After leaving Cambridge University with an MA in Modern and Medieval Languages, Nigel chose to pursue an accountancy qualification. He quickly established his credentials with Brooke Bond Oxo, winning two national prizes with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). After a number of early promotions he was given a role as Company Accountant for a division of Brooke Bond Oxo based in the West Country.
Following a year with Standard Telephone and Cable, Nigel joined the newly formed Wessex Water Authority and held a number of senior financial management positions. When Wessex Water was privatised he took the public option rather than the more lucrative private one and sought a position in the newly formed National Rivers Authority. He joined as Regional General Manager (Wessex), and two years later was promoted to the position of Director of Finance.
When the Environment Agency was created he was appointed as Director of Finance, a role that he continued in for the next 14 years, until his planned retirement at the end of October 2009.
From 1999 until 2011 he was also a board member of the international development charity, WaterAid. During his tenure here he was the Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Nominations Committee.
He was appointed to the board of Natural England for a three-year term from 1 June 2011 and took over as chair of the audit and risk assurance committee shortly afterwards. Nigel was appointed for a second term until 31 May 2018. He is chair of the audit and risk assurance committee and the remuneration committee.
His portfolio of other appointments currently comprises:
- Natural Resources Wales: board member and ARC Chair
- Marine Management Organisation: board member
- JNCC: member of ARC
- Animal & Plant Health Agency: member of ARC
- Defra: member of ARC
Nigel supports a number of charitable causes by undertaking pro bono consultancy work, as well as by raising funds through singing and entertaining. He is also a Trustee and Treasurer of Excellent Development, an overseas development charity.
Nigel was awarded the CBE for services to the environment in 2003.