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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.

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!


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, 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.

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

Co-opted Members

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.

(Academic Staff Governor)

Student Members

Elham Peserlay (UELSU President)

(UELSU Representative)

Board Support

Jane Thomas (University Governance Officer) 

Jane is responsible for supporting the  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.