International Advisory Board

International Advisory Board | Leeds University Business School | University of Leeds

Leeds University Business School receives external guidance and support from its International Advisory Board (IAB).

The experience and expertise of our IAB members reflect our international aspirations, our connectivity with private and public sector, and our desire to provide students with an inspiring and world class learning experience.

Board members volunteer their time to support Business School projects and initiatives.

The role of the International Advisory Board

  • Providing independent external advice, through its board meetings and engagement with projects and new initiatives.
  • Assisting in developing corporate and institutional relationships nationally and internationally.
  • Helping to increase contributions of practitioners into research and learning and teaching, including direct contact with our academic staff and students.

Board members

IAB members have experience across industry sectors, international markets and functional disciplines. They are all passionate about management education and Leeds. Find out more about each of our International Advisory Board members and the organisations they are involved with.

Gaenor Bagley - Former Head of Corporate Purpose at PwC

Gaenor has been a partner at PwC for over 15 years. She is the Former Head of Corporate Purpose at PwC. Now retired, she was responsible for convening PwC's work around trust and corporate responsibility. Prior to this Gaenor spent five years as Head of People on the Executive Board of PwC, responsible for all HR matters for the 19,000 employees of PwC in the UK, including recruitment, training, performance management and engagement.  

As a client partner, Gaenor specialises in M&A and private equity tax, and was market leader for M&A tax between 2008 and 2011. Gaenor graduated from Cambridge University with a first class degree in Mathematics and Management. She trained in audit and spent three years in an investment bank corporate finance team before joining the tax department of PwC in 1992.

Paolo Boccardelli - Dean, Director of the Research Centre for Business Transformation and Professor of Management and Corporate Strategy at LUISS Business School in Rome

Paolo Boccardelli is the Dean, Director of the Research Centre for Business Transformation and Professor of Management and Corporate Strategy at LUISS Business School in Rome

Paolo is an expert on development and implementation of quality standards in planning and implementation of organisational changes, leadership and organisation in higher education, university adaptation and change, international and comparative higher education, globalisation of higher education systems, and knowledge management. During his tenure as Dean, LUISS Business School has achieved the EQUIS accreditation and is going through AACSB. Furthermore, the School is now responsible for the Italian Chapter of PRME (United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education).

Paolo sits on many advisory boards, steering groups and committees, both in Italy and further afield, including EFMD where he is a member of the EQUIS Committee and an Advisor of Quality Services and Processes to schools going through EQUIS accreditation for the first time.

Metka Tekavcic - Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana

Professor Metka Tekavčič was named Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana (FELU) in 2013. From 2001 to 2007 Professor Tekavčič was Vice-Dean at the FELU. From 1999 to 2001 she was also the Head of the Academic Unit of Management and Organization.

Her research interest lies in the fields of cost and performance management, as well as non-profit and especially education management. Professor Tekavčič has attended many international conferences, where she has presented papers from her research areas. She has published several research articles in Slovene, other European, and US peer-reviewed journals. She is a member of editorial boards in several prominent journals from her research field.

Professor Tekavčič is president of the FELU’s Senate and the Head of the Institute for Management and Organization. In 2014 she was awarded the Artemida award for Women's Excellence in Management.

From 1992 till 2013 she was a member of the City Council of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She has long been and remains a member of the supervisory boards of many important Slovenian companies and other institutions.

In 2016, the Dean Tekavčič was appointed as a member of the EQUIS Accreditation Board, run by European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), the leading international network for management development.

Since 2017, Professor Tekavčič has also served as a member of the AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Initial Accreditation Committee and a member the and European Advisory Council (EAC).

In addition to her work, she is a vice-dean of Challenge:Future, a global youth a global think-DO-tank.

Stephanie Burras - Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership

Stephanie Burras is the Founder and Chief Executive of Ahead Partnership, a social enterprise that furthers social and economic wellbeing in Leeds and the surrounding region, by enabling the public, private and third sectors to work together in very practical ways.

A graduate in languages, Stephanie qualified as a commercial solicitor, starting out in the City before moving to Leeds and becoming a partner in the international law firm, Pinsent Masons. She dual-qualified as a lawyer in Germany in 2000 as well as a professional translator.

Stephanie left law in 2004 and set up Leeds Ahead as a new-start business and has since grown it to a team of 13. The team mobilises the voluntary resources of hundreds of different businesses and employers in the public and private sectors each year. Leeds Ahead acts as the vital link and catalyst to practical action, supporting business growth and new-starts, improving educational achievement, tackling the causes of economic inactivity and strengthening local neighbourhoods and communities.

Stephanie sits on the Leeds Initiative's Economy and Skills Partnership, the University of Leeds Enterprise Centre Board, the Board of Leeds Law Society and is a trustee at St George's Crypt, a Leeds-based charity that supports the homeless.

In 2011 Stephanie was appointed to the Board of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Stephanie is one of nine private sector representatives appointed to the Board.

Read more on the Ahead Partnership website


Denise Collis - Deputy Chair of the Board and most recently, Chief People Officer, Bupa

Denise is Deputy Chair of the Board.

Denise's most recent executive role was as Chief People Officer for Bupa, the global healthcare business, and she has now commenced the next phase of her career as a non-executive director. She has recently joined the board of Connect Group PLC, is a member of the advisory boards to both Leeds and Exeter University Business Schools and also the Chair of the Remuneration Committee for the British Heart Foundation.

Prior to joining Bupa, Denise ran her own business, and before this she was the Group HR Director for 3i Group PLC, the FTSE 100 private equity company. She has a strong 'blue chip' background, and sector experience in manufacturing, financial services, professional services and healthcare, including roles at Ford Motor Company, Arthur Andersen, Midland Bank/HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank. She was also an equity partner with EY LLP.

Denise has a diploma in business coaching and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

She is an English graduate from the University of Leeds. 

Emily Cummins - Inventor

When I was four, my Grandad gave me a hammer and began to teach me how to make toys from scraps of materials found in his garden shed. I loved the fact that we could make something out of seemingly random bits, and my interest in sustainable design was born. As I got older I learnt about the properties of different materials and became more experienced in using a range of tools.

My latest innovation is a sustainable fridge which is 'powered' by dirty water but keeps medicines or small food items clean, dry and cool. I refined my fridge during a gap year in Namibia and then decided to give away the design plans in townships across southern Africa because I wanted to enable as many people as possible to build their own fridges.

My design philosophy involves a back-to-basics approach which keeps an eye on the past as well as the future and combines the best of both. I'm motivated by human need as well as sustainability principles. My creative thinking has, amazingly, led to a string of commendations including being named as one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young People in the World 2010, The Barclays Woman of the Year Award 2009 and Cosmopolitan magazine's Ultimate Save-the-Planet Pioneer 2008.

Suparna Das - Consultant, NHS

Suparna is an MBA 2008 alumna of Leeds University Business School and an NHS consultant anaesthetist practising in London. She has an MSc in Medical Education and was Programme Director for junior doctors undertaking Foundation Training immediately after graduating from medical school. 

Suparna has also served as a statutory member on the governing bodies of NHS Southend and NHS Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Essex between 2012 -16. The remit of this Board-level role was to provide scrutiny of corporate and clinical governance as well as expertise on the quality and safety of clinical services commissioned by the CCG. She was Chair of the CCG's Quality, Finance and Performance Committees and a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Between 2007–11, Suparna took a break from her career in hospital medicine to, complete an MBA; lead the implementation of the Healthcare for London stroke strategy in South London; and work as a management consultant with EY (formerly Ernst & Young). She also co-founded e3 intelligence Ltd, a UK healthcare consultancy that provides management advisory services. 

Suparna joined the International Advisory Board in 2014.

Alison Haynes - Former Equity Tax Partner at Deloitte

After 20 fantastic years with Deloitte I retired as an equity tax partner on 31st May 2015. I had a strong desire to do things differently at this this time in my career and to embrace new challenges and opportunities. I am now building a portfolio around "in house" tax positions and NED roles.

I am the Director of Tax for Everton Football Club, a varied and part time role which I am thoroughly enjoying. In addition I am a NED with Kids Allowed, an award winning nursery group based in the north west as well as being the Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of Mid Cheshire College.

My professional and executive career was in providing strategic advice to businesses primarily regarding UK and international tax matters for their employees, investigations and transactions. I have led and grown dynamic teams and have extensive experience of dealing with diverse business challenges through disparate economic situations, and have gained extensive commercial perspective and insight.

Throughout my career I have worked extensively with inspirational and outstanding leaders, some of whom were colleagues and others clients, including entrepreneurs and FTSE 100 directors. My sector expertise includes, manufacturing, retail, pharmaceutical, telecoms, consumer, agriculture, education and healthcare.

In 2015 I was named by Cranfield School of Management as one of the "100 Women to Watch" and in 2016 participated in the Deloitte Women on Boards Programme.

I am the author of the book "Childcare Choices and Costs" which was published by Spiramus in May 2015.

Gareth Jones - Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid, Spain; Fellow of the Centre for Management Development, London Business School; Founding Partner of Creative Management Associates (CMA)

Gareth’s career has spanned both the academic and business worlds. He began as a University academic in Economic and Social Studies at the University of East Anglia before moving to London Business School, where he joined the Organisational Behaviour Group. During this period he directed the School’s Accelerated Development Programme. At this point the attractions of a 'real' job in business proved too great and he joined Polygram and was appointed Senior Vice President for Polygram’s global human resources. In 1996 he reverted to academia when he became the BT Professor of Organisational Development at Henley, where he also served on the Board of Governors.

Gareth’s most recent job was as Director of Human Resources and Internal Communications at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Gareth’s research interests are in organisational design, culture, leadership and change. He has published several books, with co-author Rob Goffee, including “The Character of a Corporation”, “Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?” and “Clever, leading your smartest, most creative people”. His new book, also co-authored with Rob Goffee, “Why Should Anyone Work Here?” was published by Harvard in late 2015. Articles have appeared in the European Management Journal, in Human Relations, Management Today and in the Harvard Business Review, two of which have won the McKinsey prize for the best articles in Harvard Business Review.  

He is a founding partner of Creative Management Associates (CMA) and is the proud owner of an honorary doctorate from his home County of Glamorgan.

Ralph Kugler - Chairman Cognita Schools and Board Advisor Mars Incorporated

Ralph Kugler is Chair of the International Advisory Board.

Ralph has over 25 years' experience at the highest levels of business globally. Ralph is Chairman of two companies: Cognita Schools; and Headbox.

Ralph is a Board Advisor at Mars and he is also on the Board Remuneration Committee. He is a Non-Executive Director at Spotless SAS and at Gorkana Group Limited. Ralph is a Senior Advisor for 3i. He is also a Board Trustee at the David Rattray Memorial Trust.

Previously, Ralph was an Executive Director on the main boards of Unilever PLC and Unilever NV, and Non-Executive Director on the board of InterContinental Hotels Group PLC. At Unilever, he was Global President of the €19 billion home and personal care categories. His prior experience at Unilever includes being President of large regional Unilever businesses (first Latin America, then Europe) and Chairman and CEO of Unilever Thailand and Unilever Malaysia.

In 1999, he was appointed Commander of the Royal Order of the Direkgunaborn, a Thai royal honour. Ralph lives in London.

Victor Loewenstein - Retired Partner Egon Zehnder International

Victor had a longstanding career at Egon Zehnder International which led to Senior International Executive positions including partner, member of the Executive Committee and member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Mr Loewenstein retired from Egon Zehnder International in 2003 and currently resides in Brussels, Belgium.

In addition, Victor was also a member of the Board of Directors of Principal Financial Group, a leading US Insurance company, headquartered in Des Moines (Iowa) for 13 years.

A graduate from Edinburgh University (B.Com.’60), Victor began his professional career as elected Secretary-General of AIESEC (Association International des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales), then headquartered in Geneva (1961-1962). Thereafter, he became Sales and Marketing Manager of Wynlit Pharmaceuticals, based in Zurich (1963-1969).

Victor is currently a board member of Banco Santander (Private Banking) Switzerland, in Geneva. In addition, he is on the Supervisory Board of AIESEC-International, Rotterdam (NL) and is currently engaged in personal consultancy and tuition projects.

Professor Joseph Pistrui - Professor of Entrepreneurial Management, IE Madrid

Joseph Pistrui is Professor of Entrepreneurial Management at IE Business School based in Madrid, Spain.  was previously the Dean for Executive Education. Joseph also serves as the Executive Director of International Custom Programs and was previously the Dean for Executive Education. 

Joseph holds academic positions across the globe, including a visiting fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences and membership of the Duke Corporate Education Global Learning Resource Network, where he acts as a subject-matter expert for custom executive education programmes. 

Joseph has advised on executive education to companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, Microsoft, AstraZeneca, Siemens and Bosch.

Before pursuing his successful academic career, Professor Pistrui had a 15 year career in sales and marketing management in the consumer products industry, mostly with Bristol-Myers Squibb in the US.


The Business School is growing from strength to strength. As Board members, we are able contribute to the School’s strategy and ensure its relevancy within the fast-paced ‘real’ world of business. Both student numbers and research income have grown significantly since 2008. The School holds ambitious plans for the next five years and I am really looking forward to chairing the IAB and seeing the School continue to flourish.

Ralph Kugler, Chair of the IAB