulenc, in management consulting with Corporate Decisions and in investment banking with Triago. He qualified as a Medical Doctor and received an MBA from The Wharton School. Currently sits on the board of Inula, Frulact and Audiotonix.
Edward Little is based in the London office of Ardian. Prior to joining Ardian in 2018, Mr. Little worked at TPG Capital where he focused on the consumer and business services sectors. Previously, Edward worked at HIG Capital and began his career as an investment banker at Rothschild in London. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. Currently sits on the board of Audiotonix.
Olivier is a Managing Director based in the London office at Ardian. Prior to joining Ardian in 2011, he was a Principal at Apax Partners in the business and financial services team. Previously, Mr. Personnaz worked in Paris as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. He graduated as an Engineer from Ecole Centrale Paris. Currently sits on the board of Audiotonix and Indexia.
Ardian Buyout - Chairman
Ian Crichton joins Study Group as Chief Executive Officer in September 2022. In the course of an international career spanning over 30 years, Ian has worked in a variety of private and public sector roles, 12 of them as CEO. Prior to his appointment with Study Group, Ian was Chief Executive of Servelec, a global health informatics company supplying software to the healthcare, social care and education sectors, where he led the transformation of the company from a legacy software business to a successful innovative business focused on improving public services at scale.
Ian is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and has undertaken executive education at CEDEP (INSEAD), Harvard University and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
Chief Executive Officer