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Council members

Council Members Mini Biographies July 2018

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE (Vice-Chancellor and President) - Ex officio Member of Council

Professor Julia Buckingham joined Brunel University London as Vice-Chancellor and President on 1 October 2012 from Imperial College London where she was Pro-Rector for Education and Academic Affairs, Professor of Pharmacology and Head of the Centre for Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology and previously held the roles of Head of the Department of Neuroscience and Mental Health and College Dean for Non-Clinical Medicine.  Throughout her career Julia has combined research and education with supporting the broader aspects of academic life through work with the research councils, medical charities and learned societies.  She has published widely in her field, served on numerous national and international review panels and received a number of prestigious awards and honours for her work.  Former roles include President of the British Pharmacological Society, President of the Society for Endocrinology, Chairman of BioScientifica Ltd and Trustee of the Royal Institution where she is now a Patron.  She is currently a Trustee of Universities UK and STEMNET, the Chair of the FE/HE SORP Board, a member of Council for the All Party Parliamentary University Group, the Chair of the Advance HE: Athena SWAN Review, a member of the Heathrow Employment and Skills Taskforce and the Chair of the UKRI Researcher Concordat’s Strategy Group.  Professor Buckingham is also a member of the National Physical Laboratory: Science and Technology Advisory Council; and a member of the CBI: Innovation Council.  She is an Emeritus Governor at St. Mary’s Calne. Professor Buckingham is a member of the Appointments Panel at the University of Bath and a member of the Royal Society: ‘Widening the Curriculum to 18 Working Group’.

Professor Andrew George MBE – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Projects and Global Engagement), Ex officio Member of Council

Professor George joined Brunel from Imperial College London on 1 October 2013 where he was Professor of Molecular Immunology and Director of the Graduate School and the School of Professional Development.  He did his first degree at the University of Cambridge, before going on to the Tenovus Laboratories in the University of Southampton to do his PhD with Professor Freda Stevenson, developing a vaccine for B cell lymphoma. He was awarded a Beit Memorial Fellowship and stayed in Southampton for his first postdoctoral period, before going to Dr David Segal’s laboratory in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA, where he used recombinant techniques to generate novel antibody molecules. In 1992 he returned to the UK as a lecturer at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, which merged with Imperial College in 1997.  He was previously Chair of the UK’s National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel and was on the Clinical Trials, Biologicals and Vaccines Expert Advisory Group for the Commission of Human Medicines/MHRA. He is the Interim Chair of the Imperial College Health Partners, the Director and Sole Shareholder for AJTG Ltd [not yet trading], a Director of West London Business, a Director at Syngenious, and a Governor of both the Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College and John Hampden Grammar School.

Ms Hema Ghantiwala – Independent Member of Council

Ms Ghantiwala is a highly accomplished senior executive with over ten years’ experience operating at board level in a variety of executive and non-executive roles for large, complex organisations. She currently works for the NCR Corporation. She formerly held the post of Head of Legal – Global Telecoms Market at British Telecom PLC and former roles include Non-Executive Director for Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust, EMEA Region Counsel, Head of Legal Department for UK and Northern Europe; and a Director and Company Secretary for NCR Ltd. Ms Ghantiwala is also an Ambassador for Public Appointments for the Government Equalities Office and a trustee for the National Foundation for Educational Research. 

Ms Lucinda Hunt – Deputy Chair and Independent Member of Council 

Ms Hunt was previously Head at Notting Hill and Ealing High School, GDST. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Physics from Imperial College London and a PGCE from the University of Oxford. Ms Hunt began her career in 1982 as a Teacher at The Cherwell Upper School in Oxford. After a variety of teaching posts in Australia and France, she returned to the UK in 1991, joining Putney High School as a Teacher of Physics. She moved to Wimbledon High School a year later, progressing to Head of Sixth Form in 1996 and to Head of the Faculty of Sciences in 1998.

Following a secondment to Goldman Sachs in 2000, Ms Hunt assumed the position of Deputy Head (Director of Studies) at St Paul’s Girls’ School. She assumed her previous role as Head in 2008.

Ms Hunt stepped down from her role as Head at NHEHS in August 2016. She plans to spend more time sailing, skiing and improving her French, and is looking forward to having the time and the opportunity to develop other aspects of her professional life, including her new role on the Brunel University London Council and existing commitment to the Royal Institution.

Mr Praveen Kanakamedala – Independent Member of Council 

Mr Praveen Kanakamedala is the COO of Agilis Investment Management LLP. He was formerly the Global Head of Risk Management at Permal Group. He holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Chicago, an MSc in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Praveen began his career in 1992 as a Systems Analyst at Dunn Systems, thereafter joining AC Nielsen as Consultant. He progressed to Senior Systems Analyst in 1995 and to Project Manager the following year, before founding an internet start-up subsidiary, KTech Solutions, in 1997 – also serving as President. Between stepping down as President and re-joining KTech on a consultancy basis, Praveen served as Vice-President for Technology Development at United Breweries Group. In 2004 he joined Harris Alternatives as Quantitative Analyst and became Partner and Head of Risk Management at Fauchier Partners in 2007. 

Professor Bill Leahy – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs and Civic Engagement), Member of Council nominated by Senate

Professor Leahy is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs and Civic Engagement) at Brunel University London. He has been at Brunel since 1996 when he began his PhD studies in Shakespeare’s History plays and Elizabethan Processional literature. Immediately before that, Professor Leahy worked as an English Language teacher for the Adult Education Service in Berlin. Since joining Brunel, he has been involved in teaching English, though he has specialised in teaching Shakespeare and the Renaissance. He has been convener of the MA in Shakespeare Authorship Studies and was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s award for Teaching Excellence in 2005.  His research interests include the Shakespeare Authorship Question as a cultural phenomenon.

Mr Paul Markwell - Independent Member of Council 

Mr Markwell, VP, Global Upstream Oil & Gas Research & Consulting at IHS Markit Limited, a leading international advisory organisation. Mr Markwell managed the provision of strategic insight and business advice to oil and gas industrial companies globally. He has over 30 years’ experience in general management, engineering and research; and advisory roles in this sector including many years at Shell International and McKinsey & Company.  Mr Markwell has lived or worked in a diverse range of situations across Asia, North Africa, Middle East and Europe.

Mr Ranjeet Rathore (President, Union of Brunel Students) - Ex officio Member of Council 


Ranjeet is the President of Brunel Students Union; he provides leadership for the organisation and is the main figurehead and external spokesperson for the Students’ Union. The role includes working with senior members of Brunel University London, local government staff and officers, local MP’s and other external stakeholders. The President leads the team of full and part time Student Officers and works closely with the Students’ Union’s senior management to ensure that the organisation is delivering its charitable purpose and working towards its vision and values. The President is lead on key campaigns and sits with the University Senior Management Team to ensure students are at the heart of any and all decisions the University make.


Professor Geoff Rodgers – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Ex Officio Member of Council

Professor Rodgers is the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, tasked with leading the University in the next stage of its research development to ensure that it sustains a diverse and evolving, vibrant, research community.  Professor Rodgers gained his BSc in Mathematics at Imperial College London and a PhD in Disordered System Theory at Manchester University.  Professor Rodgers has an impressive research record, with many publications, conference presentations and grants to his name.  In 1998, Professor Rodgers won a European Postdoctoral Fellowship from The Royal Society to work with Professors Cyrano De Dominicis and Bernard Derrida at the Service de Physique Théorique, CEN-Saclay, France.  As well as supervising many PhD students, Professor Rodgers has extensive experience in a very broad range of administrative and academic roles including major involvement in quality and standard issues, managing postgraduate bursaries and scholarships for the University and acting as undergraduate admissions tutor.  Professor Rodgers has championed the introduction of the open access archive BURA and the University publication database BRAD, as well as developing successful strategic partnerships for research with a number of research and technology organisations. Professor Rodgers is a director of the Brunel University Enterprises Limited and the Heathrow Aviation Engineering UTC. 

Ms Tone Rosingholm - Independent Member of Council

Ms Rosingholm is a Venture Partner at Dreamstake Capital, a London based accelerator for technology start-ups. She is on the Board of Aid:Tech, a fintech company delivering development aid through blockchain digital identity, and Quarkonics, an AI driven technology solutions company. Ms Rosingholm was previously an Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Investment Bank, and has studied in Norway, France and North America. She is a graduate of l’Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP, Grande Ecole) and has completed the General Management Program, Executive Education, at Harvard Business School.

Ms Amanda Rowlatt CBE - Independent Member of Council 

Ms Rowlatt is an experienced director in the civil service and is currently Chief Analyst at the Department for Transport.  She has been Chief Economist in several government departments, and has held policy director roles at the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for International Development. She was a former board member of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. She is currently a board member of Voluntary Services Overseas and a Council Member for the Society of Business Economists. 

Ms Amanda Spielman - Independent Member of Council

Ms Spielman was Chair of Ofqual.  Ms Spielman is HM Chief Inspector OFSTED. She was a co-founder of the academy chain Ark Schools, where she was Research and Policy Director. She is a Council member at Brunel University London.  She previously spent more than 15 years in finance, investment banking and strategy consulting at KPMG, Kleinwort Benson, Mercer Management Consulting and Nomura International.

Professor Michael Spyer - Chair of Council

Professor Spyer was a former Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at the University College London and until 2013 was Chairman of NHS London. He was a member of HEFCE’s Research Selectivity Review Board for Basic Medical Sciences on two separate occasions. Professor Spyer has held several positions in the field of medicine such as Director at the Autonomic Neuroscience Institute, Director of the British Heart Foundation Neural Control Group at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Chairman of Basic Medical Sciences at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and Vice Dean of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine.  Professor Spyer is now the Deputy Chair of the Committee of University Chairs [CUC]; and a Board Member of the Universities & Colleges Employers Association [UCEA].

Mr Peter Teague – Independent Member of Council

Mr Teague was previously Chief Executive of New Technology CADCAM Limited, Chief Executive Anisa (UK), Chief Executive Unicorn Entertainment, Managing Director of BBC Worldwide UK and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at AT&T. He has also fulfilled chair, non-executive director and executive roles in public regulatory bodies and the IT services, media and telecommunications industries. This experience includes Chairing Audit Committees at the Gambling Commission, OFCOM and Elexon Limited. Mr Teague is an advisory group member of the Ofcom 700MHz and a Director at FROG Consulting limited.

Dr Kevin Thomas – Independent Member of Council

Dr Thomas was a non-executive Chairman of civil nuclear joint ventures at Babcock International Group plc. He joined Babcock International Group plc in 2002, initially heading its facilities management business as Managing Director, before moving to head the Group’s business development function and acquisition programme. In 2009 he became CEO of the Support Services Division at Babcocks, a position he held until 2016. He is an alumnus of the University graduating with a Master’s in Public and Social Administration. His early career included working in local government, heading the Policy and Administration at the London Borough of Southwark, before joining Serco Group plc.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a Non-Executive Director of FTSE-listed recruitment company, Harvey Nash Group plc.  

Paul R Thomas CBE - Chief Operating Officer

Paul Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer at Brunel University London.  Paul joined the University in 2007 after a full career in the Royal Air Force, retiring in the rank of Air Commodore having undertaken a wide range of roles on Royal Air Force stations, (including the command of RAF Uxbridge), Command Headquarters and in the Ministry of Defence.  He is a President and Trustee of the Hillingdon Partnership Trust, the President of the 1083 (Uxbridge) Squadron ATC and the Chair of Trustees of the Friends of No 11Group Operations Bunker on the former RAF Uxbridge Site.

Ms Anne Waltham - Independent Member of Council

Ms Waltham is an experienced real estate litigation Partner at Gowling WLG (formerly Wragge Lawrence Graham/ Wragge & Co) which she joined in 2003 having previously been a Partner at Hogan Lovells between 1998 and 2003.  Prior to this Ms Waltham was a Solicitor at Lovell White Durrant, Oppenheimers and Linklaters. 

A graduate in Law from King’s College London, Ms Waltham was a Trustee at Our Sorority and is a mentor for students at her alma mater.

Professor John Wood, CBE - Independent Member of Council

Professor Wood has now retired from the Association of Commonwealth Universities where he was formerly the Secretary General. He holds the posts of Honorary Professor of Materials at Imperial College London, Honorary Professor of Nanotechnology at University College London, Honorary Chairs, Liverpool Hope University, University of Cumbria and the World University of Bangladesh. Professor Wood is also a Honorary Distinguished Research Fellow, Department of Materials, University of Cambridge, a Honorary Fellow, Synchrotrone Trieste, Italy, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Honorary Citizen of Honour, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, a Fellow of the Institutes of Physics; and a Liveryman and member of Court, Worshipful Company of Founders.  His previous appointments include Senior International Relations Adviser to Imperial College London, Principal of the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London and Chief Executive for the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils.  Professor Wood has held several directorships and public appointments, the most recent being Director of M4 Technologies [Nottingham], Bio-nano Consulting and Aquafirm [part of Bio-nano holdings] [London]; and a Director of CRAC [Cambridge].  Professor Wood is also an Adviser to Warwick University on Brexit.


Charities of which Council Members have Trustee or similar status:

Universities UK – Professor Julia Buckingham [Trustee]

STEMNET – Professor Julia Buckingham [Trustee]

Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College – Professor Andrew George [Governor]

John Hampden Grammar School – Professor Andrew George [Governor]

Imperial College Health Partners – Professor Andrew George [Interim Chair]

National Foundation for Educational Research – Ms Hema Ghantiwala [Trustee]

Bishopshalt School - Professor Bill Leahy [Governor]

Shakespearean Authorship Trust – Professor Bill Leahy [Chairman]

Union of Brunel Students (Board of Trustees) – Ms Pauldy Otermans [Chair]

Voluntary Services Overseas – Ms Amanda Rowlatt [Board Member]

Society of Business Economists – Ms Amanda Rowlatt [Council Member]

Universities & Colleges Employers Association – Professor Mike Spyer [Board Member]

Committee of University Chairs – Professor Mike Spyer [Deputy Chair]

Hillingdon Partnership Trust - Paul R Thomas CBE [a President and Trustee]

1083 (Uxbridge) Squadron ATC - Paul R Thomas CBE [President]

Friends of No 11Group Operations Bunker on the former RAF Uxbridge Site - Paul R Thomas CBE [Chair of Trustees]

Stables Christian Centre – Professor John Wood [Chair and Trustee]