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 Workforce Learning
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 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 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.
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.
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.
President, Cloud Academy
Ella is a well-recognised leader at the intersection of the EdTech and SaaS space, serving a wide variety of B2B customers. Her 25+ years of global general management and strategy consulting experience created a winning blend of strategy and execution. She is a visionary and technology-savvy P&L leader, with a proven track record of turnarounds and growing profitable businesses.
Most recently, Ella was President and GM of the Enterprise and Government business at General Assembly, a pioneer of the software bootcamp category. Before that, Ella was managing a portfolio of Education Publishing businesses at Wiley, with 1,500 global employees. There, she drove digital transformation and the turnaround of highly disrupted offerings and was named one of five leaders in education technology by ForbesWomen.
Prior to Wiley, Ella spent a decade at Elsevier, one of the world’s largest providers of scientific, medical, and technology information, where she was SVP and GM of Engineering Solutions managing a portfolio of SaaS information products for R&D professionals. She also served as CEO of Knovel – a company under Elsevier providing data-driven decision-support solutions for engineers.
Prior to Elsevier, Ella was a Principal for Kearney, a global management consultancy. Ella holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an MS in Mathematics from Odessa National University in the Ukraine. She lives in Miami with her husband and they have two adult children.
Chief Client Officer
Phil joined QA from Workday, following a distinguished enterprise sales career at leading technology organisations including Taleo and Oracle. Joining Workday as an Account Executive, Phil was soon promoted to Sales Director for their Medium Enterprise business leading his team to achieve the Best International Team Award. He later moved to a role leading Sales Strategy & Operations, which included responsibility for driving sales execution and efficiency across the EMEA business. His most recent role was leader of Workday’s customer base sales team.
QA Managing Directors
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.