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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. Information about its governance is given in the corporate governance statement. Information about its governance is given in our corporate governance statement, on page 29 of our annual financial statement

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 with the aim of promoting 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 that 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.

Sunny Crouch OBE

Hailed as an inspiration to women, Sunny’s long and successful career has spanned business, marketing, education, regeneration, tourism and the voluntary sector. During her distinguished and successful career in regeneration, for over 20 years she was responsible for the leadership, planning and successful delivery of transformational regeneration initiatives in the City of Portsmouth and in London Docklands.

Currently Sunny is the Director responsible for mixed-use regeneration projects in east London, and a Director of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation, Places for People Group and Island Health Trust. She was recently appointed Chair of the Centre of Excellence for Women's Entrepreneurship. 

Sunny’s achievements have earned many awards, including the first London Docklands Businessperson of the Year Award, the Tourism Society Award for Lifetime Achievement and the first SHINE Award for ‘being an inspiration to other women’.

She was honoured with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Civic Award for contributions to Business and the Community and with an OBE for Business, Regeneration and Tourism. Sunny was awarded an honorary doctorate in Business Administration by the University of East London.

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) and then moving 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) and 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 startup in Europe and connecting the dots between Investors, Founders, Corporates and Government, and as a result, has worked in and around technology startups for most of her career. As a Consultant (PwC Consulting), as a Corporate (Microsoft BizSpark /Ventures), as a Startup 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, Startup, Investors and Government + Community) for commercial success.

She currently sits on the Advisory Boards of seven startups 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, and 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 women-founded businesses.

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

Omar Khan

Omar is Runnymede's Director.  Prior to this he was Runnymede's Head of Policy and led the financial inclusion programme.  Omar is a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow.

Omar's other advisory positions include chair of Olmec, chair of the Ethnicity Strand Advisory Group to Understanding Society, chair of the Advisory Group of the Centre of Dynamics of Ethnicity at the University of Manchester, Commissioner on the Financial Inclusion Commission and a member of the 2014 REF assessment, the 2011 Census, and the UK representative (2009-2013) on the European Commission's Socio-economic network of experts.

Omar is the author of a number of books and has published many articles and reports on political theory and British political history.  He has also spoken on topics including multiculturalism, integration, socio-economic disadvantage and positive action. 

Omar completed his DPhil in Political Theory from the University of Oxford, a Masters in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in South Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies. 

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.

Lee McGinty

Lee McGinty is the head of Market Risk Management at Lloyds Banking Group in London. He has worked in Financial Services for more than 20 years for a Hedge Fund, a consulting company and Investment Bank JPMorgan.

His roles have included Research and Strategy, in-business risk management and independent risk. He is on the Risk Committees of LCH.Clearnet

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, and 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, and 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.

Paul Samuel

Paul Samuel is currently COO of Aprexo, a FinTech firm serving fund managers.  Prior to this he worked for 25 years in the finance industry, at Barclays, Kleinwort Benson, Scottish Widows, BlackRock and State Street.  Paul has led businesses and projects in many different fields, including portfolio management, operations, supplier management, premises and facilities, business continuity planning, mergers and merger integration, IT development and HR.

Paul graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Economics and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate of the Institute of Financial Services.  He was previously chair of the Board of Camden Plus Credit Union and led its merger into London Mutual Credit Union. 

Jon Smith

The motivational talks I give include how I conquered communication and the severe lack of confidence that complete dysfluency had given me as a child through to my role as CEO of a London stock market company that had its fair share of ups and downs but was very public in its transactions, respected and ultimately successful.

En route I have worked with some of the biggest sports stars in the world such as Diego Maradona and Lord Sebastian Coe, managed the off pitch activities of the England Football Team for 10 years ultimately creating ‘Team England’ which is the vehicle used by the Football Association and the England Football Team to this date; I was the first commercial representative of the England Cricket Team, once again managing their off field activities for some 6 years leaving the framework for the Test and County Cricket Board to manage. I also managed the commercial affairs of the Welsh National Rugby Team who did not win one game during my tenure!!

I was the first promoter of all the North American sports in the UK (NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL) including the major early NFL games at Wembley – I also owned the London Monarchs (in the World Bowl winning season). I was the promoter of Mikhail Gorbachev’s UK Lecture Tour and a host of other major events in the UK and even occasionally in the USA.

I have also been successfully involved in the record business and theatre business, at one time owning the largest theatre marketing businesses in London and New York.

I am Trustee of the Lee Smith Foundations, Patron of the British Stammering Association and Chair of British Taekwondo and fellow of the Institute of Directors. 2016 saw the publication of my Biography The Deal  - Inside the World of a Super Agent.

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 Docklands supplying office support staff to private and public sector organisations.

Co-opted Members

Michael Nartey

Michael Nartey is Global Head of Cross Asset Distrubution 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 MBA from the London Business School.

David Noyce

David Noyce worked for over twenty years in a senior position at the funder and regulator of higher education in England, HEFCE.  Latterly he was responsible for universities and colleges in London, Kent and the East of England and led HEFCE's relations with the NHS and with specialist institutions. 

Over a long career he directed major expansions of medical and dental education; was a prime mover in the Combined Universities in Cornwall partnership, a transformative project in one of the most deprived areas of the country; and initiated numerous regional projects addressing widening participation, research collaboration and reach out to business and the community. 

David holds a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and is a qualified teacher and community worker.  He currently lives in Devon where he pursues his interests in philosophy, education and Buddhist meditation.  David is also a Governor of Plymouth College of Art and an Honorary Fellow of St George's, University of London.  

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 Moore’s 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) and 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 a 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 is 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 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 and 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.

Mark McDermott (Academic Staff Governor)

Mark is a Professor in the UEL School of Psychology where he has been a full-time lecturer since 1989. He studied undergraduate psychology (1978-1981) at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He is a Qualified Teacher, having completed a postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE) in primary school education in Cardiff in 1982. Thereafter he was awarded a three-year University of Wales PhD scholarship, during which he visited the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA (1984–85), where he learned about psychometrics and questionnaire development. From 1987 to 1989 he trained as an NHS clinical psychologist at the University of Manchester. While there, he carried out research at the Wythenshawe Hospital Regional Cardiothoracic unit. Coming to UEL in 1989, he took up a lectureship in Health Psychology, reflecting an ongoing interest in the biopsychosocial modelling of health and illness. He has published research on rebelliousness, alcohol consumption, heart disease, public understanding of depression, and mortality awareness. From 2003 to 2011, Mark was the UEL School of Psychology Leader of Research, facilitating and managing the activity of academic colleagues within the School. Mark was responsible for co-ordinating the School’s submission to the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise, resulting in a quadrupling of School research income from this source. Thereafter, he prepared the School to engage with its successor, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), chairing the School’s REF Advisory Group. Latterly, in 2014, Mark undertook the role of PhD Programme Leader for the School. He was promoted to Professor in 2008.

Student Members

Elham Peserlay (UELSU President)

Ayodele Ayeni (UELSU Representative)

Ayodele Ayeni is an elected Student Governor of the Board of Governors, University of East London.  He has a BSc in Sociology from University of Ilorin in Nigeria and MSc in Business Management with Human Resource Management from Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, United Kingdom.  His passion for Law prompted him to enrol for LLB-Law at the University of East London after intervening years in journalism as a publisher of an international magazine called Treasure Magazine International.

He had a stint in student leadership in all tertiary institutions he attended, being an elected Students Union Secretary General, University of Ilorin and elected senator of Students Union, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland.

He is a member of the Human Rights Lawyers Association, UK, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and United States Press Agency.

Board Support

Jane Thomas  

Jane is responsible for supporting the Registrar and University Secretary in the efficient operation of governance, working closely and collaborating with senior management and members of the Board of Governors ensuring business, decisions and actions are communicated, co-ordinated and completed.