David Allen


Former university Registrar, passionate about students and their experience in university, now highly sought-after for consultancy work.

  • Former Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter
  • Held senior leadership roles in the universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, Southampton and Wales
  • Acknowledged expert on corporate governance and risk management, having acted as Secretary to the Councils of three Russell Group universities
  • He was awarded an OBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list for services to higher education.

David worked in higher education for 37 years, retiring in 2013 as Registrar and Deputy Chief Executive of the University of Exeter.

David has since built a wide portfolio of activity. He was a Principal Consultant at Perrett Laver, executive search consultants, from 2013-14. He currently chairs the boards of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), Exeter College and Torbay Pharmaceuticals. He is Vice-Chair of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

In addition, he has undertaken consultancy projects for a range of clients including the universities of Kent, Suffolk, Nottingham, Lancaster and the Russell Group. He has been an external adviser on senior appointments to numerous universities, including Cambridge, UCL, LSE, Trinity College, Dublin, Liverpool, Leicester, Luxembourg, Bangor and Swansea.

David is the only person to have chaired both the Association of University Administrators and the Association of Heads of University Administration. He was the inaugural chair of the Russell Group registrars. He is a former Board member of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) and of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. He jointly chaired the companies responsible for developing and operating Exeter and Falmouth University’s shared campus in Penryn, Cornwall. He also chaired a steering group of partners that led to the development of Exeter Science Park.