‘Great minds’ from academia, industry and business join Imperial’s Council


Imperial College London's Main Entrance

Imperial has appointed four new members to its governing Council, and a new Chair of its Finance Committee.

These great minds bring a formidable wealth of expertise to the College at a critical time John Allan Chair of Council

The new Council members include Subhanu Saxena of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Deepak Khanna of biopharma co MSD, Tristan Capital Markets founder Ric Lewis, and medical and university leader Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. Dr Mahnaz Safa, a current member of Council, becomes Chair of the Finance Committee.  

John Allan, Chair of Imperial’s Council, said: “These great minds bring a formidable wealth of expertise to the College at a critical time in its governance. Their deep understanding of education, science, industry and business means that Council is ideally placed to help Imperial navigate the challenges and opportunities we face in the wake of the pandemic. I am very grateful to them for lending their knowledge, experience and diverse perspectives." 

Executive oversight 

Council is the governing and executive body of Imperial, with ultimate responsibility for the finance, property, investment and general business of the College and for setting its strategic direction. Council also appoints the President and is responsible for conferring honorary degrees.  

Dr Mahnaz Safa: finance chief, diversity champion 

Dr Mahnaz Safa
Dr Mahnaz Safa

Dr Mahnaz Safa, a current member of Council, has been appointed to Chair of the Finance Committee - one of the six committees overseen by Council at Imperial.   

The Finance Committee considers the College's long term financial plans and its financial operations, as well as considering risks related to liquidity, debt, resource allocation, and financial contingencies.  

Dr Safa, an Imperial graduate with a PhD in Engineering has 30 years experience in finance. She is serving on the Board of Jefferies International Ltd. She headed Markets, Europe and America, at ANZ. She also served as a managing director at Citi EMEA Banking and at UBS where she led the EMEA Debt Capital Markets business.  

Dr Safa is the Champion for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion on Imperial’s Council and has previously co-chaired UBS and Citi’s women’s leadership executive committees, as well as promoting STEM initiatives in education.   

Dr Safa said: “We are committed to improving diversity among Council's external members and I am heartened to see that we are making progress in that respect. We must do more to further improve diversity at all levels at Imperial, our leadership, work, and community will be stronger for it." 

Subhanu Saxena 

Subhanu Saxena
Subhanu Saxena

New member of Council Subhanu Saxena has been a Director (Innovation Introduction) at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since April 2017. In this role he spearheads key cross-functional initiatives and is building capabilities to enhance the foundation's ability to support the introduction of new innovations at scale, as well as investing in innovative technologies that can reduce the cost of healthcare and address the unmet needs of patients.

Subhanu has also served as a Managing Partner at New Rhein Healthcare LLC Private Equity, as well as President of The New Rhein Foundation. 

Subhanu said “I am honoured to have been invited to serve on The Council, and look forward to supporting its efforts in whatever way I can” 

Deepak Khanna 

Deepak Khanna joins Imperial’s Council as President, Human Health Europe & Canada, at biopharmaceutical company MSD. In this role he is responsible for MSD’s Human Health business across this region. He also represents MSD in the Patient Access Committee and the European Markets Committee at EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, building on three decades’ experience in the industry.   

Deepak said: “Imperial’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research is known across the world. I am excited to serve as a member of Council and to help support this globally leading university to achieve its mission and long-term strategy. 

Ric Lewis 

Ric Lewis
Ric Lewis

Ric Lewis is founder, Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Tristan Capital Partners, an award winning independent real estate investment management firm. 

A graduate of Dartmouth College in the United States, Mr Lewis was awarded the 2021 Urban Land Institute (ULI) European Leader Award for his contribution to development and real estate, along with his civic and social endeavours. He founded The Black Heart Foundation in 2000, a charity dedicated to improving educational access and outcomes for talented, under-resourced young people. He also serves on a number of Boards, including Dartmouth College; The Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation; and Legal & General Group Plc.  

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz 

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, former Deputy Rector of Imperial has had a distinguished academic and clinical research career as an immunologist and higher education leader.  He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge between 2010 and 2017, with prior roles including Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council. He was a founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and is currently Chair of Cancer Research UK 



Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3921
Email: d.evanson@imperial.ac.uk

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