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Governor Biographies

Track record of achievement

At Middlesex, we're proud to attract a wide range of exceptional individuals who dedicate time, effort and considerable experience in making our University the success it is today. Below, you'll find a short summary of each of our governors.

John AthanasiouJohn image

John Athanasiou is Director of People at HarperCollins Publishers. Reporting to the UK CEO, John is responsible for devising and driving the People strategy with the Exec team. This includes all parts of HR including: Organisational Development, Talent Management, Learning and Development, Resourcing Strategy, Compensation and Benefits, Employee Relations, Industrial Relations, HRIS systems etc.

John’s background includes public sector, a FTSE retailer and global media businesses over the last 20 years. He is a graduate in Finance from London Guildhall University and ‘Made in Middlesex’ with an MA Human Resource Management degree graduating in 1995.  He has a passion for the Arts, Safaris and Hot Yoga.

Ayah Benberna                                                                                  

Ayah Benberna is the Elected President of Middlesex University Students Union, alongside herself and her team of 3 other sabbatical officers they represent over 19,000 students from their learning to their experiences and their welfare. She started this role in July and will continue until July 2019. Ayah is continuing her third year BA Media and Journalism whilst working full time as President.

Over her three years at Middlesex, Ayah has been an active and engaged student. She’s led a number of student groups, including being the first woman President of the Islamic society. She’s also taken up a number of opportunities to intern with the students union, working as both a community placement intern and the following year as a Hate Crime campaigns intern.

Ayah has dedicated her year as SU President to be a representative voice for all students; no matter their subject area, background or future prospects. Engaging students on issues they care about such as; hate crime, the rising costs of being a student and strengthening academic support, is her main priorities.

Tim BlackmanTim Blackman

Professor Tim Blackman was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University from 1 July 2015. Prior to coming to Middlesex he was Acting Vice-Chancellor at The Open University and previously Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Quality.

Professor Blackman has extensive leadership experience in higher education. Having graduated from Durham, he returned to the University to hold positions including the Head of the School of Applied Social Sciences, Director of the Wolfson Research Institute and the Dean of the University's campus in Stockton-On-Tees. He has also served as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Oxford Brookes University.

A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Royal Society of Arts and a Trustee of the Legal Education Foundation, Professor Blackman has also served as an assessor for Social Policy & Social Work in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework exercise.

Elita Eliades

Elita Eliades is the Head of Education Liaison and Outreach at Middlesex and is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for outreach and recruitment, ensuring offerings are current and responsive to government agendas, implementing plans to broaden routes and enhance pathways and leading on initiatives to develop and maintain relationships.

Following graduating with a BA English Studies and an MA in Arts Criticism, she has been working within the FE and HE sectors since 2001 and has been at Middlesex University from 2004. She started her career through working as a Student Ambassador and has been promoting the benefits and rewards of Higher Education since.

In a voluntary capacity Elita has held committee roles in state, independent, and Saturday community schools where she has led on child safeguarding agendas, fundraising and estate planning projects.

Chris Fenton

Chris Fenton, after an early international career in chemicals, has focused on infrastructure and services. Most recently Chris was Chief Executive of the Rail Safety and Standards Board after senior management roles at Amey, Tube Lines and BSI and a non-executive director at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

In education and skills he is currently a non- executive director for JTL, a major apprenticeships provider. He was previously chairman of the National Skills Academy for Rail.

Firoozeh GhaffariFiroozeh Ghaffari

Firoozeh Ghaffari graduated from University College London with a BSc and MSc in Economics. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. She worked in practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London where she gained experience in auditing a wide range of blue chip UK industries. She later worked for four years as group financial controller in Canada, before returning to UK to join Middlesex University in 1996.

Firoozeh is currently the Head of the Accounting and Finance Department in the Business School.  She has served on a number of committees including the Independent Remuneration Panel for Barnet Council, where she was Chair of the Committee. She is currently the Vice-Chair of the Committee of the Departments of Accounting and Finance in UK.  She is also the Chair of the Governing Body at Hendon School, a mixed multi-ethnic secondary school with 1500 students.

Mark Jopling

Mark Jopling is Director, Colleague and Network Services, Lloyds Banking Group; with commercial, operational and security ownership across a number of critical colleague and customer technology platforms.

Mark has also served on the Board of West Middlesex University Hospital, culminating in achieving Foundation Trust status through a merger, and on the Development Board of Warwick Business School.

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis retired from KPMG in March 2016 having worked there for 30 years and been a partner for 20 years. He worked in a number of industry sectors, including Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Retail, Leisure, Engineering, Defence and Business Services. His clients were predominantly large international listed groups. As well as audit, Matt supported clients on many significant transactions, including IPOs, mergers, acquisitions and disposals. Matt is also a trustee of Highgate Cemetery, and of the Weald and Downland Museum in Sussex.

Angela McFarlaneAngela McFarlane

Professor Angela McFarlane is an international authority on technology enhanced learning and a successful author. Her latest volume, Authentic Learning for the Digital Generation, was published by Taylor Francis in English in 2014 and will be published in Spanish in 2017. Formerly Head of the Graduate School of Education at Bristol and Director of Public Engagement and Learning at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Angela has held visiting chairs at University of Bristol, King’s College, London and Universities of Bath and Oslo. Her work in technology enhanced education has given her international recognition as an expert in this area and she regularly contributes to Masters and Doctoral programmes. She has experience of acting as an adviser to the PM and DfE. She led the campaign to establish the newly formed Chartered College of Teaching, secured a new Royal Charter and significant government funding. She remains an adviser to the project.

Professor McFarlane has a BSc and PhD in biological science and started her career as a science teacher. She then moved into the field of ICT in education becoming project director for the Homerton College IT Unit; followed by Director of the Homerton College, Cambridge Centre for Research in Educational ICT and Reader in Educational ICT. She was also Director for Evidence and Practice for Becta, the then government organisation for communication, technology and education.

Marianne Neville-RolfeMarianne Neville-Rolfe

Marianne Neville-Rolfe began her career with the Confederation of British Industry and was the first head of its Brussels office, before joining the Department of Trade and Industry. She later headed the Civil Service College and the Cabinet Office's Top Management Programme. Marianne was the first Director of the Government Office for the North West and later joined the South East England Development Agency as Business and then Strategy Director.

In recent years she has been involved in several small businesses in non-executive roles. She has been a Governor and Chair of the Board at the University of Bolton. She owns a small consultancy and coaching business, P&M Hill Ltd, jointly with her husband.

Geraldine ProudlerGeraldine Proudler

Geraldine Proudler is a senior partner at CMS.

Geraldine was a Director of The Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian, for 11 years from 2002 to 2013, and is currently a Director of The Guardian Foundation and a trustee of English Pen, the writers' organisation.

In May 2016 Geraldine was elected by the Board as the next Chair of Middlesex University.

Paul PughPaul Pugh Profile picture

Paul Pugh has had a highly successful career in the Public Sector, including Chief Executive of the National Police Training Agency, Director of the Regional Government Office for the East of England; and Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Passport Office. He has complemented this with a number of NED positions and currently has a mixed portfolio of non-executive roles and consultancy, including as Strategy Adviser for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, supporting the development of the transformation plans, and capability building, to enable the council to manage a 40% reduction in running costs by 2020. He is a trustee of the Campus Educational Trust.

Martin TaylorMartin Taylor

Martin Taylor has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, having qualified with Pricewaterhouse. He spent his early career in finance and consultancy and then joined Inchcape plc, the automotive distribution and retail Group. At Inchcape, Martin worked in various international roles, including a total of 18 years working and living with his family in Greece and in Belgium. In 2005 he was appointed as CEO (Europe, Africa and South America) based in London and was a member of the Inchcape Group Executive Committee.

From 2009 Martin moved on to build  a 'portfolio career' which included Chair of Pcubed, an international project management consultancy and, since 2014, part time Finance Director of Infinity Health Limited, an early stage health technology business.Martin is also Chair of Befrienders Worldwide, a registered charity, which previously operated as the international division of Samaritans.

Between February 2012 and June 2013, Martin was an independent co-opted member of the Middlesex University audit committee prior to becoming a governor. He was appointed as Deputy Chair in September 2016.

Peter ThomasPeter Thomas

Peter Thomas is a senior fellow at the Institute for Government, where he leads the Institute's research on civil service reform. He has published numerous reports on Civil Service Reform and directed the Institute's research on Civil Service Capabilities in 2013. He is co-author of the recent report Leading Change in the Civil Service.

Away from the Institute he is an expert adviser on delivery, capability, performance and reform. He also specialises in teaching people how to design and facilitate engaging workshops.

Before joining the Institute in 2011, Peter was Director of Strategy and Change at the Ministry of Justice. Previously, he developed and run the Capability Review programme in the Cabinet Office and was interim Head of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit. Earlier in his career he ran public sector research programmes at the Audit Commission and was a senior leader in local government.

Tevin TobunTevin Tobun

Tevin Tobun is the CEO of GV Group (Gate Ventures), a company he founded in 2001. GV Group is a multi-sector business employing hundreds of members of staff across three divisions: food logistics, food distribution and property investment.

GV Group’s Food Transport Division focuses on food logistics within the Education, Social, Healthcare, Retail, and Business &Industry (B&I) sectors and currently delivers over 7 million food and food related items throughout the UK each year. GV continues to grow and currently is viewed as the no. 1 high density micro logistics company in the country.

Tevin is also the Chair of ‘Inspirational You’, a charitable organisation that empowers students, leaders and entrepreneurs. A life Patron of the Springboard Charity, and also a member of the Institute of Directors. In 2013 he was selected as a finalist in the IOD Young Director of the Year.

Prior to founding GV Group, Tevin completed his degree at Middlesex University. He is also a graduate of Cambridge University’s Executive Education programme having studied General Management, Finance and Strategic Performance Management.

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