The governing body of City, University of London is called the Council. The Council delegates decision-making to several sub-committees as well as the President and Chair of Council.
Membership of Council
Council is the supreme Governing Body of City, University of London with functions and powers defined in the Royal Charter.
The Composition and Voting Arrangements of the Council are set out in the Statutes.
The primary responsibilities of the Council are set out in the Ordinances.
Ms Julia Palca – Chair of Council
Julia Palca graduated from the University of Durham. She enrolled as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in 1980 at the beginning of her long and distinguished legal career. She continues to sit as an Employment Judge at the London Central Employment Tribunal.
Julia chairs the Trustees of Macmillan Cancer Support, a position she has held since 2010. She also chairs the Royal Free Charity, which supports the Royal Free NHS hospitals in Hampstead, Barnet and Enfield.
Ms Kru Desai - Deputy Chair of Council
Kru is a former Partner of KPMG where until 2018, she led the Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare practice in the UK. She has also served as a member of KPMG’s UK Board and chaired its Remuneration Committee.
She is currently an adviser to the management team at Zinc Network – a privately owned communications agency. Kru’s executive experience includes leading and growing consultancy practices in privately owned, FTSE 250 and global partnership organisations. She has led complex digital and technology change and transformation programmes in the public sector. Her clients have included Governments in the UK and Sub Saharan Africa, we well as international technology and business services companies.
Kru has previously served as a Local Government Commissioner (Electoral Commission) and as a school governor. She has chaired the Minority Ethnic Group of the National Employment Panel at the Department of Work and Pensions and has been a member of the Mayor of London’s Smart London Board.
(Prof.) Sir Anthony Finkelstein CBE FREng – President
President, Professor Anthony Finkelstein joined City, University of London in June 2021.
Ms Adrienne Fresko CBE
Adrienne Fresko joined City as an independent governing member of Council on 1 August 2022.
Adrienne is an experienced independent director and advisor to public and charity boards, specialising in higher education and healthcare. Most recently as vice chair of Council for the University of Sussex and a member of the joint board of Brighton and Sussex Medical School, until July 2022. She sits on the advisory board of a social purpose consultancy.
She has a depth and breadth of expertise in the development of governance and board effectiveness as well as a special interest in leadership and strategy development.
Adrienne’s professional experience includes: Partner lead for the leadership and governance practice in GE Healthcare Partners; co-founder of Foresight Partnership, a specialist consultancy supporting effective governance in healthcare and public services. She has led the development of highly respected key national guidance for boards in public services. Before establishing Foresight Partnership, she worked as the Head of the Centre for Public Governance at the Office for Public Management. Her early career included human resources director level roles for Citicorp in Europe and the US and as a consultant specialising in change management and coaching in the private sector.
Adrienne’s previous public and charity sector appointments include: Vice Chair of the Health Foundation; Deputy Chair of the Audit Commission and acting chair of the Commission for a year. Adrienne chaired Croydon Health Authority for eight years.
She has an MA in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University and an MSc in Occupational Psychology from Birkbeck College, London. Adrienne was awarded the CBE in the 2003 Queen’s birthday honours.
Mr Simon Harding-Roots
Simon Harding-Roots joined City as an independent governing member of Council in January 2019. Simon is an Executive Director at Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, appointed in April 2015. He is responsible for leading Grosvenor’s complex major development projects in London.
Simon joined from Imperial College London where he was Chief Operations Officer. Simon is a Trustee of the DNRC (The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre).
Simon has significant experience in the real estate sector leading portfolios of complex projects, and working across development, investment, private equity, and corporate real estate.
He has gained valuable experience in the UK, Asia and Middle East. He has worked for Treasury Holdings Group in the UK and China, Majid Al Futtaim, a leading Dubai based property development company and Arcapita, a private equity investor based in Bahrain.
Mr Adrian Haxby
Adrian Haxby has worked in investment banking since 1985. Most recently he was a Managing director, UK Investment Banking at UBS with responsibility for the UK Mid Cap business. This involved the provision of a wide range of corporate advice, including m&a, primary equity and restructuring, primarily to companies in the FTSE 250.
Since April 2014 he has been a partner in Peel Hunt LLP, a privately owned corporate and institutional stock broking and advisory firm. His other roles include Chairman of HBV Enterprise, a Hackney based charity. HBV Enterprise promotes enterprise as a means of alleviating unemployment through the provision of advice and — in certain cases — funding to would-be entrepreneurs.
He is also Chairman of Pendomer Communications, an innovative financial communications advisory firm.
He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Classics and Modern Languages and is a Chartered Accountant. He has three children at university in the UK.
Mr Thomas Lee-Warren
Thomas Lee-Warren joined City as an independent governing member of Council in January 2020. He is passionate about achieving the hyper-connectivity between humans and intelligent machines to transform industries. He has consistently been recognised as one of the top 100 people in data.
A career of driving transformational change at an executive level across industries (Retail, Logistics, Transportation, Postal, AeroSpace, Power, Defence, Civil Nuclear, and Technology) in both Global Fortune 500 Companies and running his own business scale-outs in both the United States and Europe.
He has held leadership positions at Marks and Spencers, Network Rail, Royal Mail, and most recently the Group Digital CTO at Rolls-Royce. He has operated global teams across the U.S., Europe, UK, Singapore, and India. He has been a major voice in establishing R2 Data Labs at Rolls-Royce. R2 Data Labs is focused on developing re-imagined customer services and products that incorporate thought leadership in:
- data innovation,
- machine and deep learning,
- homomorphic encryption,
- computer vision,
- Natural Language Processing.
He is tasked with new-skilling over 16,000 of our world’s leading engineers to make use of emerging tools and techniques. Leveraging cloud, high performance computing and quantum to solve commercial issues, will both enhance the competitive position of Rolls-Royce and to help achieve the substantial efficiency targets within the multi-tiered supply chain.
He is a founding member of the UK Industrial Focused Masters Programme in AK sponsored by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industry and the Aerospace Blockchain Consortium. He is a mentor at the Ascent Mentoring Programme at Said Business School, Oxford University, which is mentoring the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
Thomas is a regular keynote speaker communicating how business models and frontier technology (when managed by connected and empowered employees) may act as potent growth and efficiency spearheads.
Dr Andrew Mackintosh
Andrew is chairman of Sphere Fluidics Ltd, a biotechnology tools company aiming to transform the search for new medicines. He is chairman of the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund and a board member of Downing 4 VCT and ACF Investors, all organisations committed to supporting the development of new businesses. Following the publication of ‘The Mackintosh Report’ by Her Majesty’s Treasury in May 2021, he is now a member of the steering board of this initiative to improve the wider exploitation of government knowledge assets.
Andrew has over 30 years of commercial and general management experience in publicly and privately owned high-technology businesses. His most recent executive role was as the founding chief executive of the Royal Society Enterprise Fund, a unique early-stage investment fund set up by the Royal Society and supported by philanthropy. Prior to that he was for nine years CEO of Oxford Instruments plc, one of the UK’s leading technology companies.
Andrew has a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of Hughes Hall, Cambridge. He has held non-executive director roles with several high-growth technology companies and served on national and regional committees concerned with technical innovation and competitiveness.
He speaks fluent French and conversational Japanese and has two daughters who have both graduated from the University of London.
Ms Catherine McGuinness
Catherine McGuinness joined City as an independent member of Council in May 2022.
Catherine is a financial services professional and an elected member (Common Councillor) of the City of London Corporation. She served as the City’s Chair of Policy & Resources 2017 – 2022, leading on its work with the financial and related professional services sector.
As Policy Chair she also served as a vice chair of London Councils, the cross-party body representing London’s 32 boroughs plus the City, liaising with London government on issues of common interest or challenge, most notably the Covid pandemic.
Catherine has a long interest and involvement in education, and has chaired the City of London Corporation’s Education Board, the City of London Academies Trust, and the governing body of The City Academy, Hackney. She has also previously chaired the board of governors at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and the board of the Barbican Arts Centre, where she was particularly keen to foster outreach and inclusion.
Catherine is currently leading a government-commissioned taskforce aimed at boosting socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK Financial and Professional services.
A solicitor by training, her career until becoming Policy Chair was in financial services law. Catherine studied PPE at St Anne’s College, Oxford.
Ms Ebele Okobi
Ebele Okobi is Facebook’s Public Policy Director for Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. Prior to joining Facebook, she was Global Head of Human Rights at Yahoo, in the management development program in Nike’s EMEA headquarters, a Senior Director of Advisory Services at Catalyst in Silicon Valley and Amsterdam; a consumer rights policy fellow at Consumers Union in San Francisco and a securities and mergers and acquisitions lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, Paris and London.
She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of Junior Achievement Africa, a member of the Board of Trustees of The Young Vic and co-chair of its Development Board. She attended the University of Southern California, Columbia Law School and HEC-Paris. Ebele is the mother of dragons. She is the bio mom to three brilliant troublemakers (twins aged 8 and big sister aged 10), and foster mom to the shiniest star in Harvard Law School’s class of 2023.
Mr Anant Prakash
Anant Prakash is General Counsel Europe and Asia Pacific at Ultra Electronics, a FTSE 250 company listed on the London Stock Exchange, serving the defence, security, transport and energy sectors. In his role, Anant advises Ultra’s Board and its businesses on a broad range of legal and commercial matters – including significant contractual disputes, complex regulatory investigations, and strategically-important governance and compliance transformation initiatives.
Prior to joining Ultra, Anant worked at Slaughter and May, a leading international law firm headquartered in the City of London, where he developed a broad Corporate and Commercial practice with a particular focus on M&A. Whilst at Slaughter and May, Anant also gained valuable experience living and working in Madrid and Hong Kong. Originally from India, where he was born and was raised until the age of 11, Anant now lives in West London.
Ms Jen Tippin
Jen was appointed as the Chief Transformation Officer for the Natwest Group in August 2020. She is responsible for executing the strategy to create the very best customer experience as well as managing the Group’s investment portfolio and efficiency. She is a member of the Group and Natwest Holdings’ Executive Committee. She is the Chair of the Transformation and Cost Committees.
Prior to joining Natwest, Jen spent 15 years at Lloyds Banking Group in a variety of different roles including as Group Director, People and Productivity. She was a member of the Group Executive Committee responsible for HR, efficiency, sourcing, supply chain management and property.
Prior to that she was the Group Organisation Design and Cost Management Director, Group Customer Services Director and MD Business Banking serving over a million small business customers.
Before working in financial services, Jen worked in both the engineering and airlines sectors.
Jen is a non-executive director on the Board of Morgan Sindall Plc, a FTSE250 construction, housing, infrastructure and regeneration business. She joined the Council of City University, University of London in July 2020 and has sat on the boards of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets and Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust.
Jen graduated from Oxford University and is mother to three children residing in Sevenoaks and London.
Mr Ronald Zeghibe
Ron Zeghibe has 25 years experience in leading management buyouts, startups and corporate turn-around situations. Since 2010, he has been a Founder and Chairman of Hailo Network Holdings Ltd. which is transforming the iconic London licensed taxi market. They have just announced a merger with My Taxi in Germany to become the leading taxi app in Europe.
Most recently, Ron has become Chairman of two FinTech companies, Xenomorph Holdings Ltd. and The Money Cloud Ltd. He was also Chairman of the successful UK based start up, Hassle.com, from 2012 until its sale in July 2015.
From 2006 until 2010, he was the CEO of Evanesco Ltd., an advisor to TPG Capital L.L.C., as well as a non executive director and advisor to a number of young European technology companies.
From 1993 to 2006, he was the CEO of the Maiden Group plc, which he led through two stages of private equity funding before its floatation in 1996 and subsequent sale in 2006. Maiden was the largest independent outdoor media company in the UK.
In the past, Ron’s personal interests have included his roles as Chairman of the Friends of the Royal Academy of Art and as an advisor to Global Health Futures, an international health care research foundation and database.
Staff and Student members
Ms Gesmina Tsourrai
Gesmina Tsourrai was elected as the President of City, University of London Students' Union in July 2022.
Student’s Union President Gesmina Tsourrai graduated from the University of Greenwich with a Batchelors of Science in Psychology in 2020, and then went to continue her journey at City in 2021 by studying International Politics & Human Rights Master of Arts. During her time as a student at Greenwich she became a student representative of her course in her first year of studies as well as a volunteer for a reputable Professor and his distinguished research in understanding the psychological and other factors that drive the skills of ‘super-recognisers’ – individuals with exceptional face recognition skills. Gesmina was assigned to test police officers and others in the laboratories of the University of Greenwich as well as police officers in Stuttgart, Germany as she secured a three-day business trip in 2019 where she helped enter and process participant data into spreadsheets for later analyses. Stuttgart Police have regularly published in the media the work of the super-recognisers identified in those testing sessions as they have since identified many individuals suspected of crimes.
In her final year of her undergraduate degree, Gesmina was employed as a Resident Assistant to help with the social and personal transition of resident students. She took an active role in fostering a good living environment for residents with special regard to student welfare, security, and health & safety. Moreover, she organised and lead on different successful events and activities for resident students.
Once Gesmina started her journey at City, she instantly became involved with the Student’s Union by becoming a student representative of her course while she was also elected as a student Councillor for the School of Arts and Social Sciences. In addition, she took part in the annual telephone fundraising campaign at City University in order to connect with the alumni community, gain valuable skills and raise money for important projects.
Whilst a student, Gesmina would be seen around campus interacting with students and staff. Gesmina was elected as the President of City, University of London Student’s Union on a strong manifesto which focuses on:
- Mitigating the impact of Industrial action on students’ academic studies
- Improving the communication between academics and students while also focusing on increasing the support students receive from their personal tutors
- Increasing the engagement with students via social and inclusive events as well as social collaborations with all the departments at City.
Gesmina is currently the Chair of the Union Board of Trustees and is the official spokesperson of the Union, along with the Deputy Presidents, Aaminah Patel, Sampson Fortune and Yavuz Kafadar. Outside of City, Gesmina enjoys spending her free time lifting weights, running, and cycling around the streets of London, she also enjoys cooking and posting her fitness journey and healthy food recipes on her Instagram page. Gesmina likes to enhance her knowledge by reading different topics around Human rights and Politics as well as watching different political debates, as she has taken part of previous debate competitions in her early academic years.
Ms Mary Luckiram
Mary was appointed as Director of Human Resources in August 2011. Her role spans the full range of HR functions, including Equality and Diversity and Health and Safety. Prior to this she held senior HR roles at St George's, University of London, where, in 2007, she was appointed as Director of Human Resources.
Mary began her HR career at the University of Bristol and worked in a number of public sector roles before returning to work in higher education. She spent 11 years at St George’s leading and developing the HR team.
She is a member of the National Executive of Universities HR, the professional association for HR professionals working in higher education. Mary is currently Chair of the UHR Conference Committee. Mary was appointed as a member of City's Council on 1 August 2014.
Professor Debra Salmon
Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health & Psychological Sciences, joined City, University of London in September 2015. She is Professor of Community Health and completed a BA in Sociology at Warwick University, followed by an MSc in Policy Studies at Bristol University in1996.
During the 1990’s she also completed her health visitor and nurse teacher training at the University Of Wales College Of Medicine, where she worked as a health visitor and lecturer in Cardiff.
In 1998, she moved to UWE, Bristol where she completed a doctorate focused on understanding how mothers and teenage daughters understand and respond to risk, in the context of negotiating independence.
During her time at UWE, Bristol she undertook a number of research and management roles. These included leading the UWE Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group and the South West Region’s HEI response to the Department of Health’s National Health Visitor Implementation Plan (2011-2015).
She was also the Associate Head of a large Nursing and Midwifery Department between 2008 and 2010, which included a period as REF lead for UOA 3.
Her research has focused on researching community health, the needs of ‘hard to reach groups’ and service improvement. In 2010 Debra was awarded a Chair in Nursing and is an invited expert member of the Female Genital Mutilation National Clinical Group and the HEE/NIHR ICA Clinical Lectureship and Senior Clinical Lectureship: Expert Review Panel (2012 to date).
Ms Helen Watson
Helen joined City as Chief Operating Officer in February 2022, after five years at Goldsmiths University of London as Registrar and Secretary.
Previously, she worked for six years at the University of Oxford where she was Director of Planning and Resource Allocation, Head of the Council Secretariat and a Fellow of Exeter College. Before that she worked in a variety of roles at City University London including Head of Administration for the School of Allied Health Sciences and Deputy Academic Registrar; she also set up and led City's Strategy and Planning Unit. Helen read music at Exeter College, Oxford and has a Masters in Higher and Professional Education from the Institute of Education.
Minutes from Council
View our expenses policy for the reimbursement of expenses by Council members.
Each Council sub-committee has delegated authority, terms of reference and membership information as appropriate.