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New governors join Board at Beckett

Leeds Beckett University has welcomed seven new Governors to its board.

Leeds Beckett University Portland building

Alan Gay OBE, Qari Asim MBE, Dr Andrew West, Jo Fox, and Sharon Watson, have all been appointed independent governors while Charlie Hind and Sherry Iqbal are the new student governors on the university’s board.

David Lowen, Chair of the Board of Governors, said: “We are delighted to welcome the new governors to the board, all of whom have great qualities, experience and enthusiasm that they will bring to provide support and scrutiny to the benefit of the University in an increasingly complex and competitive higher education landscape."

Qari Asim MBE is a Legal Director at a global law firm DLA Piper. He is a senior Imam at Makkah Mosque in Leeds and Deputy Chair of Government’s Anti-Muslim Hatred/ Islamophobia Working Group as well as Chair of Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, and senior editor of Imams Online.  He is also trustee of the think tank British Future and the charities Peace Matters and Hope not Hate, and Christian Muslim Forum. He is an executive board member of National Council of Imams & Rabbis, a director of Forum for Promoting Peace (London) and one of the faith advisors to the Near Neighbours programme. Qari was awarded an honorary doctorate from the university in 2014. Passionate about diversity, Qari is a member of ITV Yorkshire’s Diversity Group, on the advisory panel of Oxfam and on the regional leadership board of Mosaic, a charity founded by HRH Prince of Wales, to inspire young people to realise their potential. Qari’s term of office is 1 July 2019 to 31 August 2020.

Jo Fox is Marketing Director for Sky’s Entertainment, Sports and Cinema content. In her 11 years at Sky she has also worked in Corporate Affairs responsible for corporate social responsibility programs and partnerships, as well as a role as Brand and Communications Director at NOWTV, Sky’s streaming service. Prior to Sky, Jo worked as Head of Communications at the Environment Agency and held multiple senior political advisory positions in Australian Government and Opposition, as well as working in the non-government sector for various Australian indigenous organisations in environmental management and social justice. Jo’s term of office is 1 July 2019 to 31 August 2021.

Sharon Watson is the artistic director of Phoenix Dance Theatre. She trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, she was one of the first female Principal Dancers invited to join the all-male award-winning Phoenix Dance Company, touring with the company from 1989 to 1997 where she choreographed Never Still and Shaded Limits. Having left Phoenix to pursue a number of other ventures including setting up her own company ABCD, and lecturing at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance for six years, she returned in 2009 as the new Artistic Director.  Sharon was Yorkshire Woman of the Year in 2017, was named 2018 First English Woman’s award for Arts and Culture and is in the Top 50 Power List of the Northern Power Women Awards and Chair of Leeds 2023. Sharon is an alumna of Leeds Beckett, holding an MA in performance art from Leeds Beckett, and she was awarded an honorary doctorate at the university’s July 2019 graduation. Sharon’s term of office is 1 July 2019 to 31 August 2022.

Dr Andrew West is former University Secretary at the University of Sheffield, where he provided advice and support to the University’s Council and governance structure, working closely with the University Executive Board. Andrew’s career in Higher Education spans nearly 30 years, including 11 years leading academic and student related services, encompassing academic governance. Andrew is a former Chair of AMOSSHE – the professional association for higher education student affairs. Other previous appointments include membership of the executive of IASAS – a global student services organisation. From 2011-16 Andrew served as a member of the governing Council of Westcott House, a Theological College at the University of Cambridge. He is also a former Trustee of the Students’ Union at Liverpool Hope University.  Andrew is now a consultant in HE sector and strategic adviser to the Association of University Administrators, managing consultant for AUA Consulting, and a fellow of the Halpin Partnership. Andrew’s term of office is 1 July 2019 to 31 August 2022.

Alan Gay OBE is an alumnus of the university, graduating from Leeds Beckett’s predecessor Leeds Polytechnic in 1978 with a BA(Hons) in Economics and Public Policy. He is a qualified accountant and worked for 39 years in local government before he retired in 2017. He held the position of statutory chief financial officer at Leeds City Council for 18 years, and in addition was deputy chief executive from 2009 until his retirement. During that period his responsibilities included finance, human resources, ICT, corporate strategy and a range of other business support activities. He is also a trustee and board member of the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Company Limited. Alan’s term of office is 22 May 2019 to 31 August 2022.

Charlie Hind, student governor, was appointed to the Board of Governors following his election as union affairs officer of Leeds Beckett’s Students’ Union - Charlie is responsible for acting in the best interest of students at Leeds Beckett University and this is his second year in office. Charlie’s term of office on the Board is 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Sherry Iqbal joins Charlie as a student governor following her election as education officer in the Students’ Union. As education officer, Sherry is responsible for all areas relating to the educational experience of students at Leeds Beckett University and this is her first year in office. Sherry studied a BSc (Hons) in Speech and Language Therapy. As a student she was an active member of the Students’ Union and held positions including president of the Speech and Language Therapy Society and Islamic Society, the BAME students’ rep, vice-chair of Student Council and school rep. Before coming to Leeds Beckett, Sherry deferred her entry year twice to take up the elected position of Students' Union President at Middlesbrough College. Sherry’s term of office is 01 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.

Jack Harrison (student governor and former SU President) and Les Everett and Dr David Fletcher (independent governors) have all come to the end of their tenure.

For further details please contact Ian Rosser in the communications team at Leeds Beckett on 0113 812 5569 / 0790 5055 163 or email i.rosser@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.     

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