Meet our Executive Leaders

Group CEO

Dr Vishwajeet Rana

Dr Rana completed an MBA from Ohio University and gained an MS and PhD from Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr Rana has executed a number of complex cross-border equity/debt-structured investments and financing transactions in the UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong while working at HSBC’s New York office. He enjoys evaluating different global education models and applying them to unlock the potential of students through Higher Education.

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GBS CEO and Group Chief Academic Officer

Professor Ray Lloyd

Professor Ray Lloyd joined GBS as CEO in September 2020. He was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University and a Head of Department and then a Dean at Abertay University. Professor Lloyd’s first degree was in mathematics, a subject he taught for several years both in London and then Botswana, where he held several positions with Botswana Athletics, including Director of Coaching. He returned to the UK in 1996 to undertake a Master’s degree in Sports Science, later gaining a PhD in the same discipline. His current portfolio spans the academic life of the University including Research, Academic Partnerships, and Student Support.

Executive Board Member

Professor Donald Pennington

Professor Donald Pennington has spent over 30 years working in the UK Higher Education sector. His extensive experience includes quality assurance, quality enhancement, and partnership working. He is currently a reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). Before joining GBS in 2017 as Director of Quality Enhancement, Professor Pennington held senior roles at Coventry University as Pro Vice Chancellor and the Institute of Education, University College London as Director of Quality and Academic Standards.

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Executive Board Member

Dr Melissa Willby

Dr Melissa Willby brings with her 30 years of experience in both the American Study Abroad and UK Higher Education sectors. She is accomplished at developing quality programmes that bring businesses and NGOs into the classroom to enhance learning. Dr Willby was formerly Academic Director of the Mountbatten Program in London, Dean at Hult International Business School, and former Internship Director at Syracuse University’s London campus. In her current capacity as Dean at GBS, Dr Willby is responsible for the School’s academic administration and external relations. She supports and promotes the highest quality educational programmes, research, and public service.

Executive Board Member

Liudmila Umarbaeva

Liudmila Umarbaeva is GBS’s Academic Registrar. Liudmila joined GBS in 2014 and has spent over six years working in the UK Higher Education sector. Her experience includes managing GBS’s quality assurance systems, Home Office and UKVI compliance, as well as governance and HR. Before joining GBS Liudmila was a Quality Officer and lecturer at the Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University Law faculty’s UNESCO Department for Constitutional Law and Gender Policy. Liudmila holds a Bachelor of Laws from the Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University, and has undertaken postgraduate research on the constitutional and legal integration of human rights policies into the healthcare sector. Liudmila also holds an MBA from the University of Gloucestershire.

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Executive Board Member

Leo Falcone

Leo Falcone joined GBS as Managing Director in 2021. He brings a wealth of experience having worked internationally as a strategy, transformation, and higher education leader for over 25 years. His most recent position was as Vice President, Transformation, Strategy and Planning at Richmond at the American International University in London. Leo has taken responsibility at GBS for a broad range of departments including Academic Registry, Student Support Services, Planning, Information and Delivery, Learning Resources and Technology, Information Technology, Estates & Facilities, Campus Operations and others.

Executive Board Member

Professor Donna Whitehead

Professor Whitehead joins GBS from London Metropolitan University in November 2021 where she was Deputy Vice Chancellor. In an illustrious career, Professor Whitehead has held senior positions at the University of the West of England as Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of South Wales as Deputy Dean and University of Sunderland as Team Leader of Law. She also studied at the New York Bar to qualify as an attorney at law in 2009.

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