John Sykes

Co-Founder & Executive Vice President North America, INTO University Partnerships


John has over 20 years’ experience in the higher education sector and has a strong background in corporate finance. As one of INTO’s founding directors, John has been a lynch-pin in the development of every Joint Venture. After graduating from Brighton University, John joined leading accounting firm KPMG, where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant and gained significant experience in the corporate finance arena. John then joined a corporate finance practice in Sussex where he led many small- and medium-sized investments in London and the South East, eventually becoming a partner. From 1995 to 2003, John was Finance Director of Study Group, where he formed a strong working relationship with founder Andrew Colin and played an instrumental role in growing the business, overseeing its acquisition by The Daily Mail Group in 1999, and helping to expand operations into Australia, the USA and Canada.
In 2006 John and Andrew established INTO University Partnerships. John has been a Director and Board Member of the company since inception. In 2012, John led a private placement process culminating in an equity investment from Leeds Equity Partners of £66 million in the group for a 25 per cent stake in the business. This investment completed the first stage of INTO’s funding plans, which are aimed at providing universities with access to significant external capital to fund innovation and capacity building in the higher education sector. John now focuses on driving business development and supporting operational leadership in order to guide the strategic direction of the company. He attributes INTO’s extraordinary growth trajectory and reputation for academic excellence to robust management, ongoing and substantial investment in learning centres, and a superior global sales and marketing infrastructure.
When he is not travelling to meet new partner institutions or visit INTO’s operations around the world, John lives in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with his wife Denise and three children Michael, George and Olivia.