Executive Recruitment

Board of Governors

Ravensbourne is an independent corporation, established as a Higher Education Corporation under the terms of the Education Reform Act 1988 and the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

The powers of the Higher Education Corporation, as defined in sub-section 124(1) of the Education Act 1988, are

  • to provide higher education;
  • to provide further education;
  • to carry out research and to publish the results of the research or any other material arising out of or connected with it in such manner as the corporation shall see fit.

The Board of Governors is responsible for the determination of the educational character and mission of Ravensbourne and for the oversight of its activities. It has a key role in ensuring the efficient use of resources and the solvency of the institution. Members ensure compliance with the statutes governing the Institution and have an important role in monitoring Ravensbourne’s performance against its strategic plan. The Board approves annual estimates of income and expenditure and sets the framework for the pay and conditions of service of all staff. 

Andrew Summers

Chair of the Board of Governors

Andrew Summers is Chair of the Board of Governors, and was appointed in 2019. He has extensive experience at board level in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors especially in the creative industries and higher education. 
He was previously Chief Executive of the Design Council and, before coming to Ravensbourne, was Deputy Chair of King’s College London. and Chair of Westminster Business School.  
He has been a board member of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, British Trade International and the Small Business Service as well as being Deputy President of the Royal Society of Arts and Companions Chair of the Chartered Management Institute.  His earlier life was in the food industry as Managing Director of Sharwood’s and of RHM Foods.

His other current roles include being Chair of Design Partners and Chair of Barnes Music Festival.  He holds a masters degree from the University of Cambridge and an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster. He was awarded the CMG for his contribution to international business and design.

Dr Kion Ahadi

Board of Governors

Dr Kion Ahadi has significant experience of working within senior leadership teams and using cutting-edge analytics to add value.
He currently works for The Law Society as Director of Futures and Insight, and is responsible for all thought leadership production. This enables The Law Society’s 160,000 plus members remain ahead of market trends.

Kion is an expert at using insight, data, research and evaluation to drive evidence-based decision making, product development and continuous improvement.
He has previously worked in senior positions at The National Lottery Heritage Fund (Lottery distributor), Nesta (an innovation thinktank), and Creative Skillset (the industry-led skills body for the creative industries).

As Director of Research and Evaluation at Creative Skillet, Kion engaged with, influenced, and maintained relationships at the highest levels, while also acquiring expert knowledge of the higher education, employment, and skills environment across the UK.
He is particularly proud of insight he led to help develop programmes equipping graduates with the skills needed to enter jobs in the creative industries.
Kion holds a PhD in Sociology, an MSc in International Business (with Distinction), and a first class honours degree in Business Economics. He has also authored a bestselling science fiction novel Exit Darkness, Enter Light.

Zaid Al‑Zaidy

Board of Governors

Zaid is a brand and communications expert with over two decades of experience across some of the world’s most iconic brands, both client and agency-side.
At Unilever, Zaid helped make dreams come true with the promise of the Lynx Effect. Over in adland, the scent of success followed him across senior strategic roles at some of the world’s most prestigious agencies including Mother, TBWA and McCann London, where he was CEO.
Zaid is a huge believer that in marketing every touchpoint matters and it’s no surprise therefore, that in 2018 he co-founded The Beyond Collective, a micro-network of specialist agencies spanning strategy, design, advertising, media, social and production, where he is currently the Group CEO.

As well as being a Governor at Ravensbourne University, Zaid is an elected member of the Council at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and appears regularly as advisor to Alan Sugar on The Apprentice.
He holds two master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Shoku Amirani

Board of Governors

Shoku Amirani a bilingual Radio producer at the BBC with almost two decades of broadcasting experience.

Over the years, she has produced flagship Radio 4 programmes such as Woman’s Hour and Last Word, as well as originating critically acclaimed Documentaries for Radio 4 and the World Service which have been nominated for Awards.  
Alongside her programme-making career, she is a passionate advocate and champion for diversity, inclusion and positive lasting change. She is working to remove barriers to progression so that everyone can thrive, irrespective of gender, race or background.
She regards Employee Resource Groups as agents of change and has run two BBC staff networks.

Shoku recently stepped down as the Chair of BBC Embrace, the award winning staff network for Black, Asian and Ethnic minority staff which she led since 2018. She has been at the forefront of spearheading change and helped to shape industry leading recommendations as part of the BBC’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy.    

Shoku sits as an Advisor on the BBC Editorial Standards Senior Leadership Team. She has produced thought leadership seminars for the European Broadcasting Union and One World Media addressing the media coverage of refugees and minorities.
She has also served on the judging panel for the 2019 UK Diversity Legal Awards.

Originally from Iran, Shoku is a fluent Farsi speaker and holds a BA Honours degree in Philosophy from King’s College London. In her spare time she enjoys cooking or watching cookery programmes!

Kate GregoryLLB

Board of Governors

Kate Gregory is a commercial lawyer with 25 years of experience in both the public and private sector.

She is currently a non-executive director and audit committee chair at manufacturing company, The Symphony Group PLC.
She is also a trustee at The College of General Dentistry, a charity set up to support dentists in general practice. Kate also acts as an advisor to various start-ups and small businesses, helping to shape the strategy and business models.

She brings to the board her legal experience and expertise in governance, regulation, risk management and commercial partnering gained in the education, aviation, and health sectors.  
Previously she led legal teams at the awarding body Edexcel, at National Air Traffic Services Ltd during its partial privatisation, and was lead procurement lawyer on the Department of Health’s £3.5 billion surgical procedures procurement programme.

Kate began her career as a solicitor at Allen & Overy. She has a law degree from Queen Mary College, London.

Professor Helen Higson

Board of Governors

Helen has worked in Higher Education since 1983, first at Southampton University and then at Aston. Until March 2021 Helen was Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Aston University, currently she is Professor of Higher Education Learning and Management, and Associate Dean of Accreditations at Aston Business School.

Helen was Head of Learning and Teaching at Aston Business School. She is a National Teaching Fellow (NTF) and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA). Her current research includes intercultural and employability competencies and how to make education more inclusive.  She is a qualified coach.
Helen contributed a chapter to the 2012 Wilson Review on University/Business relations. She was awarded the OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to Higher Education.

In 2016 Helen appointed member to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) panel, and has been deputy Chair of the Subject Main Panel.

In 2017 Helen was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for the West Midlands, and is currently Vice Lord-Lieutenant.

Dr Jon Walmsley

Board of Governors

Jon has a background in publishing and has had a series of leadership roles driving rapid growth and transformation, especially via strategic partnerships.

At publishing company, Wiley Jon served as managing director of a £200M international business through a period of rapid digital development.

He has wide board and governance experience in a range of contexts including chairing international subsidiaries. Jon is currently a Non-executive Director at Hertfordshire Partnership NHS University Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services. He served on the council of the Publishers Association, chairing one of the boards and championing the interests of one of Britain’s most important creative industries.

Jon is also an active investor in start-up companies with environmental and social elements via membership of the Green Angel Syndicate and Mustard Seed network. He has volunteered with and fundraises for the charity Cricket Without Boundaries, which promotes gender equality and awareness of HIV and FGM. He is also a trustee of Accumulate, a youth homelessness charity.

Noeline Sanders

Audit Chair

Noeline has over 25 years of financial and operational leadership and is currently Chief Financial Officer at Digital Catapult, UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre.

Originally from Sri Lanka, she qualified as a Chartered accountant with Ernst & Young UK and has since worked in senior leadership positions with startups and international corporations mainly in the Technology sector.

Her early career as Finance Director for Apple Computer UK and current role with Digital Catapult has inculcated a passion for organisations that are innovative enablers for disruptive products and business models.

Noeline serves on the Audit Committee of the Royal Institute of British Architects ( RIBA), as a trustee of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace, London and volunteers with a number of organisations committed to social transformation. She also currently mentors a couple of Technology start- ups on strategy and finance. Noeline enjoys choral singing in her spare time.

Lee Wilkinson

Board of Governors

Lee has worked in digital media for over 20 years leading some of the worlds best media product development teams.

He is currently the Director of Product and Technology at DC Thomson, leading DC Thomson's Technology, Product Development and Design teams, delivering products and services to delight DC Thomson's customers worldwide.

DC Thomson is a UK Media company that has a portfolio of companies and brands that includes Stylist, Beano, FindMyPast, Puzzler and a number of market leading magazines and Scottish regional media titles.

Lee has previously held product, design, technology and strategy roles at Conde Nast, Financial Times, News UK and Hearst, and is a UK STEM ambassador.

He has also held visiting lecturer positions for eMBA and MBA courses, specialising in sharing how digital disruption has impacted the creative industries.

Stephen Woodford

Board of Governors

Stephen was appointed CEO of the Advertising Association in September 2016.

The Advertising Association’s mission is to promote the role and rights of responsible advertising and its value to people, society, business and the economy.
Prior to joining the AA, Stephen held management roles in four advertising agency groups (Leo Burnett, WCRS/Engine and DDB/adam&eveDDB and Next 15 plc).
He also currently chairs youth marketing agency Livity, a social purpose-driven creative business that seeks to transform young peoples’ lives, especially from BAME backgrounds.

Past Board roles include Deputy Chair of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Chairman, Changing Faces, a facial disfigurement charity.

Stephen is also a past President of NABS, the National Advertising Benevolent Society and is on the board of the History of Advertising Trust.

He was IPA President (2003-05) where he introduced professional qualifications for new advertising industry entrants, which over 20,000 people have passed in the UK and around the world.

Lizbeth Goodman
BA, MA, MLitt, PhD, FRSA

Board of Governors

Lizbeth Goodman (BA, MA, MLitt, PhD, FRSA) is Chair of Creative Technology Innovation and Full Professor of Inclusive Design for Engineering and Education at University College Dublin (Ireland), where she directs the Inclusive Design Research Centre of Ireland in collaboration with SMARTlab (which she directs and founded 29 years ago).

She is Programme Director for the interdisciplinary Thematic PhD spanning all eight University College Dublin colleges and disciplines.
She has held a Personal Chair in Creative Technology Innovation, with a focus on interdisciplinary practice-based research into the future of Inclusive Interdisciplinary Research and Cross-sectoral Impact, since 2005.

Lizbeth previously served as Research Director for Futurelab and as Academic Chair of the Marie Curie ASSISTID Programme. She was elected to chair the Social Sciences Panel of the Royal Irish Academy in 2012.

In 2018, she was named Director of the Academy4theFuture and Co-Director of the BeEarth VR Experience with XR Impact and the UN IGO for Sustainability. In 2019 she was named Woman of the Decade in Innovation for Education by WEF, and led awards ceremonies at DAVOS and at the UN in New York.
In April 2020, she was elected to Chair the Women in Science and Technology Leadership Taskforce for the Intelligence in Science Forum EU-Africa. In 2021 she was elected to become the global lead for STEM and STEAM Education as part of the WEF G100 Council.

She has supervised 58 PhDs to successful completion, and currently directs studies for 30 PhDs and Postdoc researchers. She has held many senior leadership positions in universities and third sector agencies.

She has held numerous major awards and grants from research councils, industry and philanthropic sources. Her life’s work is focused on the interdisciplinary open source collaboration models that empower and support learners of all ages and abilities at every level, leading on the education systems and workforce opportunities of the future.

Richard Bee

Chair of the Finance Committee

Richard holds a degree in law from the University of Manchester and is a chartered accountant.  Following training with KPMG, he has spent the majority of his career in commercial finance and is currently Supply Chain Finance Director at Dr. Martens, the iconic British boot and shoe brand.  He has previously held senior finance roles at Burberry, Diageo and Procter & Gamble.

He is a governor and chair of the Finance and Premises sub-committee at Sibford School in Oxfordshire and has previously served as a parish councillor.  He lives with his family near Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Andy Cook
BA BSc (Hons) PGCE

Vice Chancellor

Andy Cook is Ravensbourne University London’s Vice Chancellor, holding responsibility for overseeing the strategic direction of the University. 

In this capacity, Andy has focused on the key priorities of delivering an exceptional learning experience and ensuring a compelling offer for student recruitment. 

Andy has also been leading the institution towards identifying opportunities for diversification and collaboration at the intersection of creativity and technology.

Joining Ravensbourne in 2018, he holds considerable experience in the higher education sector, previously working in strategic management roles at a number of UK universities.

He held the position of Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer at the University of East London and was formerly Deputy IT Director at the University of Southampton.

Having entered the education field after retraining as a secondary school teacher, Andy previously spent ten years working in business development in the media sector. He secured a grant from the Prince’s Youth Trust after completing his degree, establishing his own video production company, Stimulus Communications.

Following this, Andy took on an executive role at Mayking Multi Media, a record label responsible for releasing formative works by the likes of Björk and DJ Shadow.

Andy holds a BSc Honour’s degree in Applied Physics from the University of Portsmouth as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from King’s College London.

Staff Governors

Zahra Shahsavari

President, Students’ Union 2021/22

Zahra Shahsavari is the elected President of the Students' Union 2021/22.

She graduated with a First from the BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course at Ravensbourne. During her time at the University she worked as a student ambassador and a Kit Store student helper.

Within her course, she specialised in directing and on her most recent project she worked with Amazon and Barnardos to create a short film highlighting the negative effects of LGBT+ individuals living at home when their parents don't accept them.

She also took part in freelance work as a makeup artist for film and television, working on a range of music videos and short film sets in and around London.

Her background from the North West of England and Iran sparks a deep interest in learning about new cultures and Middle Eastern food and language. In her free time, she loves to read and expand her knowledge of film and makeup artistry.

Alberto Villanueva

Associate Programme Director and Course Leader
Elected Academic Governor

Alberto is an architect and senior academic at Ravensbourne, where he leads the Department of Architecture.

His academic and professional projects cover various scales and project approaches in architecture, design and engineering, including projects in places such as Spain, South Korea, China, Slovenia, Italy, France, the United Arab Emirates, the United States or even the planet Mars. This latest is where he developed his first environmental research, Mars UTOPIA, which investigated the possibilities of 3D printing and new materials in the colonisations of the planet Mars as a solution to generate architectures in extreme environments due to climate change. Outstanding project by the Royal Academy of Arts and published by Dezeen, Designboom or Archdaily, among other recognised publications. As a result of this, in September 2017, he was appointed as Spanish Ambassador for Science to the United Kingdom, a program that combines diplomacy, science and technology.

After exploring different academic and industry opportunities across Europe, Alberto started his professional practice in Madrid a decade ago, where he established IDEA architecture office. An interdisciplinary studio collaborating with architecture offices and the public sector, offering consultancy services in technical and innovative concepts around digital crafting, sustainability and social impact.

Since then, Alberto has been immersed in new academic challenges around teaching, learning and leadership in Higher Education. Successfully achieving unprecedented positive results on student experience.

Alberto is a registered architect (ARB) and also a fellow in institutions such as HEA (Higher Education Academy) or RSA (Royal Society of Arts), honours that have allowed him to collaborate with some of the most recognised professionals in design, creativity and technology industries.

Clerk to the board

Chris Costigan
LLB (Hons), Barrister, FHEA

University secretary and chief compliance officer

Christopher Costigan is Ravensbourne University London’s University Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer. In this role he is responsible for all aspects of board governance as well as academic governance, quality assurance and for the monitoring and management of the University’s compliance with a range of external regulators, including OfS, QAA, ESFA, Ofsted, UKVI, OIA and HESA. Christopher is also the University’s DPO.

Christopher started his career in HE as a law lecturer at BPP University in 2005, becoming a senior lecturer (2007) and then taking on module and programme leadership and concluding his academic career as Director of Study Abroad Programmes. During this time Christopher edited and co-wrote several textbooks on law and wrote a chapter in the first edition of Geach, N and Monaghan, C’s Dissenting Judgments in the Law. In 2011, Christopher moved into the university’s central leadership team and took on roles such as Director of Special Projects and Associate Dean (Partnerships). In those roles Christopher co-led the founding of BPP University’s School of Health; as well as establishing and executing a global partnership strategy. During that time, he also achieved a PGCert in the Management of International HE, and he still regularly sits on partnership approval panels for universities. In 2019, Christopher was appointed Dean of Academic Quality at BPP University and joined the executive team of the University and the senior leadership team of the BPP Education Group. In that role Christopher was responsible for governance, quality assurance and compliance with a range of regulatory regimes, including OfS, QAA, ESFA, Ofsted and the OIA across the BPP Education Group. During his tenure Christopher successfully led three ESFA audits, five Ofsted inspections (as nominee) and successfully wrote BPP University’s application for permanent degree awarding powers, the first University in the country to achieve this.

Outside of work Christopher is active in the higher education sector and sits on the board of trustees of the University College of Estate Management (since 2017), the board of directors of the University College of Osteopathy (since 2021), the audit and risk committee of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (since 2020), the Strategic Advisory Group (Governance) of Advance HE (Since 2021), and acts as an external observer of barrister qualifying sessions for the Council of the Inns of Court (since 2020). Previously, Christopher was Deputy Chair of the University of Salford Students’ Union (2017-18) and a Member (2010-2013) and subsequently Chair (2011-12) of an Independent Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police on LGBT issues.