New leadership for College Development Board

31st January 2019

Somerville’s Development Board, the committee of volunteers that advises the College on fundraising strategy and helps secure major donations, has new leadership this year.

Sybella Stanley (1979, Ancient and Modern History) and Ayla Busch, (1989, PPE) have been appointed co-chairs of the Somerville Development Board. Sybella is director of corporate finance at RELX, the multinational FTSE 100 information and analytics company, and a non-executive director at Tate & Lyle and The Merchants Trust. Ayla is chief executive of the family-owned manufacturer Busch SE and chairwoman of the supervisory board at Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology AG.

Sybella commented “I would not have achieved what I have in my career had I not been to Somerville.  The College was founded to foster equality of opportunity, academic excellence and liberal thinking, and it will be a privilege to assist Somerville in securing funding to maintain these principles.”

Ayla said: “My education at Somerville has given me confidence, analytic rigour and a lifelong community. I have built on these assets and am very excited to engage, together with the members of the Development Board, in this endeavour to support our College with the funds needed to enable its success.”

Ayla Busch


Sybella Stanley

Clara Freeman (1971, Modern History), who was Marks & Spencer’s first female executive board member, and Hilary Newiss (1974, Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology), formerly a partner and head of intellectual property at law firm Denton Hall, are relinquishing their leadership responsibilities.

Victoria Maltby (1974, Modern History), is also joining the board. Vicky, who qualified as a solicitor, is a passionate advocate of education. From 1995 to 2007 she served on the Council of the Girls’ Day School Trust. She has also worked as an adult literacy teacher.

The Principal of Somerville College, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, said: “I am immensely grateful to Clara and Hilary for their support. They have worked with us during a period when Somerville has achieved greater financial security, giving us a firmer basis for our vital mission of teaching and research.

“I am delighted that Ayla and Sybella have agreed to lead the board and that Victoria will be joining us. Ayla’s business is a global champion, while remaining a family-owned company which has strong bonds with its employees and very firm local roots. Sybella is an experienced and insightful business leader, who has always been a consistent and loyal friend to Somerville.

“In the next phase of our growth, as we work to ensure that the opportunities we offer are made available to applicants from the widest cross-section of society, I am sure they will make a formidable contribution.”

To support the work of the Somerville development team, please contact Sara Kalim, director of development:

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