The SUMS Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Rob Parsley as its new Head of Marketing and Communications. Rob adds valuable expertise in content strategy, stakeholder engagement, behavioural insights, and product development. His appointment is aligned with the SUMS Group’s ambitious plans for growth as it seeks to further support the needs of its members and clients across the Higher Education sector.

Rob combines his background in digital marketing with over 13 years’ experience across the higher education, technology, and not-for-profit sectors. He joins from Teach First, the UK’s biggest education charity, where he managed brand, product and B2B marketing with schools since 2016. In that time, Rob played a critical role in the charity’s brand and business development; supporting an award-winning rebrand, and diversifying its portfolio of programmes for schools serving disadvantaged communities.

A values-driven leader, his own voluntary experiences as an English teacher within Cambodian young offender institutions inspired Rob to lend his expertise as a founding trustee and non-executive director for The Key Charity Bristol, which will train and rehabilitate ex-offenders through meaningful employment.

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Rob has international marketing experience with edtech company 3P Learning, developing strategic overseas partnerships, with a particular focus on the Middle East. With previous roles in student admissions, marketing, widening participation and external relations at the universities of Bristol and Exeter, Rob brings crucial understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing some of our member institutions.

Joel Arber, SUMS Group Managing Director, said: “We are thrilled that Rob has joined SUMS Group to drive forward our Marketing and Communications functions. His positive track record for innovative brand marketing, business development, and wealth of experience throughout the sector are very welcome additions to the team as the demand for our services continues to grow year on year. SUMS used to be a well-kept secret. We’ve done much to raise our profile in recent years, almost doubling the size of our membership. In a highly competitive recruitment process, Rob’s clear passion for higher education and his vision for how marketing can help the next stage of our journey really stood out. We’re very excited to have him on board.”

Introducing himself, Rob said: “I’m pleased to be back where it all started for me in higher education, and I’m delighted to join SUMS Group alongside colleagues with expertise in so many disciplines. The sector is facing a wide range of challenges that SUMS can help them with, so I’m looking forward to working in partnership with our members as they seek to optimise their effectiveness, the value they deliver for their students, stakeholders and communities, and maintain the UK’s position as an international powerhouse of research, learning and responsible procurement.”

Rob’s appointment in January 2023 builds on recent investment in the core teams of both SUPC and SUMS Consulting. The SUMS Group is committed to recruiting high-calibre talent with the expertise, commercial awareness, and skills to support its members through the unprecedented challenges faced by the sector.

To find out more about how SUMS Group can support your institution, or to contact Rob or any other member of the team, email

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