About Us‎ > ‎News‎ > ‎

Announcement regarding new Chief Executive

posted Nov 30, 2016, 7:43 AM by Nicholas Basson

It was announced today that Julian Drinkall, until recently Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, has been appointed Chief Executive Designate of AET. Julian will join us on 12 December, working with our outgoing Chief Executive, Ian Comfort, to ensure a smooth transition before he takes up the post of CEO in the spring term.

This development is the first step in a process which will see the further development of the Group’s management team, alongside the strengthening of the Board which began with the appointment of our Chair, Jack Boyer OBE, earlier this year. Alongside Julian Drinkall, Catherine Hastings has been recruited as the Group’s Director of Communications, and further senior level appointments are expected to follow as AET strengthens the team that will lead a programme of transformational change in the organisation.

Jack Boyer, Chair of AET, commented:

“I am delighted to be able to welcome Julian as AET’s future Chief Executive. AET has set itself an ambitious programme to provide the best quality education across a large number of academies. Julian’s appointment marks the next step on our pathway towards achieving that; he brings the leadership qualities and experience that will bring about further positive change and growth to the organisation. Meanwhile, Catherine has a very strong background in public relations and will provide the communications support, both internally and externally, that will help AET to achieve its goals. We are looking forward to seeing further key players joining our senior leadership team in the coming weeks and months.”

“AET is a major player in the academies landscape, and has significant strengths, particularly in the primary and Special Educational Needs (SEN) sectors. We recognise that the organisation is facing some big tasks: we have taken on a large number of academies, some of which had faced difficulties historically, but we have been seeing improvement over time. We have now outlined a clear plan to accelerate those improvements and deliver educational excellence across the whole Group. These positive announcements underline the Board’s commitment to achieving these goals.”

Julian Drinkall said:

“I am very pleased to be joining the Academies Enterprise Trust, which is doing such important work, and I share its commitment to achieving the highest standards in education. I am looking forward to taking up this exciting new task.”

Julian Drinkall was until recently Chief Executive of the Alpha Plus Group, one of the largest groups of independent schools in the UK and the largest in London, comprising 18 schools and colleges. The group has seen impressive growth and built a strong reputation for its quality and high educational standards. In addition to this Julian brings over a decade of experience in education, having previously been President and CEO of Cengage Learning, EMEA and India, as well as three years as CEO of Macmillan Education, and has held further roles in media and international education companies including IPC Media. Prior to this, his early career was in strategy consulting and corporate finance, becoming Head of the BBC’s Financial and Commercial Strategy in 1998. Educated at Eton and Oxford where he graduated in PPE, Julian also has an MBA from Harvard and a Masters in Public 2 Administration from Harvard’s JFK School of Government, where he holds a Littauer Fellowship.

Catherine Hastings is a communications specialist who has successfully managed the reputations of some of the UK’s most high-profile organisations including London Business School, the BBC, NHS University and the Cabinet Office. Her early career was spent with Valin Pollen, a leading corporate and financial communications agency. As a consultant she has provided strategic advice for a wide variety of organisations in both the private and public sector, ranging from large organisations through to start-ups. She is a Non-Executive Director of MMHA.

For further information please contact:

Catherine Hastings, Director of Communications

Tel: 07771 738283

E-mail: press@academiesenterprisetrust.org