Sarah Turvill

Leading businesswoman to head University of Exeter’s governing body

An Exeter graduate who went on to head the international operations of a leading global firm of insurance brokers has been appointed as the new Chair of the University’s Council with effect from 1 August 2012.

Sarah Turvill graduated with a Law degree from Exeter in 1975 and is the Chairman of Willis International Ltd.  She has been instrumental in building Willis' European network as well as the Group's operations in China, Latin America, India and other high-growth markets.

She will succeed Russell Seal, a former Joint Managing Director of BP. The Chair of Council is a part-time non-executive role.

Said Ms Turvill: ‘I had a fantastic time at Exeter as a student and gaining my Law degree was the foundation of my career. It’s a very exciting time to be getting involved with the University. As a graduate from Exeter, it has given me great pride to see its rise into the top 10 universities in the UK and I am looking forward to helping it go on to even greater things in the future.’

Ms Turvill already has a strong involvement with Exeter as member of its Alumni Network Group, with responsibility for advising the University on strengthening its ties with its international alumni and its fundraising strategy.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: ‘The Chair of Council is a vitally important role for the University.  Sarah’s experience of national and international business will be a real asset in the new world that universities are moving into. I would also like to thank Russell Seal for the contribution he has made to the University since joining Council in 1999 and becoming Chair in 2005. Russell has continually challenged us to do better than our previous best and will continue to do so until he steps down in July next year.’

After graduating from Exeter in 1975, Ms Turvill took her Barrister’s exams at the College of Law and joined Willis as an in-house lawyer in 1978.  She went on to become Chief Executive of its international operations in 2001 and was made Chairman in 2006.

Date: 19 October 2011

Read more University News