Nick Ephgrave QPM became Director of the SFO on 25 September 2023.
Nick has been a public servant for over 30 years and has over a decade of experience leading large law enforcement organisations. He was previously Chief Constable of Surrey Police before he was appointed as Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police Service in 2019. In that role, Nick helped develop and deliver the strategic objectives of one of the world’s largest law enforcement organisations. Nick worked with UK and international partners to support the service’s investigations, strengthen its capabilities and deliver its mission of supporting victims of crime and protecting the UK public.
Nick also spent over four years on the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). Nick chaired the Criminal Justice Co-ordination Committee where he helped manage the UK nationwide development of professional practices, response to new legislation and adoption of new technology in the fight against crime.
Chair of the Board
Claire Bassett has held senior positions across the public sector, many with a focus on the criminal justice system. She was Deputy Director General at the Independent Office for Police Conduct until May of this year and has previously held executive posts at the Department for International Trade, the Electoral Commission, the Parole Board for England and Wales and the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Claire is also current vice-chair and trustee at the Internet Watch Foundation, an organisation that works within the UK and internationally to make the internet safer.
Sanjay Bhandari had a 29 year career in professional services. He spent the first 15 years of his career as a lawyer specialising in fraud and white collar crime at Herbert Smith Freehills and Baker McKenzie. He then had a number of leadership roles in forensic technology, compliance and innovation at KPMG and EY, where he was a Partner for 12 years before taking up a portfolio career as an independent board member, adviser and charity trustee.
Sanjay is also an active and recognised leader of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategies. He is a member of the government sponsored Parker review on ethnicity on UK Boards and is Chair of Kick It Out, English footballs leading equality and inclusion charity.
Magnus Falk has spent most of his career developing ways to exploit technology to improve business performance, first at Accenture and later at Credit Suisse, where his last role was Managing Director and Chief Information Officer for EMEA countries. He served as deputy Chief Technology Officer to the UK Government in 2014-15. More recently he has served on the boards of a bank and a data centre provider as well as being a Senior Advisor to the Financial Conduct Authority. He is currently a CIO advisor at Zoom.
James Thomson has held senior leadership positions across the private and public sectors and is currently chief executive of MJ Gleeson plc. He is also chair of the City of London Police Authority Board, chair of the National Cyber Resilience Centre Group and a board member for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. He is a councillor at the City of London Corporation, a board member of Bridge House Estates Trust and a governor at the City of London School. James is a chartered accountant and spent his earlier career in financial services with PwC, HSBC and Deutsche Bank.
Declaration of interests for Non-Executive Directors are available in the transparency section.
Chief Capability Officer
Michelle Crotty joined the SFO on 10 August 2020. After training as a criminal solicitor in London, Michelle became a partner in Bullivant & Partners, undertaking criminal defence work ranging from murders to white collar fraud. Following this, she joined the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Officer, specialising in asset freezing, forfeiture and confiscation work, before joining the Sentencing Council for England and Wales in 2009, taking leadership of the team in 2010. Here, she delivered a range of guidelines including fraud, bribery and money laundering. Michelle moved to the Attorney General’s Office in 2014 to lead its criminal team and was promoted in 2015 to Director, with additional responsibility for constitutional, public and international law alongside sponsorship of the CPS and the SFO. Prior to joining the SFO, Michelle was Director of Strategy at the NCA, leading on cross-Whitehall engagement, performance reporting, assurance & risk and internal and external communications.
Chief Operating Officer
Abigail Howarth joined the SFO on 16 January 2023. Abi previously worked as Director of Operations at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) between 2018 and 2023, and prior to that acted as the Assistant Director for Operations at the Disclosure and Barring Service, between 2014 and 2018.
Sara Lawson KC was appointed General Counsel of the SFO as of 1 May 2019. Prior to this she was a barrister based at Red Lion Chambers and had extensive experience prosecuting criminal and regulatory matters on behalf of the government, including the Serious Fraud Office. Before taking Silk in 2017, Sara was Standing Counsel for the Insolvency Service and between 2012 to 2019 was a member of the Government Regulatory A List, prosecuting cases for the Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Rail & Road, and the Environment Agency.