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.
She is also Chair of Mines Advisory Group and a trustee of other significant non-profit organisations.
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.
Professor Robert Allison CBE
Professor Robert Allison has held senior leadership roles in a number of top UK universities, most recently (2012 to 2021) as the Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough.
During Professor Allison's time at Loughborough, the University rose up into the top 10 in every national league table and named University of the Year an unparalleled five times. He oversaw significant expansion, which included opening the University's London campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and developing the UK's most rapidly growing Science and Enterprise Park. Bob was the driving force behind the Loughborough student experience, widely recognised as one of the best in the UK.
Since stepping down from his role at Loughborough University, Bob has developed a portfolio of responsibilities, including appointments as a Trustee of The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the St Philip’s Centre, Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Air Ambulance Service and Children’s Air Ambulance and Senior Non-Executive Member of Chapter at Leicester Cathedral. He was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Leicestershire in 2022.
During his career Bob received the Cuthbert Peek Award from the Royal Geographical Society, the Charles Lyell Award from the British Association of the Advancement of Science and the Jan de Ploey Prize from the International Association of Geomorphologists. He was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Council for Advancement and Support in Education in 2019 and was appointed Commander of the British Empire in 2021 for services to education and supporting young people’s talent, equality and achievement.
In his spare time Bob is a keen gardener and mountain biker.
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.
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.
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.
Professor Sir Eric Thomas
Sir Eric Thomas was knighted for services to Higher Education in 2013. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 2001 to 2015. He was President of Universities UK from 2001 to 2013 and Chair of the Worldwide University Network from 2003 to 2007. He chaired the Government Taskforce into Increasing Voluntary Donations to Higher Education which reported in 2004, the so-called Thomas Report.
He graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1976 becoming a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist specializing in Reproductive Medicine in 1987 until 2001. He was Head of the School of Medicine and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton from 1995 to 2000.
He is currently Patron of The Conversation UK, a trustee of HRH Commonwealth Study Conferences and the Moorfields Eye Charity being Chair of its Fundraising Committee. He is on the International Advisory Board for Ashinaga, a large Japanese educational charity
He is married with two grown up children and three grand children.
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 Akanksha Kumar
Akanksha was elected as the President of City, University of London Students' Union in July 2023.
Professor Elisabeth Hill
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).
Professor Andre Spicer
Andre Spicer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour. He is an expert in leadership, corporate social responsibility and organisational theory. As Dean of Bayes, he focuses on strategic oversight of the School, faculty issues, working with the wider university, and representing Bayes in many external forums.
He is a member of City University's senior leadership team. He previously led the Faculty of Management, the largest department at the University.
Andre joined Bayes in 2011 and took up the role of Dean in January 2022.
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.