The people make QA
Ask anyone that works here, and they'll tell you. The people make QA.
The people behind QA make great things happen every day. We all bring our own strengths to the table – but share the same values. We're all passionate about transforming people's careers. It makes QA a fun and rewarding place to work.
Discover more about the people leading our business, or meet a few of our learning experts.
QA's Executive Team
Chief Executive Officer
Paul joined as our CEO in September 2019. It was digital transformation and developing talent (two of his personal passions) which attracted Paul to QA – having built a career in both service and people-led businesses. Another passion of Paul's is playing the violin.
Prior to QA, Paul was CEO of Direct Line Group (DLG), where he led the successful IPO of the business, delivering strong customer and business performance. Under his leadership, DLG was recognised in the top three of the Sunday Times Best Big Companies To Work For ranking. Prior to Direct Line Group, Paul was CEO of RBS Group’s mainland UK retail banking business, following a successful career in multichannel retailing and marketing at leading companies such as Kingfisher, GUS and Procter & Gamble.
Paul is a Non-Executive Director of Channel 4 Television Corporation. He read PPE at Oxford.
Chief Financial Officer
Nathan is our numbers man. As CFO he takes care of everything finance-related plus our Legal, Property and Technology services. He’s been our CFO since May 2018.
Prior to QA, Nathan was CFO at Tes Global and Research Now Group Inc. Before that, EMEA Finance Director of Fitch (that’s part of WPP Group plc). He’s got experience in group finance, corporate development, legal and investor relations. At Research Now Group Inc., he oversaw the development of the business from a UK public company, through two private equity transactions in 2009 and 2015.
Nathan’s roots in finance started when he became a qualified chartered accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1998. He has a BSc in Economics and Accounting from the University of Bristol.
Chief Client Officer Learning and Apprenticeships
Stuart joined QA in February 2000 – yes, you did read that correctly, that’s over 20 years ago (despite how youthful he looks!).
A real progression success story, Stuart started out as an account manager, became sales director after five years and is now Chief Client Officer for Learning and Apprenticeships, working directly with partners and large clients, and he is responsible for the teams who drive value for our customers globally.
Stuart has been an exco member of QA since 2008 and has led business development as well as integration through the many mergers and acquisitions we have completed during that time.
Prior to QA, Stuart worked in training and online education at IBM and Ten-TV.
Group Chief Technology Officer
Katie Nykanen joins from Adstream, a leading digital asset management platform used by brands and agencies, where she spent 9 years managing the global technology function. She has over 20 years’ industry experience, was named female CTO of the Year in 2019 and placed #16 on the CIO 100 list, a list which recognises transformational and disruptive CIOs. Katie will lead QA’s group technology function.
Chief Marketing Officer
James joined QA in October 2019 and leads the Marketing function. He is passionate about how we can win new customers.
James has worked in Marketing and Product Development for his entire career, working across both B2C and B2B organisations. He started out at Unilever, running their detergents brand portfolio across Europe, before moving to become the Marketing Director for the Nectar loyalty programme. Most recently he spent four and a half years as the Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer for the UK division of Worldpay, where he was part of a team that managed a successful IPO in 2015.
James is a scientist by background, graduating with a degree in Chemistry from Oxford University.
Managing Director Education Operations
Darren joined QA in January 2020 as Managing Director of Education Operations. He enjoys delighting customers and will be focused on ensuring operational rigour and excellence across the Learning, Consulting and Apprenticeships service lines.
Prior to QA, Darren was Executive Director of the Learning Services at Capita, leading the division that included the learning and training businesses; Apprenticeships, BlueSky, Brightwave, G2G3, Fire Service College and Knowledgepool. Darren spent 10 years in the Middle East creating operations and service management capabilities and delivering tech enabled business change programmes for private and public sector clients.
Darren has a degree in City & Regional Planning from University of Wales, Cardiff and is a member of the Institute of Collaborative Working.
Chief Executive Higher Education
Simon brings a wealth of experience in the global EdTech market. Founder and CEO of FutureLearn, the online learning platform launched by the Open University and used by world-renowned academic institutions, Simon was responsible for scaling the platform from start-up to reaching a global audience of more than 15 million students.
Prior to this, Simon played a key role at the BBC for more than a decade, leading the BBC Radio digital strategy and playing a major role in the development and launch of BBC iPlayer. Most recently Simon headed up the digital strategy at Nord Anglia Education, the world’s largest international schools group.
Chief Executive Circus Street
After graduating in business and statistics from Greenwich University, Richard started a career in media and advertising as a researcher for The Media Centre, part of the DMB&B advertising group. He later became a media planner for brands including the COI, Fiat and P&G. Early in his career he specialised in the emerging area of digital marketing, cutting some of the UK’s first deals with iconic digital brands such as Yahoo, AOL and later Google and Facebook. He set up the digital division of Starcom Mediavest growing it into one of the largest buyers of digital services in the UK. Richard left to set up a media consultancy called Circus Street, which he later pivoted into an online learning business in response to the desperate need for digital skills within his clients. Richard grew Circus Street to be one of the world’s most widely used and best-respected Ed-tech businesses in the corporate sector.
Chief Executive Cloud Academy
Stefano is the founder and CEO of Cloud Academy, a company that he created almost 10 years ago. In his current role, he leads the Cloud Academy worldwide business, its vision and execution. Cloud Academy is a Skills Intelligence Platform, a solution designed to serve global large enterprise organizations to develop and manage their tech skills at scale.
QA Managing Directors
Managing Director QA Talent
Charu has been with QA since December 2020 and is a Managing Director heading our Talent/Consultancy business globally.
Prior to joining QA, Charu was the UKI and European Head of the People and Transformation practice at Infosys Consulting. She is experienced in selling and delivering large-scale complex people and IT transformation programmes in the financial services, consumer goods, life sciences and telecommunication sectors.
Charu started her career working for Citibank and then JP Morgan Chase, building her expertise around IT transformation programmes. After completing her MBA, she joined KPMG as part of their Financial Services and later Strategic Change practices, before moving to Infosys.
Having lived and worked across three continents leading large, disparate and culturally diverse teams, Charu is passionate about building high-performing teams and positive, diverse and inclusive cultures. At QA, she gets to do just this, while creating value for our clients and our consultants – a win-win!
Managing Director Defence and HMG
After 12 years in the military as a Royal Navy Commando, Toby joined IBM as L&D European Lead, while also working as a client partner in Defence and Security.
More recently from Ernst & Young, where he was leading their Public Sector Digital HR Practice, Toby has moved to QA to lead Government Learning. He brings the best of his consultancy, learning and technology experience to support our public sector clients solve their learning problems, while providing advice on how to prepare for the Future of Work.