Meet our Board

St Cuthbert’s is governed by a Board of Trustees whose major role is to oversee strategic planning for the school.

The Board of Trustees is made up of the following members:

Leigh Melville, Trust Board Chair

Managing Director – Art + Object

Leigh Melville was appointed to the St Cuthbert’s Board of Trustees in 2017 and became Chair in August 2022. Leigh ensures the Trust Board’s vision is aligned with the College’s mission statement ‘By Love Serve’ and works to support our Principal in keeping St Cuthbert’s at the forefront of education in New Zealand. As Chair, Leigh is an ex officio member of all Trust Board committees.

A former student of the College from 1984 to 1990, Leigh was Head Girl in her final year. Leigh’s mother and grandmother both attended the College and her father Ian, was a Trust Board member from 1984 to 2000. Leigh has served two terms on the Old Girls’ Committee, most recently as President during the College Centenary in 2013 to 2014.

Leigh is a Director of Art + Object, an art auction house in Auckland and is Chair of the New Zealand at Venice Biennale Patrons Trust, which fundraises to support New Zealand’s participation at the Venice Biennale.

Leigh holds a Bachelor of Communication Studies from Auckland University of Technology. Her daughter, Frances, is currently a student at St Cuthbert’s.

Paul Nickels, Deputy Chair

Partner, PwC

Paul has a strong association with St Cuthbert’s with three daughters as past and current students. He joined the Board in June 2016 and was appointed Deputy Chair in October 2017.

As a senior partner at PwC, Paul is an accomplished commercial and strategic advisor with over 25 years of practice, he brings a unique breadth and depth of experiences as both a strategic and operational leader. Paul has held several senior positions for PwC, including the Managing Partner of their NZ Consulting business, the ASEANZ Risk Consulting leader, member of NZ PwC Firm Executive, ASEANZ Consulting Leadership and NZ Firm Financial Assurance leadership teams. 

Paul is the Chair of the Audit and Risk subcommittee and a member of several other Board subcommittees.

He is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Accounting and Financial Management. Paul has a passion for education, in addition to his role with St Cuthbert’s, he is a member of the University of Auckland Business School Advisory Board. 

Outside of work, Paul enjoys spending time with his family, and as a passionate road cyclist and skier, he loves to be in the outdoors – here and abroad.

Hamish Firth

Managing Director, Mt Hobson Group

Hamish joined the board in February 2021 and has three daughters at St Cuthbert’s, one in the Senior School and two in the Junior School. He is keen to add value to the school’s long term future through this role.

Hamish has a Bachelor of Science and Master’s in Planning Practice from Auckland University and has owned Mt Hobson Group for 20 years. He has considerable experience in getting resource consent and plan change approvals, appearing before the Environment Court, Valuation Tribunal and other Council hearings for a wide and diverse range of clients.

Hamish represented New Zealand in Rugby at Under 19 level and has run the New York marathon. He now prefers hiking, gardening and watching his children in their various sporting pursuits.


Alex Mercer

Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Datacom.

Alex was appointed to the Board in 2020 and her daughter attended St Cuthbert’s College. 

Alex is an experienced marketing and communications strategist with more than 20 years’ experience working across Asia Pacific and the U.S for Microsoft, Xero, Orion Health, Datacom, NEXT Foundation and the Giving Pledge.  Alex says “ I have had the good fortune in my career to lead teams and manage ground-breaking global marketing and communications initiatives in technology and philanthropy.”

Alex is passionate about New Zealand’s social enterprise and business growth, and established and was on the advisory board of ’ArcAngels’, an angel investment organisation committed to boosting the pool of investors and facilitating investment in entrepreneurial businesses founded by women.

Anil Sharma

Laparoscopic Gynae Surgeon 

Anil was appointed to the St Cuthbert’s Board of Trustees in June 2017 and has a close association with the school since 2008.

Anil worked for 25 years in public hospitals in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand as an Obgyn and helped deliver more than 5000 babies. He has a passion for informed consent having undertaken a one year medicolegal qualification. He is actively involved in postgraduate teaching and lectures widely in women’s health having spent several years on TVNZ Good Morning. He is also part of the advocacy group Mothers Matter.

He has a wealth of experience in crisis management and planned services in the emergency and elective health sectors. These skills, along with his empathetic nature and belief in lifelong learning have transferred seamlessly into the St Cuthbert’s boardroom.

Anil has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Leicester, a Diploma in Elder Health from the Royal College of Physicians (London) and Diploma in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice from Cardiff University. He holds fellowships from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (London) and the Royal Australasian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (Melbourne).

Anil is married to Rachel and daughters Lauren and Jessica attend the senior school. Daughter Cate enjoyed her time at St. Cuthberts and is at University. He enjoys walking, the outdoors, comedy and mid-century and modern design and architecture.

Guy Williams

Head of Investment Banking at Forsyth Barr

Guy joined the St Cuthbert’s Board of Trustees in August 2019 and is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Guy joined Forsyth Barr as Head of Investment Banking in 2010 and he specialises in advising clients (including in the education sector) on strategy, mergers, acquisitions, divestments, equity and debt raisings and IPOs. Prior to this he was Head of Investment Banking at Craigs Investment Partners and a Managing Director at ABN AMRO New Zealand.

Guy was educated in the United Kingdom and he started his career in London with Coopers & Lybrand where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Post qualification he moved into Investment Banking first with Barings and then ABN AMRO.

In 2002, Guy immigrated to New Zealand and the following year married Michelle. Their two daughters Hannah and Sienna are in the Senior School.

Guy has an Economics and Accounting degree from Bristol University, is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and is a fellow of the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand.

Fraser Whineray

Chief Operating Officer, Fonterra Co-operative

Fraser joined the Board in June 2020 and has two daughters in the Senior School.

A strong believer in the school’s kaupapa, Fraser is keen to support the school’s long-term prosperity through this governance role.

Fraser’s career has included large operational roles across a range of sectors in New Zealand and overseas, including Chief Executive of Mercury NZ Limited and as a non-executive Director of several listed companies. He holds qualifications in chemical engineering, dairy science and business from Canterbury, Massey and Cambridge universities.


Penelope Peebles

Penelope joined the Board in early 2022 and has two daughters in the Senior School.

A former student at the College from 1975-1985 Penelope is a Past President of the Old Girls’ Association and just finished six years on the Old Girls Committee.

A Governance Advisor and Partner in a global executive search firm, she has over 20 years’ experience working with CEOs and Board across the Asia Pacific region and further afield including the Philippines, South Africa and the US.

Penelope holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing/Human Resources, a Master of Commerce (Hons) degree from Auckland University, a Post Graduate Diploma of Governance from Waikato University and has attended a post graduate programme in strategic change at Columbia University.


If you wish to contact the Board, please email [email protected]