management board and staff


Gorwel Management Board –
Photo from left to right: Huw Evans, Erica Dow, Prof Russell Deacon, Dr Meirion Morgan (Chair), Dan Roberts (Project Officer) Nick Webb, David Melding AM

Professor Russell Deacon BA (Hons), PGCE (FE), Ph.D, FHEA, FRHistS


Professor Deacon is administrative director for the think tank Gorwel. He is currently also a Visiting Professor in Welsh Governance and Modern Political History at the University of South Wales and lecturer at Coleg Gwent. Prior to this he was at Swansea University and Cardiff Metropolitan University, where he held a number of senior positions in the Business School and Department of Humanities. Professor Deacon has been a civil servant and worked in the Welsh Assembly on business policy creation and latterly as a policy advisor. He was formerly the Director of Policy for the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the period leading up to devolution in 1999. He has also run his own business and serves as a company director. Professor Deacon  serves on a number of civic and public bodies and is currently Chair of the Lloyd George Society. He has written widely on the operation of business and government policy within the UK including: Devolution in Great Britain (2006), Devolution in the United Kingdom (2012) The History of the Welsh Liberals (2014).

Professor Deacon is also a councillor and Vice Chair in the community first area of St James, Caerphilly where he sits on Caerphilly Town Centre Group. He also serves a chair of the Lloyd George Society and holds various specialists posts with the WJEC and Qualifications Wales with respect to the A Level Government and Politics awards.

Prof Russell Deacon is the Administrative Director of Gorwel.
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Dr. Meirion Morgan, Chair, B.Sc. (Cardiff), D.Phil. (Oxon), FRSA
Meirion Morgan was born and raised in the heart of the Cynon Valley (Aberdare), and read Mathematics at the Universities of Cardiff and Oxford. He has over two decades of experience in mathematically-focused technology, principally in the financial services sector, and has worked with a variety of UK and International organisations including UBS, Rabobank, London Clearing House, RBS and Lloyds Banking Group.
His career has also extended to establishing companies, including a structured finance organisation and niche software provider to the physical asset management sector, where clients include a number of the world’s major utilities. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and acts as a mentor to startups as well as giving presentations to participants of the 20Twenty Leadership Program at Cardiff Met. Having started his working life in a WDA-supported technology company in Pontyclun, he is very keen to see similar creative and digital enterprises being established in Wales.
Outside the IT world, Meirion is Trustee of three South Wales based charities (Valeways, Pedal Power and ProMo-Cymru). He lives in the centre of Cardiff and likes red wine and Guinness, though not in the same glass.
In his role as Chair, he undertakes critical analyses of all political parties’ policies and actions, analyses he also makes through his contributions to the website Business News Wales.
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Huw Evans


Huw lectures in law at Cardiff Metropolitan University but before that practiced as a solicitor working in private practice, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Welsh Office and the National Assembly for Wales. While at the Welsh Office he was a member of the legal team responsible for the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 which established the current local government structure in Wales. After that he was a member of the legal team responsible for the Government of Wales Act 1998 which established the National Assembly for Wales; he was also involved in that legislation’s implementation and was responsible for drafting the delegated legislation for the first National Assembly elections.
Experience as a government lawyer in policy making and the legislative process has fostered a keen interest in devolution and constitutional law. That interest is not confined to Wales – for example, to Catalunya and Galiza and their relationship with the Spanish state. That study of comparative contexts can also inform debate and thinking about Wales.
Huw also has interest in consumer law, enforcement & regulation and health & social care law. He is a PhD candidate and his thesis concerns the Trading Standards service and consumer protection in Wales. He is a law examiner for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. He continues to be a solicitor but is currently non-practicing.
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David Melding AM


David Melding has been a member of the National Assembly for Wales since its creation in 1999. He is currently the President of Gorwel. Before entering politics David worked in the voluntary (not for profit) sector and was the Welsh director of a major UK campaigning charity. David was educated at Cardiff University (BscEcon in politics) and the College of William and Mary, Virginia, USA (MA in government).

He was appointed Deputy Presiding Officer of the National Assembly in 2011. Although his Party, the Conservatives, initially opposed the establishment of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, David has argued the case for a federal Britain as the best way forward – a major shift in Conservative thinking which is now gaining ground. He is the author of ‘Will Britain Survive Beyond 2020?’

David has chaired several committees in the National Assembly: Standards of Conduct (2000-2002), Health and Social Services (2003-2006) Legislation (2006-2007) and the Audit Committee (2007-2009). When Director of Policy, Welsh Conservative Group, David was responsible for producing the Assembly Manifestos in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

Some of David’s other policy interests are children’s issues (especially Looked After Children), social enterprises and co-operatives, and mental health. He is also a keen campaigner on heritage and the built environment and takes a particular interest in the Victorian-Edwardian architecture of Cardiff.

Outside the Assembly, David enjoys walking, swimming and cycling.


Dr Axel Kaehne (FHEA)


Axel was born in Berlin (Germany) and studied at the Free University of Berlin and at the University of Aberdeen. In 1996 he moved to South Wales where he took up a position at the School of Medicine at Cardiff University. Since April 2013 he works as a Senior Research Fellow at Edge Hill University and at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. He has published widely on political issues and health and social care.
Axel is currently Vice Chair of Gorwel.

Nick Webb


Nicolas is Director of Gorse Public Relations. He is a former Parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party and also stood in the inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner elections. He is a trustee of the Welsh Refugee Council.
Nick has previously served as Chairman of Newport Civic Society and as a member of the marketing sub-committee of the Newport Now Business Improvement District. He has contributed articles to think tanks and political publications as well as taken part in television and radio debates.

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Dr Trefor Lewis
Senior Economist (not a board member) 
Dr Trefor Lewis is a retired academic with business experience in the US and UK.  Whilst head of the MBA at Cardiff Metropolitan University he led the largest international MBA programme in the UK. He is an Honorary Fellow of Cardiff Metropolitan University and serves as an economic advisor to Gorwel. Dr Lewis has published widely both for academic and Gorwel purposes. He is currently working on projects related to creativity and innovation.
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Erica Dow
Board Member for Arts and Culture 
Erica studied English and History at Swansea University. She has had a varied career in education from schools to university teaching and lecturing at Cardiff Metropolitan University and College Gwent. Erica’s main field is English literature but she has also worked in theatre and script writing. She has had extensive teaching experience overseas including the USA, China and Germany. Her main role on the board concerns the development of talks and research projects on culture and the arts.

Gorwel Staff

Director – Professor Russell Deacon  

See management board profile above

Daniel Roberts

Research and Projects Officer

Daniel is the Research and Projects Officer at Gorwel, based at the Temple of Peace in Cathays, Cardiff. He is also an MPhil/PhD candidate at Swansea University, where he is researching the entrepreneurship of EU migrants to the south Wales valleys and its links to economic development.

Dan graduated from Cardiff University in 2015, with a BA in History and Economics. He spent 6 months in Brussels working for the European Free Alliance in the European Parliament, before returning to Wales to work on the 2016 Welsh Assembly Elections and the EU Referendum. He then worked as the co-ordinator of the Wise Wales project.