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Our Trustee Board and Director

The Trustee Board is responsible for directing the affairs of the UPP Foundation, ensuring it is well-run and delivering the charitable outcomes for which it has been created. All UPP Foundation grant applications are reviewed and authorised by the Trustee Board.

Richard Brabner, Executive Chair, UPP Foundation and Director of ESG at UPP

Richard Brabner was appointed Executive Chair of the UPP Foundation in 2023. This followed seven years leading the Foundation operationally as its Director since it was established in 2016. As the Executive Chair, Richard leads the Trustee Board as it develops and implements the Foundation’s strategy; determines it funding priorities, thought leadership initiatives, and convening role. Since 2021 Richard has also been the Director of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) at UPP – leading, creating and communicating UPP’s strategy and roadmap for ESG. Richard joined UPP in 2015 as Business Development Manager and his responsibilities then included setting up the UPP Foundation.

Prior to joining UPP, he was Head of Policy at the University of Hertfordshire, advising the Vice-Chancellor and senior management team and leading the University’s public affairs function. He graduated from the University of Essex in 2007 and holds an MRes in Public Policy and Management from Birkbeck, University of London.

Karen Morgon, Business Development Director, UPP

Karen Morgon, Business Development Director, UPP.

Karen joined UPP in the summer of 2016 as Transaction Director, but has now been appointed to the new role of Business Development Management.

Starting her career in retail banking, Karen studied to become an associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers. She then moved into local government, which is where she developed a passion for social inclusion issues and ways of keeping young people in education.  Karen later became involved with a number of school governing bodies, serving on disciplinary committees and focusing on helping pupils avoid being excluded from the educational environment.

Karen has a keen interest in the performing arts and regularly participates in amateur dramatic productions.  She plays the clarinet to orchestral standard as well as being an accomplished choral singer and ballroom dancer.  When not commuting into London from her home in Somerset, Karen is a keen apiarist and also enjoys spending time in her garden or walking her dog.

Rt. Hon Chris Skidmore, Chair of UPP Foundation Advisory Board

Chris was the Member of Parliament for Kingswood until he resigned as an MP in early 2024 over the previous Government’s approach to Net Zero. He was elected following the 2010 General Election and served as the Universities Minister on two occasions between 2018 and 2020. He has also previously had Ministerial roles at the Department for Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office. Prior to becoming a Government Minister he was George Osborne’s PPS for a year between 2015 and 2016 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. As a backbencher, he now co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary University Group alongside his new role on the Advisory Board at the UPP Foundation.

Before being elected as an MP Skidmore was an education adviser for the Conservatives, working for then-Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove, and has also served as Director of the Party’s Public Services Improvement Group, run by Stephen Dorrell and Baroness Perry. He is also a historian and published author. His first book, ‘Edward VI: The Lost King’, was released in 2007 and his second, ‘Death and the Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Death of Amy Robsart’, was published in 2010. He has a First Class Honours in Modern History from the University of Oxford.

Matt Burton, Executive Director Partnerships at UPP

Matt Burton has worked in Higher Education, property and infrastructure sector for over a decade. At UPP, Matt is a statutory director and leads all portfolio SPV management activity. He is responsible for leading strategic relationship management, fostering long-term beneficial partnerships. This includes regular engagement with senior university officers, responsibility for ongoing revenue and occupancy delivery, as well as portfolio strategy development.

Previously, Matt worked at the University of York where he successfully delivered high quality space management services including the management of residential, teaching and learning spaces.

He has served on various governing bodies and councils, founded commercial enterprises and is a champion for initiatives that enhance the customer and student experience.