Lord Bilimoria CBE, DL
Founder of Cobra and Chairman of The Cobra Beer Partnership Ltd
Chancellor of The University of Birmingham
Born in India, Lord Karan Bilimoria graduated in Law from Cambridge University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst and Young. Karan is famed for developing Cobra Beer – a less gassy, premium lager brewed to specifically appeal to both ale drinkers and lager drinkers alike and to complement food. Karan spent twenty years building the Cobra Brand name and grew his reputation as a major UK entrepreneur on the speaker circuit. Karan’s family have enjoyed a long association with the University; his grandfather, mother and uncle all studied here, and we were delighted when he agreed to become Chancellor of the University of Birmingham in 2014.
In 2009 Karan went into partnership with Molson Coors who bought 50.1% of Cobra Beer. Karan is the Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Hounslow. Additionally, Karan serves as UK Chairman of the Indo British Partnership, and lectures extensively in the UK and abroad on entrepreneurship, business, education, and the Indo-British relationship. In June 2006, Karan was appointed Lord Bilimoria, of Chelsea. Karan still spends a great deal of his time back in India, where his family and other business interests remain, and has been pivotal in helping advise on the Business School’s marketing effort in India.
Head of Leveraged Finance Capital Markets BNP Paribas
Charlotte Conlan is Head of Leveraged Finance Capital Markets, EMEA for BNP Paribas. Leveraged Finance Capital Markets is the origination team responsible for all corporate and sponsor led transactions across Europe. With teams across Europe they provide financing support and advice to clients across a range of deal types. Charlotte joined BNP Paribas in 2000 from Greenwich NatWest where she had been a Director in the Loan Syndications team working across the credit spectrum on corporate and leveraged transactions. She most recently headed up the EMEA Loan Syndicate desk. Charlotte is a member of the LMA Board. Charlotte is a graduate of Birmingham University and holds a Master of Business Administration from Cass Business School.
Interim Change Director at PRCA
Andraea has had a long and distinguished career leading the sustainability & responsible business, reputation, and change & employee engagement agendas for a number of leading global consumer goods companies. She is currently using that experience as an advisor on the boards of several organisations in a non-executive capacity and giving guest seminars in organisations in the public and private sector.
Having worked in USA, UK, France and Denmark she has been at the executive committee of Coty Inc (beauty), Reckitt Benckiser plc (consumer health OTC & hygiene), Carlsberg A/S (drinks) and Cadbury Schweppes plc (confectionary & beverages). Prior to these leadership roles, Andraea was in consultancy working in large and small consultancies and for a wide range of international corporations including Diageo, Aon, Shell, HSBC, Avon, De la Rue and Lloyds TSB. She co-founded Hedron: one of Europe’s leading internal and change communication consultancies of its time.
Andraea started her career as the President SDP Students. She was educated at CASS Business School, where she did her MBA, and Oxford and Exeter Universities where she was an undergraduate in Chemistry. She has been a visiting lecturer on Services Marketing at CASS Business School. Andraea has authored several articles on services marketing, communication and change management, and co-edited the text book ‘Understanding Organisational Dynamics’ (Routledge).
CEO - Hassium Asset Management LLP
Yogi is the Founder of Hassium Asset Management, an independent investment boutique providing investment management services to a select group of private families. Prior to founding Hassium, Yogi spent ten years as an Executive Director in the Private Wealth Management division at Goldman Sachs in London. At Goldman Yogi was responsible for building a pan-European business covering over 40 private families with discretionary assets in excess of $1.5 billion. Yogi comments regularly on the financial markets in the media; Bloomberg TV, CNBC and the FT, and has an MBA from the London Business School and a BSC from the University of Birmingham. In Philanthropy Yogi is a Trustee for the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
Baroness Rita Donaghy CBE, OBE
Former Chair – Advisory, Conciliation & Arbitration Service – ACAS 2000 - 2007
Lady Donaghy began her career as a university administrator and trade unionist who went on to hold significant industrial positions in public life before being created a Labour Life Peer in the 2010 Dissolution Honours List, when she became Baroness Donaghy of Peckham. Prior to becoming a Baroness, Rita was awarded the OBE for services to industrial relations in 1998, then created CBE in 2005 for services to employment relations.
Lady Donaghy was chair of ACAS for seven years where she drove the ACAS mission to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. Prior to this appointment, Lady Donaghy was President of the TUC 1999 to 2000. She served on the National Executive Council of NALGO/UNISON from 1973 to 2000, including a spell as President.
From 1987 to 2000, Lady Donaghy was a member of the TUC’s General Council and has also served on the executive of the European TUC. She was a member of the Low Pay Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission Task Group on Equal Pay. She was appointed a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (The Graham Committee) in February 2001. Lady Donaghy holds a Fellowship of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, and a Fellowship of the RSA, and honorary degrees from the Open University, Keele University and Greenwich University.
Chief Executive Officer – Alix Partners
Simon is the chief executive officer of Alix Partners. He is based in New York and, with his team, provides transformative leadership to businesses and stakeholders, responding quickly and decisively to their most complex and critical challenges. Simon became CEO of Alix Partners in 2015. In his more than 30 years of experience, Simon has combined his skills in business turnaround, strategic consulting, and stakeholder management in the development of performance improvement and accelerated transformation projects for many large and high-profile businesses. Before joining Alix Partners, Simon was CEO of Zolfo Cooper Europe from 2008 to 2015. Prior to this, he was CEO of Kroll Inc., a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm based in New York. Long involved in philanthropic causes, Simon is the chairman of the American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as chairman of Grange Park Opera and London Music Masters.
Jeannyfar Lokiri Gelpcke
Senior Executive Advisor to CEO, E.ON SE
Jeannyfar was born in Konye, Cameroon, educated in her formative years in Germany, and made waves during her academic journey in both Austria and the UK. This culminated in her achieving her MSc in Marketing Communications at Birmingham Business School in 2012. Now having carved her way as a multi-cultural leader with experience in strategic communications, stakeholder engagement and project management, Jeannyfar now focuses on C-Suite consultancy, within global multi-national companies. Today you will find Jeannyfar leading teams on strategic board projects with particular focus on strategic messaging as part of her role as the Senior Executive Advisor to CEO of The E.ON SE Group, which is one of Europe's largest operators of energy networks and energy infrastructure as well as innovative solutions.
Having worked tirelessly throughout her career to help businesses achieve the seemingly impossible, Jeannyfar has refined her personal superpower to quickly build and maintain sustainable and impactful relationships on a global scale. This has enabled her to successfully act as a lobbyist for many business-critical issues through engaging, influencing and connecting the right key partners. In addition to her professional accolades, Jeannyfar uses her platform to not only give a voice to fundamental social topics but also to create diverse opportunities and role model inclusive leadership. This was first recognised in 2010/2011 during her academic years with the Elenor Thompson Award for outstanding contributions and more recently with the E.ON CEO Award for Diversity and Inclusion. As well as contributing to a broad mix of professional networks including Women@E.ON (Europe) and the Academic Network for Black Germans (ADAN), she is now the founder of a private international network for black women in corporate settings, a topic close to her heart. Tennis-enthusiast Jeannyfar resides in Munich where she is enjoys being surrounded by people, culture, and great food.
Managing Director – Confederation of German Employers (BDA)
Based in Germany, Renate Hornung-Draus is Managing Director for Economic and International Affairs of the Confederation of German Employers (BDA). This is the top business organisation representing the interests of private employers in the fields of employment, labour and social affairs. Renate Hornung-Draus directs BDA’s activities in the economic and international fields. This includes on the one hand representing the employers’ views vis-à-vis the relevant national, European and. international institutions, as well as within international organisations and fora (ILO, OECD, UNHCHR, G7/B7, G20/B20), and on the other hand providing advice and services to member organisations and companies on economic and international issues in the fields of employment, integrity and sustainability. Renate Hornung-Draus holds many honorary functions in international, academic and business organisations, among others as Vice-President for ILO matters of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and Chair of Business at OECD - BIAC's Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee, Chair of BusinessEurope's CSR Working Party, Board member of the German-Arab Friendship Association (DAFG), and Advisory Board member of the Birmingham Business School and Trier University Institute for Employment Relations in the EU. Furthermore she serves among others as Vice-Chair of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation and as CoChair of the B20 Future of Work and Education Task Force.
Senior Adviser, Edelman
Anji was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was educated at St. Leonard’s school, St. Andrews and St. Clare’s Hall, Oxford. After gaining a First in History (BA Hons) at the University of Brighton she worked in a London law firm and taught English in Spain and London. In 1987, she joined Tony Blair as a Political Researcher, rising to be Head of the Private Office in 1994. She ran the Prime Minister’s election campaign in 1997 and entered Downing Street as Director of Government Relations, playing a critical role in implementing the Government’s communications strategy, where she was famously described as “the most influential non-elected person in Downing Street”.
In 2001, she became Director of Government Relations, where she had particular responsibility for links with media, business and foreign governments. She joined BP as Director of Communications in February 2002 where she was responsible for the co-ordination and direction of a range of communications activities that included pro-active communications planning and execution, both internal and external, group reputation measurement, sponsorship, electronic media and events management. Anji left BP in 2008 and became Group Head of Government and Social Affairs for Anglo American, one of the world's largest mining corporations.
She left to join The Royal Academy of Engineering as Director, where she successfully established the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, awarded in 2013, and helped to promote engineering to the next generation, especially women. She is now a Senior Adviser with Edelman, the world’s largest PR group. Anji Hunter is married to Adam Boulton, Political Editor of Sky News.
Chief Executive – GS1 Hong Kong
Based in Hong Kong, Anna Lin and her husband graduated from the Birmingham MBA in 1988. In 1989 Anna joined the Hong Kong Article Numbering Association, rising to Chief Executive. She is now Chief Executive of both GS1 Hong Kong and EPCGlobal Hong Kong. EPC is Electronic Product Code and it is anticipated that in the next 15 years RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) will be the universal method of tagging consignments.
Anna and her organisations are concerned with the development, adoption and dissemination of universal technological and management platforms and standards in international supply chains. The overall aim is, broadly, to link virtual supply chains enabling companies across the world to communicate through a common business language.
Dr Sarindar Singh Sahota OBE BSc, Hon DEng, Hon DSc.
Chair – Organ Donation Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
Sarindar completed his school education in Kenya and has been in business since he graduated from University of Birmingham in 1971, first in Kenya and then in UK. Sarindar was a non-executive director of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Chaired the Charitable Funds and now Chairs the Organ Donation for the Sandwell and West Birmingham. He is a member of the Council of Midlands Metropolitan University Hospital.
He was the Vice Chair of Nishkam Schools Trust and Chair of Nishkam Nursery Schools. Sarindar is a was formerly a member of the Advisory Board of Aston Business School. He led the Business Sector as the Vice Chair of the West Midlands Regional Assembly and also chaired the Audit Committee. He was the Deputy Chair of West Midlands Business Council and Chaired the N W Skills Academy. He was a member of the Governing Council of University of Birmingham and a member of the Court of the University. Sarindar also Chaired the Adult Social Care Board of Birmingham City Council. He was a Trustee of Acorns Hospice and a member of the Regional Housing Board and the Regional Planning Partnership. Sarindar Chaired Single Regeneration Budget Round 6 N W Birmingham, a £40 Million regeneration scheme, to a successful completion. He is a former Chair of Asian Business Forum and Institute of Asian Businesses. He was a non-executive director of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and the Prime Focus Regeneration Group. He was honoured by the Chamber for his service to the business community in 2006. Sarindar Chaired the Strategic Review of the Regeneration Zones of Advantage West Midlands. He was also a member of the ITV Regional Advisory Board and the Diversity Council. He has also been a member of the Urban Living Board and the Smethwick Delivery Board. Sarindar was awarded an OBE in the 2005 New Year’s Honours List for his services to Regeneration. In 2004 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering by University of Birmingham and in 2005 an Honorary Doctorate of Science by Aston University.
Tony Sealey OBE
Former Managing Director – Canefield Limited
Tony was a Franchisee with McDonald's Restaurants Limited for 28 years operating a number of restaurant units as Managing Director of the company Canefield Limited. He also operated businesses in Barbados for many years including the Attiva and bodycare 4U Gym and Fitness Clubs Brands. Tony started his career in Local Government in 1974 with the then West Midlands County Council and held various positions in Administration before leaving the County Council to establish his own business iManagement Consultancy in 1987. He has previously held board directorship positions with Advantage West Midlands, National Commercial Bank(Jamaica) Remittances Services Limited and has Chaired various Business and Regeneration National Government Funded Initiatives across the West Midlands Region
He was chair of the Local Enterprise Agency Black Business in Birmingham (3b) for some 20 years and served at a National and Regional level for many years on various UK Central Government Initiatives promoting Business & Enterprise Development in the UK and internationally inclusive of Access to Finance and International Trade. Tony was named Carlton Television Midlander of the Year in 2002 for Business Leadership and he was awarded by The Order of the British Empire (OBE), by the then Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2007, in recognition of his work in supporting business development in the West Midlands and his work with charities across the region.
Tony is recognised for his work as a Champion for Equality, Inclusion and Diversity recognition in business at all levels and as a long-standing Ambassador for Prostate Cancer Charities both National and Local.
Global Co-Lead for Accenture's Black Founder's Development Programme
Dujon is the Global Co-Lead for Accenture's Black Founder's Development Programme. Led by Accenture Ventures, the new initiative helps improve Black communities' ability to create wealth for those who previously did not have a seat at the table and enable the next generation of innovation. Formerly, he acted as the Midwest Lead for Accenture Open Innovation, forming bridges between Global 2000 companies and the startup ecosystem. He has worked within Accenture's Innovation Architecture for the past few years. Previously, he was with the Operations Studio, where he focused as a growth catalyst for Operations clientele, the $6 billion business unit that provides business process services across more than 40 industries. In addition to his time at Accenture, in his hometown of Chicago, he has worked internationally for Deloitte UK in the US Corporate Tax Group, UK Parliament in the House of Commons, LA-based Hedge Fund Canyon Partners, and Shanghai startup LED manufacturer Etrilum. Over the last 15 years, Dujon has traveled, worked, and studied in 55 countries and is passionate about connecting technology, culture, and education within communities. Dujon operates professionally and personally at the intersection of his passion and purpose to create space for BIPOC entrepreneurs, creatives, and academics to thrive and grow. Currently, he serves on the Global Inclusivity Board for Soho House (NYSE: MCG) and the University of Birmingham's Business School Advisory Board in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Scenemaker's Board of the Goodman Theater and the YPC Board of Camp One Step and an active mentor in Chicago's startup community. Additionally, he is the Director of Development for Definition Theatre.
Commercial Adviser for Transformation
Cabinet Office and HM Treasury
Marc is a leading transformation specialist and adviser to Cabinet Office and supporting the successful delivery of the United Kingdom's major infrastructure programmes. Following graduation from the University of Birmingham in 1994, his grounding years were in aerospace manufacturing in the industrial heartlands, becoming one of the first lean practitioners in the UK in the mid-90’s and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. In 1999, Marc was sought by GEC Marconi to become CFO and Programmes Director for their global property portfolio driving growth and infrastructure rationalisation programmes across the world. From there he specialised in positive disruption, transformation, turnaround, mergers and acquisitions, growth, and systematic innovation, joining DHL in 2002 to become a driver in the end-to-end transformation of their drink’s logistics business, winning awards for innovation.
Never being one to pigeonhole himself, he expanded, establishing his own consultancy in 2008, to offer dedicated transformation, turnaround, and financial leadership for an impressive and valued array of clients in the airline, clean energy, logistics, insurance, manufacturing, consulting, engineering, construction, public transport, education, recruitment and fintech sectors. In 2015, his passion for innovation and sustainability led him to becoming one of the founding directors and CFO of Energy Systems Catapult, building an innovation hub for the energy systems sector of the United Kingdom. In 2017 he received an award for his human-centric and eco-systemic approach to design. Meanwhile, in 2011, Marc joined the board of the University of Birmingham Business School becoming an active cog and critical friend for the progress of the school and a voice for our young leaders, responsible business, and real-world impact. He has been a main contributor to our popular Deloitte MBA Consulting Challenge. He has also been a NED and adviser, forging dynamic relationships with regional organisations including Colmore Business Improvement District.
Chief Customer Officer, C. Hoare & Co.
Paul joined C. Hoare & Co. in September 2022 as the Chief Customer Officer. He has over 20 years’ leadership experience in financial services including banking, wealth management and insurance. Paul joined the bank from HSBC, where he was Global Head of Digital Transformation and Agile Deployment, and previously worked for Lloyds Banking Group. Expert in driving strategic change and accelerating growth, and with deep experience of leading customer and regulatory programmes, he has enjoyed an international career in mature and emerging markets including the UK, Channel Islands, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Lebanon. He led the successful delivery of the high profile Ring-fencing regulatory programme and the related UK HSBC HQ move to Birmingham. Paul sits on the Board of the University of Birmingham Business Advisory Board. He also serves as a non-executive director of Sport England and non-executive chair of the FA National Futsal Series, and is a member of the United Nations’ Junior Chamber International. A keen runner, he has completed the Polar Circle Marathon and the Desert Marathon in Jordan and, for balance, practices yoga. He is married to Caroline and has two sons.
Strategic Development Consultant, Pinsent Masons
Rebecca spent over 20 years in the UK legal industry working across the UK on major development and regeneration projects, before moving into the housebuilding industry for nearly six years. In her time in the legal profession she helped to set up and establish a new Birmingham office for a national legal firm and then, as a partner of International law firm Pinsent Masons, headed up both a specialist team of planning and environmental lawyers in the firm’s Birmingham office and the firm’s National Development Planning Team. In 2017 she was awarded Partner of the Year 2017 in the Birmingham Law Society Awards and was for a number of years consistently ranked nationally in the Top 20 Planning Lawyers in an industry publication. In November 2017 Rebecca moved into industry to focus on strategic housebuilding at Crest Nicholson as a Divisional Planning Director. In October 2020 she was appointed to Thakeham Homes (a SME). Thakeham specialise in creating sustainable, infrastructure-led new communities with a particular focus on biodiversity, the environment, placemaking and by 2025 achieving zero-carbon across its business and new homes. Rebecca had a range of roles including Executive Director and General Counsel. In August 2023 she moved back into law, returning to Pinsent Masons, to enable her to use her invaluable client-side experience to steer a range of clients through strategic property and planning stages of projects. Rebecca chairs the Midlands Home Builders Federation (HBF) Planning Forum and sits on the HBF National Planning Committee which seeks to shape and influence Government policy and guidance on matters relating to the development industry. She is also an advisory group member for the Government’s planning research team helping to input on new planning related proposals. Rebecca is passionate about empowering and preparing the next generation of talented business people especially women and she mentors young planners and solicitors including through the University of Birmingham’s mentoring scheme.