Babington announces third CEO in less than a year

COO promoted after 'turnaround specialist' resigns with immediate effect

COO promoted after 'turnaround specialist' resigns with immediate effect

One of England’s largest apprenticeship providers has unveiled a new chief executive – its third in less than a year.

Babington Business College announced on Thursday that Mark Basham, a “turnaround specialist” who was appointed in June 2023, has resigned with immediate effect for “personal reasons”.

Basham was the permanent successor to David Marsh who suddenly left the company in May 2023 after almost five years at the helm, also for “personal reasons”.

Jen Bramley (pictured), who has been the firm’s chief operating officer for the past four years, will now take over chief executive.

Marsh’s departure came months after Babington was sold by RJD Partners in December 2022 to Unigestion, a Switzerland-based private equity firm.

Babington’s latest accounts for the year ending July 2022 show £26.3 million turnover, similar to the previous year, but profit of £743,000 which dived from almost £3.5 million in 2021.

A month after Basham joined Babington, the company announced that around 120 jobs were at risk in a “strategic realignment”. It then scrapped its adult education budget portfolio, including its digital skills bootcamps and sector work academy programme (SWAP) courses, as well as its apprenticeships training offer in the property, financial services and retail sectors.

The organisation has now switched focus to apprenticeships, professional qualifications and commercial courses areas of accountancy, HR, leadership, data, and business. 

Ofsted visited Babington in December and published a ‘good’ judgment in January 2024. The company had 4,300 apprentices placed with 800 employers at the time of the visit.

Bramley has worked in the education and training sector for 15 years. She joined Babington in 2018 as executive director of customer engagement and was promoted to COO in 2020.

She said: “I am proud to be taking on broader leadership of this exceptional business as we continue to deliver on our purpose of developing better futures for individuals, organisations, and society as a whole.

“In recent months we have made bold choices to do what is right for the business, and for all our valued customers, learners, and colleagues. We have a clear strategy and an unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality, effective learning programmes that support meaningful organisational and personal outcomes.”

Babington chair Mike Kinski said: “We are grateful to Mark for guiding our strategic initiatives and wish him and his family well. Jen has the confidence of her team and our clients to build on Babington’s strengths and I look forward to supporting her and the wider executive team as they work to achieve the Company’s future goals.” 

Basham added: “As a new leadership team we have made great progress implementing the agreed strategic realignment over the past six months, culminating in the terrific report from Ofsted. As such, given my personal circumstances, it is a good time for me to step back and leave the Company in Jen’s very capable hands. I am looking forward to committing more time to other portfolio interests. I wish the whole Babington team every success for the future.” 

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