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Advisory Board

A distinguished group of experts help raise our profile, shape our programmes, and maintain our excellence.

Guided by the people who know business best

The Advisory Board is made up of senior executives and academics from a corporate background whose close connections help ensure our graduates are prepared for the real world of business.

The members of the Advisory Board play a vital role in the School’s strategic direction, offering independent guidance on the key issues that affect the School, its relationships and its development. The Board members’ particular areas of expertise mean the School benefits from having spokespeople in a variety of fields – from business and academia to government and the voluntary sector.

With this group of experts to challenge and support us, we can be confident that our leading-edge programmes remain internationally relevant and that we can continue to grow as a prestigious and respected institution.


David Arkless

Founder and Chairman, ArkLight Consulting and The Future Work Consortium

Founder and Chairman of the Arklight Group, a global human capital management consultancy and former President of Manpower, David is an expert on labour market trends and has widespread experience of helping countries and major corporations develop their labour markets. 

He grew up in Durham and studied at Durham University, INSEAD, IMD and the San Jose College of Business. He is a supporter of the Global Citizenship Programme at Ustinov College and student opportunities at Durham University Business School. His current business interests are in the field of digital analytics.

William Chan

Founder & VP, United Information Technology Co Ltd

Based in Hong Kong, William, who has an MBA from Durham, has 20+ years’ experience in sales and marketing and management in the IT industry.

William is VP and Founder of a leading cloud storage products and solutions provider in China and is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. 

Robert Court

Former Global Head of Real Estate and Infrastructure at Deutsche Bank (Private Wealth Management)

Robert co-chairs the Development Board of the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University and was a member of the University’s governing Council from 2002 to 2011. He is a director of The Glanmore Property Fund Limited, LURI 5 UK Property Fund Plc, and Hunton Powerboats Limited.

A qualified Chartered Surveyor, Robert worked for both British Airways and private practice, becoming a Fellow of the RICS in 1985. The practice was sold to General Accident in 1987 and during the late 1990s Robert mounted a management buyout returning the business to private practice, specialising in Commercial Real Estate Fund Management.

In 2004 Tilney Group Limited (a major asset management operation) acquired the business and Robert became a director of the Group. The business was sold to Deutsche Bank in 2006 and Robert became a Managing Director of the Bank and the Global Head of Real Estate and Infrastructure within the Private Wealth Management Division, he retired from the Bank in December 2009.

David Croisdale-Appleby

Chairman and Board Director of a wide range of public and voluntary sector organisations

David is Chairman of Skills for Care, Skills for Care and Development, Hft, and DementiaUK, and is actively involved in policy formulation in health and social care.

At the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) David was Chair of the Programme Development Group for Long-term Sickness and Incapacity (2009), Chair of the Topic Expert Group for Care of People with Dementia (2013), and is Special Advisor on Healthcare of the Elderly. He is a long-standing General Medical Council Visitor for Medical Education, and an advisor to the Medical Research Council. He was recently appointed by the government to conduct an Independent Review into Social Work Education.

David is the Honorary Ambassador for the UK for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, the former South African President’s Legacy Project - the first specialist Paediatric Hospital to serve the children of South Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community.

David was awarded the OBE for his work for social justice, and holds Honorary Degrees from a number of Universities for his work in health and social policy.

Robin Gilchrist

Former Vice President Sales Asia, Middle East and Africa, Alcatel-Lucent

Robin is an Honorary Professor at the Business School, Chairman of the MBA Advisory Board and an advisor to the University’s Advisory Board. With lecturing experience on MBA programmes in the UK, Australia, Italy and the USA, he presents on the topics of Technology Innovation, and Business Strategy and Strategic Planning at Durham.

Robin has over 34 years’ experience as a senior corporate executive, most recently in global telecommunications as Sales VP for Emerging Markets for Alcatel-Lucent, a leading International Equipment Solutions supplier. Previously he worked for a UK mobile operator driving major infrastructure roll-out programmes and managing their purchasing/supplier strategies. He has in excess of 17 years’ experience in this sector.

He has significant experience managing large and complex technology development programmes with multiple suppliers and extensive consulting practice experience gained working within international consultancy practices in the UK and USA. His experience covers a wide range of Plc and private corporations in manufacturing, finance, insurance, motor industry, retail, IT/IS and the public sector.

He is a former President and Board member of a leading IT company’s International User Group and was responsible for driving their business strategy and turnaround during the period 1998 to 2004.

Robin also owns a Scuba Diving company and is a PADI Instructor with over 12 years’ diving expertise.

John Howe

Non-Executive Director, Thales UK

After a successful civil service career in the Ministry of Defence, ending as Deputy Chief Executive of the Defence Procurement Agency, John joined the international electronics group Thales UK in 2000, retiring from his executive position as Vice Chairman in 2009. He remains a member of the Thales UK Advisory Board.

John has held a wide variety of positions on both the management and policy sides of the MOD, including a spell in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s; secondment to the FCO as Counsellor in the UK Delegation to NATO in the early 1980s; founding Head of the Defence Arms Control Unit; a spell as Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary George Younger; and Personnel Director.

Educated at Shrewsbury School and Balliol College, Oxford, John is also a trustee of an educational charity.

Susan Johnson

Chief Executive at County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service

Susan was the first woman and non-uniformed chief executive to lead a Fire and Rescue Service in the United Kingdom. With a budget of over £30million and almost 700 employees she is responsible for the delivery of emergency response, legislative fire safety, and community safety to over half a million residents in County Durham and Darlington.

Susan has spent 14 years in national and international marketing positions for a number of household-name companies.

In 1996, Susan was appointed Chief Executive of the Northern Business Forum before moving to Yorkshire Forward (the Regional Development Agency) in 2000. There she held the role of Executive Director, Business Development with responsibility for inward investment, business support, international trade, supply chain development, regional e-Business links and innovation and competitiveness.

She was awarded an OBE for services to New Deal in the North East in 2000 and awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sunderland in recognition of her services to business in the North East in 2006.

Susan joined Durham University’s Council as a lay member in 2010 and is a member of the Nominations Committee. She is a Durham University Business School MBA graduate

Ghadir Abu Leil-Cooper

Head of Equities, Barings

One of the City of London’s leading women, Ghadir was appointed Global Head of Equities in 2016. Prior to this, Ghadir was Head of the EMEA & Global Frontier Markets Equity Team and lead manager on the Barings Eastern European Fund and Baring MENA Fund. Having joined Barings as part of the Global Emerging Equity Team in 1997, Ghadir was appointed a Director in 2001.

Prior to joining our Emerging Equity Team, Ghadir worked at BZW Asset Management, where she was an investment analyst focusing on the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America regions.

Ghadir has a BSc and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Durham University and is fluent in Arabic.

Mahmoud Mohieldin

Senior Vice-President for the World Bank Group's 2030 Development Agenda

Dr Mohieldin is the Special Envoy for the President of the World Bank (and former Managing Director of the World Bank) where his responsibilities include coordinating the World Bank Group agenda on the Millennium Development Goals and the Post-2015 process.

Prior to joining the World Bank, Mahmoud was Egypt’s Minister of Investment from 2004-2010. He has held numerous positions in the Government of Egypt and served on several Boards of Directors in the Central Bank of Egypt and the corporate sector. He was a member of the Commission on Growth and Development and selected a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2005. 

His professional reach extends into the academic arena, serving as Member of the Board of several universities in Egypt and holding leading positions in national and regional research centers and think tanks. He has authored numerous articles in leading journals in the fields of international finance and economics.

Jens Schiefele

Director, Digital Aviation, Market and Solutions Research, Jeppesen

Jens is an experienced leader of research and software development teams of 100+ people.

He has a high interest in defining corporate visions based on identified customer needs, industry trends, mega-trends and other factors. He also enjoys working with senior leaders to turn their vision into real products (innovation management).

Jen’s key focus is on blending technology with natural, simple human interaction to manage highly complex systems. Jens has an in depth understanding of the aviation and maritime industries. 

Jens has published 50+ papers, holds 10+ patents, and has participated in creating 10 different industry standards. Jens holds a PhD and four master degrees. Last year, Jens has completed an eMBA program at Durham University Business School and at the European Business School in Germany.

Mr Dennis Shuler

Executive Vice-President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Scripps Networks Interactive

Dennis has extensive human resources experience with some of America’s most-respected corporations including Procter & Gamble, Walt Disney and Kellogg, which have provided him with outstanding leadership skills and perspective.

A well-rounded HR leader who is business focused and makes things happen, Dennis is globally fluent in developed, developing and emerging markets. Using his expertise in the global marketplace, Dennis develops effective HR organizations focused on enabling the development and expansion of domestic and international businesses.

Satvinder Singh

MD, Head of Institutional Cash & Securities Services, Global Transaction Banking, Deutsche Bank

Satvinder Singh is the Global Head, Institutional Cash & Securities Services (ICSS), and a member of the GTB Executive Committee.

Satvinder joined Deutsche Bank in November 2011. He was previously with Citigroup where he was Managing Director and Direct Custody and Clearing Business Head for Global Transaction Services Business across Europe, Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Citigroup in 2008, Satvinder was with HSBC as Global Head of Sales and Relationship Management for the Direct Clearing and Custody Business. He spent 14 years with HSBC, filling various roles in the Direct Clearing and Custody Business across multiple geographies, including India and Hong Kong. Satvinder holds an MBA from Durham University, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering, India. He also sits on the Board for Euroclear and Deutsche Bank Turkey.

Rosie Smith

Bank of England Agent for the North East

Rosie is the Bank of England’s Agent for the North East with close links to the North East’s business community, as well as policy makers at the Bank of England in London.

Rosie joined the Bank of England in 1986 and has held various analytical roles in Monetary Analysis & Statistics and Financial Stability. She has a BSc in Financial Economics from the University of London and an MBA in Financial Studies from the University of Nottingham. Before taking up her current role in the North East she was Deputy Agent for the East Midlands for nearly 11 years.

Outside of her professional interests Rosie enjoys music, reading, watching rugby and her work as a school governor. She lives in Northumberland and Leicestershire and is married with two sons.

Yang (David) Song

CEO and founder of CampusRoom Ltd

Originally from Beijing, Yang completed an MA in Management Studies at Durham University Business School in 2004. Yang holds a portfolio of senior positions: he is the CEO and founder of CampusRoom Ltd which is a booking platform and operator for student accommodation. Yang is also the Managing Director of PDI Capital Ltd, a company specialising in property development and investment. Yang also held a senior role at Hutchison Whampoa (Europe) for 10 years.

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