We are delighted to announce the election of Ms Sarah Canning-Jones as the new Chair of the Advisory Board of Governors at the two campuses of Shrewsbury International School Bangkok.

The previous Chairman, Sir David Lees (85), announced his decision to step down after nearly two decades of remarkable service to Shrewsbury in Asia. Sir David joined the Board of Shrewsbury International School Bangkok in 2005 as a representative of Shrewsbury School UK. Then, upon his retirement as Chairman of the Governing Body of Shrewsbury School UK in 2007, he readily accepted Mr Chali Sophonpanich’s invitation to serve as an independent governor on the Riverside Board. In 2016 when Dr Chai-Anan Samudavanija retired as Chairman of the Board of Governors, Sir David was elected to succeed him.

David-Lees-300px.jpgSir David Lees has been on the Board since 2005, and the Chair of Governors since 2017.With Shrewsbury’s launch in 2018 of City Campus and the new international school in Hong Kong, Sir David’s role as Chairman multiplied, including presiding over the Shrewsbury International Asia Advisory BoardSir David’s extraordinary portfolio of work, alongside Chairmanships of major FTSE 100 companies and the Court of the Bank of England, speaks to his global experience, his passion for education and his affection for the Sophonpanich family and its projects across Asia. Over the years, he has developed a deep knowledge of the schools based on his forensic analysis of Board Papers, combined with an engaged personal rapport with all the constituents. Sir David has provided support and wise advice to Shrewsbury’s Principals and has brought his experience to bear on the new school projects as they developed from conception into reality.

Sir David comments: “It has been a great pleasure to enjoy almost twenty years of association with the Sophonpanich family and to witness at first hand the growth of the Shrewsbury Schools in Asia during this time.  Much has been achieved since the foundation of the Riverside Campus in 2003 and I look forward, in my retirement, to hearing of further achievements in the years ahead.”

Sarah Canning-Jones is ideally positioned to step up from the Vice-Chair role at Riverside and City Campus. From 2000 - 2016, Sarah was a legal counsel working for Allen & Overy in Bangkok and retains the strongest of personal and professional connections to Thailand. She has been a Board Member at Riverside since 2014 and City Campus since 2018. Her incisiveexpertise combines with the personal experience of her daughter being educated at Riverside and her son being educated firstly at Riverside and then at Shrewsbury School UK. She has worked closely with Mr Chali Sophonpanich and Sir David Lees as Shrewsbury International Asia has broadened its portfolio of schools.

Ms Canning-Jones comments: “On behalf of the Governors of both Riverside and City Campus I express our heartfelt gratitude to Sir David for the extraordinary contribution he has made to the Shrewsbury Bangkok schools over the period of 20 years. He has been at the forefront of promoting their development and success and has provided wise and thoughtful counsel. It is fitting that the legacy of such a good friend and supporter is acknowledged in the naming of the superb new Sir David Lees Innovation Centre at Riverside. I am both honoured and delighted to take up the role of Chair of the Governors at Shrewsbury Riverside and City Campus.”

Mr Chali Sophonpanich comments: “The long service of Sir David Lees has left a profound impact on the culture of excellence at our schools. Sir David guided our senior leadership to be constantly vigilant, undertake detailed planning, invest in quality, and focus on people.  His hardworking style, endless lists of insightful questions, monitoring of school progress and far-sighted suggestions for future actions helped make our schools what they are today. With the transition to the next Chair, his legacy lives on in the leadership of Sarah Canning-Jones.”

Mr Chris Seal, Principal of Shrewsbury Riverside comments: “Sir David Lees is a towering figure in the world of school and institutional governance. His work at Shrewsbury leaves a legacy of ethical governance and his attention to detail and high standards benefited the school enormously. Since my appointment in 2017, I have been privileged to work with him and have learned an enormous amount. His wise counsel and warmth have been key features of a kind and supportive relationship. Sir David’s legacy in driving succession planning offers the assurance that in Sarah Canning-Jones we have an outstanding successor.”

The Advisory Board of Governors, consisting of members based both in Thailand and the United Kingdom, provides strategic and fiduciary oversight of our school campuses as centres of excellence. I take this opportunity to thank each Board member for their valuable contribution.

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