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Board of Governors

Welcome to the Board of Governors page. Here you can find information about the Board of Governors and its committees, and news about the work that Governors are doing on behalf of UEL.

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The University of East London is a higher education corporation as defined under the Education Reform Act 1988. The powers of higher education corporations are defined by that act and include the power to provide higher and further education and to carry out research. The University of East London is an exempt charity under the terms of the Charities Act 2011.

Independent Members

Geoff Thompson MBE FRSA DL (Chair of the Board)

Geoff was the world heavyweight karate champion and world team karate champion between 1982 and 1986 and won more than 50 national and international titles during a distinguished sporting career.

Following his retirement from competitive sport, he established himself as an influential sports politician and administrator, taking on numerous public and private sector appointments to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion at all levels of society.

He is the Founder and Executive Chair of the Youth Charter, a UK-based international charity and United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation. The charity uses the ethics of sport and artistic excellence to tackle the problems of educational non-attainment, health inequality, anti-social behaviour and crime in some of Britain’s most troubled communities.

His public and private sector appointments including chairing Sport England's Advisory Group on Racial Equality in Sport and serving as a member of its grant assessment panel.

Among other appointments, he has been a director of the Sports Council Trust Company, a board member of the New Opportunities Fund, an honorary fellow of the former Institute of Leisure, Amenities and Management, fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and independent assessor for the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

In 1995, Geoff was appointed an MBE for his services to sport.

Anulika Ajufo

With over a decade of experience in the financial markets, Anulika has worked at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Carlyle Group and most recently, as an Investment Principal at George Soros’ Impact Investment Fund. There she focused on issues of Economic Justice and Equity through increasing the voice of marginalised and vulnerable communities globally.

Anulika is passionate about Finance and Economic Development and the need to promote equity and social justice in the world's poorest countries. She runs a not-for-profit initiative—The Sequoia Platform—which focuses on education and empowering marginalised youth through skills development, mentoring, and work placements with the support of strong regional and international partnerships.

Anulika has an MEng in Medical Engineering from Queen Mary University of London and an MSc in Law and Finance from the University of Oxford.

Sally Dyson

Sally Dyson is the founder and director of Firm Sense Limited, a specialist consultancy enhancing the personal and organisational effectiveness of lawyers and other professionals. Sally’s expertise in the professional services arena derives from over a decade working as a lawyer.  Sally qualified as a solicitor and practised at Slaughter and May before joining the in-house legal team at Reuters Group PLC (now Thomson Reuters). She then moved to Travelex Group Limited where she was first Senior Counsel and then Head of Group Compliance and Regulation.

Sally holds an MA in law from Cambridge University; a diploma in UK compliance from the International Compliance Association; an executive coaching qualification accredited by the Association for Coaching; and registration with the British Psychological Society to conduct ability and psychometric assessments.

Sally is the author of two commercially published business books for lawyers and is currently writing a third.

Outside the office, Sally is a Liveryman of the Haberdashers’ Company (one of the City of London’s Great Twelve Livery companies, now focusing on charitable work and education). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a charitable network dedicated to shaping the future through ideas and action.

John Garwood

John Garwood qualified as a solicitor in 1982.  Since 1985 he has had extensive corporate governance and legal experience with APV plc, Cadbury Schweppes plc, Smith New Court plc and Caspian Securities Limited and has sat in Audit and other Board committees for over 25 years.  Since 1999 he has been Group Company Secretary of Canary Wharf Group plc experiencing full London Stock Exchange Listing, AIM listing and two takeovers.  He became a Managing Director of Canary Wharf Group plc in 2015 and is responsible for the Internal Control/Audit, Insurance, Pensions, Corporate Legal and Corporate PR functions.

Since 2004 John has been Chair of the Tower Hamlets Further Education Trust which provides support for vocationally-related further education for residents of Tower Hamlets.  John is also Chair of the Ocean Estate Bursary Scheme which supports residents of the Ocean Estate seeking support for University education and 100 club member of the East End Community Foundation.

Bindi Karia

Bindi is incredibly passionate about all things start-up in Europe and connecting the dots between investors, founders, corporates, and government. As a result, she has worked in and around technology start-ups for most of her career. She has worked as a Consultant (PwC Consulting), as a Corporate (Microsoft BizSpark /Ventures), as a Start-up employee (Trayport), as an Advisor (Startup Europe, Startup Weekend Europe, Tech London Advocates), as a Connector (GQ UK, the IoD and Evening Standard have all recognised this) and until recently, as their Banker (Silicon Valley Bank). The entrepreneurs have influenced her so greatly over the years, that she is building a Boutique Advisory Firm, focused on advising and connecting across four core Innovation pillars (Corporate, Start-up, Investors and Government and Community) for commercial success.

She currently sits on the Advisory Boards of seven start-ups and one Venture Debt fund, as well as Digital Advisory Board of Shop Direct plc (£1.9bn t/o business), the Advisory Boards of European Innovation Council, Startup Europe (EU), Tech London Advocates, Ambassador for Innovate Finance. She has just finished a term as trustee for Techstars Startup Weekend Europe.
She is a strong advocate for promoting Women in Tech, and as such, seven of her Advisory Board roles are for female-founded businesses.

Bindi was born in the UK, raised in Canada, her entire family is from Kenya, but the lure of Europe, especially London, brought her back and kept her there!

Mottie Kessler MBE

Mottie Kessler is Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings ltd, a global group of companies he founded in 2004.  From a local UK base the group now spans from Brazil to China with significant UK and European presence, exporting to 90 countries. 2M is actively engaging young people, encouraging them to consider careers in STEM-related industries with a focus on chemistry and chemical engineering.
Educated as a Chemical Engineer which was followed by business studies in industrial management and organisational culture, Mottie is keen on supporting STEM education and  making sure the UK remains a strong science base exporting globally. Prior to building 2M Holdings, Mottie worked in a multinational corporation and was CEO of a publicly traded company.
Mottie is active in YPO (Young Presidents Organization) and was Chairman of the London Gold Chapter. Mottie is also engaged with supporting London Business School Entrepreneurs Summer School.
Mottie won EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the IOD Director of the Year award. Motte is currently Chairman of the CBA (UK Chemical Business Association). He was made MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2016 for his contribution to growing export and engaging young people in STEM.

Tommy MacDonnell

Tommy is a European Regional Director with Blue Hive, a global integrated marketing and communications company. The company is part of WPP Plc – the world’s largest marketing group. He also worked with Saatchi & Saatchi International helping them expand and build their network in the Middle East.

He has a particular interest in Reputation Management in the digital age and is seeking to build reputation models that reflects the complexity and challenges organisations face. Along with this he is passionate about creating Marketing Effectiveness models that tangibly measure outputs and value for money.

He is an economics and administration graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and post graduate of the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium.

Anthony Mullee

Tony Mullee worked for British Telecom for most of his career. He helped to steer BT through major change programmes that turned the business into a commercial company operating in a competitive and regulated environment. He was instrumental in the successful build and implementation of four major European joint venture companies. On leaving BT in 2000, Tony became the CEO of Guernsey Telecoms and then moved to City University, London as Director of Marketing, Business Development and Recruitment. In 2004 he established his own consultancy company specialising in strategy, objectives, corporate governance, marketing, competition, and business process.

Tony has lectured at Essex University and City University on their MBA programmes, at Singapore Telecommunications Academy, and on a number of British Telecom management programmes. He also chaired a two-year EEC (EU) study commission on telecommunications quality of service.

Tony has an MBA and an MSc in Telecommunications Management. He is a Member of the British Institute of Management, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors and a Freeman of the City of London.

He is currently Chief Executive of the Sir John Cass Foundation, which was founded in 1748 and supports education for young people under the age of 25 in London through its grants programmes to individuals, schools, universities and organisations.

Michael Nartey

Michael Nartey is Global Head of Cross Asset Distribution at Barclays' Investment Bank, based in London.  Michael joined Barclays in 2011 and has held a number of senior distribution roles within the Credit, Commodities and Equities businesses at the bank.

Prior to Barclays, he was at Goldman Sachs, where he spent 15 years and held a variety of roles within European Sales.

Michael is a qualified Chartered Accountant (England and Wales), holds a BA (Hons) Accounting degree from the Polytechnic of North London and an MBD from the London Business School.

Gary Stewart

Gary is the Managing Director of Wayra UK.  He graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and received his law degree from Yale Law School.  After working at a series of white-shoe law firms, he co-founded a start-up that raised over €4 million in funding before being sold.  Gary was previously an associate professor at IE Business School and is an advisor to the Amos Bursary. 

Janette Withey

Janette has a career spanning 40 years in the recruitment industry from corporate to SME with an emphasis on turning around failing business to operational successes.  She has a close relationship with the business community and acts as a business mentor for the recruitment industry and small business.  Janette is Managing Director of her own recruitment business based in the Docklands, supplying office support staff to private and public sector organisations.

Staff Members

Solomon Alexis (Academic Staff Governor)

Solomon has been in academia for more than 30 years, teaching students at all levels (ages 10 – 60+). He has experience of the academic landscape of the UK, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

He joined UEL as a lecturer in 2000 teaching mainly computing-related modules to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Solomon has served in various roles at UEL: module leader, programme leader, field leader, director of collaborative provisions, director of student experience, leader in teaching and learning and leader in equality and diversity. Currently as a principal lecturer, he leads and directs his college academic collaborative initiatives, student experience, and international recruitment. He is also an external examiner at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Manchester University, Salford University, and Liverpool John Moores University. Over the years Solomon has provided consultancies in big data analysis, predictive technologies, internet services, curriculum development, and technology in education to NGOs, international educational institutions and governments.

In the last few years, Solomon has led several Student Experience projects including the NSS project in the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering (ACE). He is pleased to see that students in the school have continued to rate the academic provisions as positive. He has also been involved in several TNE projects in Germany, Russia, China, and Malaysia.

Prior to UEL, Solomon worked for the Government of Saint Lucia as a qualified teacher for nearly 20 years. He also worked as an Information Security Analyst at British Airways. He has an undergraduate degree in Computing (first class), a postgraduate certificate in Teacher Education and Educational Administration and a postgraduate degree in Internet Engineering (distinction). He is also a member of several professional organisations (BCS, ACM, CMI). This is in addition to several CPD qualifications.

Outside of the work scene, Solomon is actively engaged with a number of voluntary community organisations, especially within the West Indian diaspora. His particular interests lie in community projects fundraising, building community cohesion, and local government.

Amy Butterworth-Fernandes

Amy was appointed as UEL’s Sustainability Manager in April 2015, with the responsibility of managing the sustainability team, developing and delivering a sustainability strategy and administering the university’s externally accredited environmental management system. Amy has a BSc (first class) with honours in Zoology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and an MSc (distinction) in Environmental Systems Engineering from University College London. Amy has Practitioner membership with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and previous experience of working and volunteering in further education, local government and the not-for-profit sector. Amy’s work is award-winning and she has succeeded in obtaining four externally recognised awards, the latest of which was for UEL. The sustainability team collected the national silver Green Apple Award (HE sector) at the House of Commons in November 2016, which recognised an innovative programme of engaging staff and the local community in environmental best practice. Amy was personally recognised for her achievements and was presented with the Education Sector Sustainability Star of the Year award in 2011, by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges. Her most recent achievement was being a finalist in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Entrepreneur Competition in 2017.

Amy is trained in dance, sailing, skiing and open water diving, she is bilingual and a tri-national. From working in the Amazon rainforest with no running water or electricity to hosting in an elite ski resort in the French Alps, her real passion continues to be the wonders of the world. Amy has been lucky enough to travel to 32 countries and the adventure continues.

Sunitha Narendran (Academic Staff Governor)

Sunitha is Professor and Head, Department of Business at the University of East London. She holds a BA in Psychology, an MA in Human Resource Management, an MSc by Research in Management and a PhD in Occupational Psychology. In recognition of her contribution to HRM and Occupational Psychology, she holds an Academic Fellowship of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and an Associate Fellowship of the BPS (British Psychological Society). She is also a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of Arts; Manufacturing and Commerce) and a Fellow of the CMI (Chartered Management Institute). Sunitha has recently been awarded a visiting Professorship at the Guangdong University of Economics and Finance (GDUFE), China. 
Sunitha’s academic interests and experience is within the field of Organisational Behaviour. Her research focuses on the psychology of decision making and contextualised individual differences. She is also interested in Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Sunitha has consulted on projects related to the provision of Continuing Professional Development (CPD); leadership and responsible management here in the UK as well as South and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining UEL, she held posts at Kingston University, National University of Singapore, MARA in Malaysia and the University of Bangalore, India.  Before moving into academia, Sunitha worked as an HR practitioner gaining MNC experience that she believes has contributed to her teaching, research and consultancy in Organisational Behaviour.

Student Members

Elham Peserlay (UELSU President)

Elham Peserlay has been the President of the Students' Union since 2017, he has obtained the highest recorded vote of any elected officer in the history of UELSU elections. He completed his LLB Law degree in 2016 as well as undertaking a Master's degree in International Law in 2017. During his tenure in office Elham, has successfully campaigned to achieve a multifaith prayer room in University Square Stratford, and also managed to get free printing for all students. Elham as the president of the Students' Union has also chaired Board of Trustees and as well as the Union’s Leadership committee.  Elham was also part of the new transformation consultation which was rolled out by UEL in 2017. Elham Peserlay is passionate about social justice as well as on widening participation, he particularly champions the BAME agenda and is keen to see how universities in the UK help to tackle the BAME student attainment gap.

Krunesh Patel (UELSU Representative)

As an international student from India, I embarked on a journey at UEL in 2014, doing my undergraduate in BSc Computer Networks, to be followed by MSc Computer Science. Throughout my time at the University, I have been an active member of the UEL community, either through active involvement in the UEL Cricket Club, volunteering with the Students’ Union or representing UEL students as a delegate at the National Union of Students’ (NUS) National Conference in 2016. I am delighted to have been elected as the Student Governor at UEL and look forward getting involved in the board's business, always in the best interest of our institution and our key stakeholders, the students of UEL.

Board Support

Jane Thomas (Governance Manager) 

Jane is responsible for maintaining an overview of the business conducted at all Board and Standing Committee meetings and works directly with the University Secretary to support high-quality and fit-for-purpose university governance.