Our Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees are responsible for the overall control and strategic direction of The Rivers Trust. They meet regularly and bring a wealth of experience to support the general management of the charity.

President: Ian Gregg OBE


Jonathan White (Chair)

Jonathan has been a Director of the Rivers Trust since 2016 and has been Chair since 2019. He was formerly Chair of the Severn Rivers Trust between 2010 and 2019. Jonathan graduated in History from Cambridge University in 1983 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand in London in 1986. From 1987 to his retirement in 2013 Jonathan worked in investment banking specialising in international M&A, debt, and equity issuance. He was a Director of J. Henry Schroder Wagg from 1997 to 2000, and a Managing Director of Citigroup Global Markets Limited from 2000 to 2013.

Graham Thomas (Vice Chair)

Graham has over thirty years of experience in the finance sector, and is currently the Managing Partner of Stage Capital, a secondary private equity firm. He also Chairs the Investment Committee of Menhaden Resource Efficiency PLC and is a member of the investment committee of Apis Partners.

In addition to being Vice Chairman of the Rivers Trust he is a trustee of African Mountain Research Foundation.

Graham holds South African and British citizenship, and has degrees from Cape Town University and from Brasenose College, Oxford. He is a keen, and occasionally successful, fly fisherman.

Sandy Muirhead (Chair BARC)

Sandy read Chemistry at St John’s College, Oxford before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. After 16 years in investment banking, Sandy moved into private equity and in 2001 co-founded Phoenix Equity Partners, a leading UK mid-market private equity business. Sandy retired from Phoenix in 2021 but remains involved with two of its portfolio companies, Redington and Mobius, both of which service the pensions industry. In addition to being a trustee of the Rivers Trust, where he chairs the Business, Audit and Risk Committee, Sandy is Chairman of Premier Christian Media Trust, whose mission is to spread the Christian Gospel through a variety of media including several radio stations, magazine publishing and digital and social media channels. Sandy is a keen hill walker, fly fisherman and gardener, and is a Vice-President of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Jo Harrison

Jo is Director of Environment, Planning, and Innovation at United Utilities. She has over 20 years of experience in the water industry and at UU since 1998. She is accountable for leading the approach to environmental and long-term planning for the next 25 years; developing and strengthening UU’s approach to all aspects of the environment, climate change and carbon. Jo has a BSc in Geography and Ecology from the University of Sheffield and an MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control from Manchester University. She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Managers and a Chartered Environmentalist. She is also a trustee of the Greater Manchester Environment Fund and a non-executive director for JLEN Environmental Assets.

Bella Davies

Bella joined the Rivers Trust movement in 2009 as the first employee of the Wandle Trust. Bella became Trust Director of the Wandle Trust in 2011 and oversaw the Trust’s evolution into the South East Rivers Trust (SERT), which now covers 13 river catchments across the South East of England. She is now Co-CEO of SERT. Prior to working in the rivers trust movement, Bella was Catchment Biodiversity Manager at the Freshwater Habitats Trust and she has also held research and visiting lectureship positions at several universities.

Jack Spees

Jack is the CEO of Ribble Rivers Trust, which he joined in April 2008, to spearhead a more science and evidence-based approach to the work of the Trust. Over the last 15 years Jack has overseen the growth and development of the Trust from a team of 2 focused on fish passage and riparian habitat, to a team of 28 working across the entire 750 square mile catchment. Ribble RT has particular emphasis on expanding the people and community focus of their holistic conservation work from source to sea. Jack has a particular interest in the multi-benefit Ecosystem Approach, ecological economics and Natural Capital.

Charlotte Hitchmough

Charlotte is director of Action for the River Kennet. She came to the Rivers Trust movement from a background in the water industry and science communication. She led the successful campaign to reduce water abstraction from the river Kennet and has expanded ARK’s activities to embrace the Catchment Based Approach. She and ARK have expertise in chalk stream habitat restoration, engaging with schools and communities, working with farmers, wetland creation, sustainable drainage, and water efficiency.

Elizabeth Passey

Elizabeth is a Trustee (past-Chairman) of the Wye & Usk Foundation, Chairman of The Rural Payments Agency, a Member of the Board of the National Lottery Community Fund, Non-Executive Director of VPC Specialty Lending Investments PLC, Chairman (Convener) of The University of Glasgow, Chairman of the Committee of Scottish University Chairs, and executive committee member of The Committee of University Chairs.

Bart Schoonbaert

Bart has spent 15 years of his professional career working in the regulated energy and water industries. Most recently, he was Director for Environment, Public Value & Governance at Ofwat, part of the leadership team with strategic oversight and management responsibilities. Bart is a social scientist by academic background and by instinct, with postgraduate degrees in organisational psychology and water resource management. This means he tends to look at issues from a people-centric, systems-oriented, and multi-disciplinary perspective. He has a passion for the environment and believes in the need for strong collaboration to address the major challenges we face. He joined Arup in April 2022 as Water Advisory Lead with a national and international focus.

Bernie O’ Hanrahan

Based in Ireland, Bernie has over 38 years’ experience in water management. Her career, initially with Monaghan County Council, involved work with water and wastewater, licensing and regulation, pollution monitoring and control and source protection. In more recent years, she was Regional Coordinator with the Local Authorities Waters Programme (LAWPRO) which is part of Ireland’s approach to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Bernie has degrees from UCD and University of Ulster and has contributed to a number of national and regional advisory, steering and working groups, including a number of cross-border environmental projects. Since retirement Bernie continues to take an interest in environmental matters and enjoys volunteering and the outdoors.

Jodie Mills

Jodie Mills, CEO of West Cumbria Rivers Trust, joined the trust in November 2014 following a four-year conservation adventure on St Helena in the South Atlantic. Jodie has nearly 30 years’ experience in the environmental sector and has worked in many parts of the UK and abroad, and for a number of conservation organisations, including BTCV, the Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, a number of small charities, and local authorities. Jodie helps the trust to deliver all of its objectives and overcome the many challenges and hurdles along the way. Her particular passion is engaging communities and schools with their local blue and green spaces and all the benefits this can bring for people and nature.

Back to top