UK (Keele University) Midlands Mindforge Announces New Ceo And Chair

Midlands Mindforge, an investment company of which Keele University is a member, has announced Dr Lisa Smith and Mike Rees as its inaugural Chief Executive and Chair respectively.

Co-founded by Midlands Innovation, a collective of eight research-intensive universities in the Midlands which includes Keele, Midlands Mindforge has been established to accelerate the commercialisation of university spinouts and early-stage IP-rich businesses in the region.

Lisa is an award-winning investor, consultant for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership and a Harvard MBA graduate. Over the course of her career, Lisa has been passionate about promoting sustainable business development, championing start-ups into growing and successful businesses while embedding inclusive and diverse leadership cultures across the organisations she has worked in.  She has an established track record of success across these missions, having led teams at BTV, McKinsey and Unilever to enable effective business building and support inspiring entrepreneurs to fulfil the potential of their ideas.

As the organisation’s new Chair, Mike Rees will support Lisa in developing and implementing Midlands Mindforge’s vision of knitting together investors, researchers and spinouts into a network which will enable sustained business scaling, building on the excellence which already exists at a local level and unleashing the potential of the region.

Mike is the Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board, and Chair of the Board Risk Committee at ING Bank, Chair of the board of Travelex and Chair of the Board of the Mauritius Africa Fintech Association. Until 2016, he was the Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank. In 2019, Mike authored the 2019 UKRI report investigating how to strengthen university access to finance in a way that supports spinout company formation and university-investor relationships. He is also the Senior Independent Council Member at Research England.

To find out more about Midlands Mindforge, and to read this announcement in full, visit