An alumnus of Oriel College (Geography, 1978), Neil took up his post as Provost in 2018 after a career building businesses in the creative and finance sectors.
In 2020 he was appointed by the government as Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the cultural sector. Neil was conferred with a Life Peerage by Her Majesty the Queen in October 2020, and holds the title of The Lord Mendoza of King’s Reach in the City of London. He was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list in December 2022.
Neil is focused on successfully preserving, protecting and enhancing college life for 550 students and 250 academic and support staff as Oriel approaches its 700th anniversary in 2026.
At the University, Neil is on the Board of the Ashmolean museum, and on the Vice-Chancellor’s Cultural Advisory Board. Previously he was Chair of the Electors for the Slade Professor of Fine Art and a member of the Innovation Working Group.
Prior to joining Oriel, Neil led the year-long Mendoza Review of Museums in England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (2016-17) and a review for the Cabinet Office on the national museums.
Neil is Chair of The Illuminated River Foundation and Civic Future. He remains Commissioner for Culture at at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and chairs the research-led Culture and Heritage Capital Board.
He joined the Board of Meira GTx, a US-based gene therapy company, in 2015 and continues to act as a consultant for Bookmark Content, the company he founded as Forward Publishing in the 1980s.
Neil is an advocate of supporting talent, creativity and enterprise through high quality educational, cultural and heritage engagement. In previous roles as a Commissioner of Historic England, Chair of the Landmark Trust, Chair of Children and the Arts, and Vice Chair of Soho Theatre, he oversaw significant transformation during a period of change for these organisations.