Director of Engagement

Phil Chapman

Phil Chapman is an experienced marketing and leadership professional who has global experience across the private, public and higher education sectors. However, Phil began his career in education, as a science teacher.

“I graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in Physics and followed it with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education,” he said. “I taught physics for a year, but my lifelong passion for cars took me away from teaching and into the auto industry.”

Phil worked in marketing for Ford Motor Company and later took several roles with Jaguar. During this time, he was instrumental in setting up Ford’s Personal Contract Purchase Plan (PCP) – a new way for people to finance the purchase of their cars.

“We invented the first PCP in Europe,” he continued. “It is now the most common way that anybody in Europe buys a new or used car.”

It was in 2005 that Phil began his higher education career, as Head of Marketing and Communications and Deputy Director of Advancement at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN). He says his four years in Preston “were a great induction into this sector, and the contribution made by modern developing Universities.” He followed this role with a post at the University of Northampton before joining London Met in 2013.

Phil’s achievements at his previous universities include dramatically reducing their dependency on clearing admission through effective marketing campaigns, the development of service-centred and relationship-based marketing, and the deployment of web content management systems.

“There are two big achievements of mine which I hope to replicate as Director of Engagement at London Met. When I moved into my first and second universities they were in Clearing for about 25% of their intake, but by the time I left the University of Central Lancashire we’d reduced our Clearing dependency through marketing down to just 51 students out of a 3,000 student intake; and at Northampton University we got it down to around 170.

“The combination of a modern, attractive portfolio and the use of contemporary digital marketing approaches created those achievements, and we have a great opportunity to replicate that under the Strategic Plan.”

Phil’s key accountabilities as Director of Engagement include setting up a marketing insight unit to lead on more in-depth market and customer research for the University; establishing a clearer division and appropriate resource allocation between PR and Internal Communications; and creating a new corporate events planning and management function.

When he isn’t doing all of that, Phil can often be found roaring on the Irons.

“My son and I follow West Ham United a little bit religiously. But I also love old cars – British proletarian cars of the 50s and 60s. I go weak at the knees for a Morris Minor and a Triumph Herald and a Standard Vanguard. I also love to travel.”

So what does Phil like best about London Met?

“We are very collegiate. The relationships between professions and academics and the relationships across boundaries between services tend to be very good. There is a tremendously high level of interdepartmental collaboration. People here are genuinely united behind the University’s social mission.

“If you work at London Met and stick with it, the main reason is that you really believe in the societal change and value we’re trying to create. You’re happily here because of the impact that we have on the lives and career and social mobility aspirations of ordinary Londoners who in many cases have been somewhat let down by the secondary and further education sector.”