Spotlight on Phil Harding
7 December 2012
This week the spotlight is on Phil Harding, Director of Finance and Business Affairs.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am the Director of Finance and Business Affairs, responsible for the financial health of UCL and for the provision of a range of professional services to support our academic aspirations. In addition to finance, this includes research services, procurement and legal services.
UCL is embarking upon a critical period in its evolution, during which we will look to build on our global reputation for excellence. This requires substantial investment in people, buildings, facilities and IT in order to provide the right environment for our academic endeavour to flourish. My role is to help provide the resources to deliver investment on the necessary scale and ensure we remain financially sustainable throughout. I also spend a lot of time in meetings trying to look important.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL for 6 months and have worked in higher education for the last 15 years. My last role was as CFO at City University London. My earlier career included five years as Finance Director of an acute hospital NHS Trust as well as a number of private sector roles for BP, Prudential and others.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I have invested a lot of time in the first few months getting to know my team in Finance and Business Affairs (a really good bunch) and meeting Deans, Faculty Managers, Heads of Department, DAs and anyone else who will talk to me. Getting to grips with the scale and complexity of UCL is an exciting challenge.
A major piece of work will be the development of an integrated finance and estate strategy for UCL for the coming 10 years or so. I'm looking forward to collaborating on this with colleagues in departments, faculties and across Professional Services.
What is your life like outside UCL?
I'm a governor of one academy school, the responsible officer for another and treasurer for a local charity. I'm also involved in a few sector groups, including the Leadership Foundation, USS and London Metropolitan Network. I run, play cricket and have a passion for lower league football (come on Barnet!). Oh yes, and the family.