We are incredibly grateful to our whole team that forms the Trust. Their ongoing commitment and dedication to iExel makes us who we are – they hold us accountable, support our efforts, and help us drive forward our mission and vision.
Rt Hon Ruth Kelly
Ruth Kelly currently holds several positions at various organisations, including as a Non-Executive Board Member at the Council for Economy, a Non-Executive Director at Heathrow, and Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange. Ruth served as MP for Bolton West from 1997-2010 and during this period, was Secretary of State for Transport (2010), Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2006), Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2004) and Minister for Women and Equalities, as well as holding ministerial roles in HM Treasury. Since leaving Parliament, she has also held roles at HSBC Global Asset Management and St Mary’s University.
Ruth is passionate about girls’ education and social deprivation and has campaigned throughout her life for social equality and mobility.
Sher Azam MBE – Chair
Sher Azam has more than a decade’s experience in school governance and among his greatest achievements is his instrumental work in founding and developing Feversham Girls’ Academy and Bronte Girls’ Academy. Sher Azam has remained engaged and closely aligned with the progression of the schools to ensure they continue to be a force for good within their communities.
His passion is helping communities to better support themselves. He works tirelessly with a range of charities and community projects in Bradford to support the community in raising its aspirations and improving quality of life.
In addition to his work in education, Sher Azam was also pivotal in the opening of the Council for Mosques, a community-first Islamic group based in Bradford, whose efforts to drive equality and inclusion of the Muslim communities across Bradford, Yorkshire and the UK have ensured lasting change.
As a result of his work in the community, Sher Azam received an MBE for services to the community in 1986, and more recently in 2022, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Bradford’s Community Stars Awards event.
Dr Shazza Rehman
Dr Shazza Rehman is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Royal Infirmary, specialising in Breast cancer. Her previous roles have included being an Oncologist at the Christie NHS Trust, Lead Clinician at Redditch NHS Trust, Registrar in Oncology at the Kent Hospital and Registrar in Oncology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Shazza has published 18 research papers on her specialist field of Breast cancer, diagnosis, and treatment.
Tahir Khan holds a BSC (Hon’s) in Biomedical Science from the University of Bradford, a Post graduate Certificate in Project Management Regeneration from the University of Bradford; he is a member of the London Institute of Banking and Finance and a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management.
Tahir has over a decade’s experience within the financial sector having worked for HSBC; Barclays Bank Plc and the Lloyds Banking Group.
Fazal Dad is a serving practitioner within the education sector with more than 20 years of experience within primary schools, where he has held several roles including that of Assistant Principal. Fazal Dad also has more than 15 years of experience as a school governor in a variety of primary and secondary schools within Bradford.
A prominent leader in the community and passionate supporter of educational development, Fazal Dad has presented live shows on Sunrise Radio for the past 18 years and on national TV for the past five years. Fazal Dad has also served as a chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Bradford, where he provided counsel to the Lord Mayor.
With an exemplary 30-year career at West Yorkshire Police, Inspector Khalid Khan served as a dedicated leader, notably leading the Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team for five years. Starting his journey as PC in 1991, he later moved to Bradford in 2002 and continued to serve Keighley and Shipley areas for nearly two decades. Throughout his service, Inspector Khan displayed unwavering dedication and passion for his community, leaving behind a legacy of excellence. His retirement in October 2021 marks the end of an outstanding era, during which he earned the respect and admiration of colleagues and the community alike.
Ali Jan Haider (Chair)
Ali Jan Haider is Strategic Director of Keeping Well at Home - NHS Bradford District and Craven’s Clinical Commissioning Group, for which he has been involved in for more than 20 years. He has a proven track record of successful strategic and operational leadership, excellent organisational skills and extensive experience of school governance in the independent, maintained and academy sector.
Ali Jan Haider has vast experience in delivering substantial programmes in the healthcare sector, leading national government reforms, contributing to various social and economic development forums and initiatives as well as managing large financial budgets.
Sajjad Khan (Vice Chair)
Sajjad Khan has more than 20 years of global leadership experience in the corporate environment and is currently Chief Digital and Information Officer at Amret MFI. As part of this role, he has formulated and implemented a business and digital transformation strategy focused on four strategic goals of growth, transformation, operations, and protection, and has a proven track record of management of operational teams based in multiple countries.
Sajjad has lived and worked in numerous countries gaining valuable international experiences. He has extensive experiences in a range of business functions that include IT & Digital; financial management and controllership; governance, risk and compliance (GRC); shared services; strategic transformations; M&As; commercial development; quality and operations (Lean Six Sigma) and more. Sajjad is currently completing his Doctorate (part time) in the field of GRC.
His role as Vice Chair at iExel involves supporting the Chair of the Trust with the development and implementation of a strategic growth plan to transform and grow this 'Outstanding' Trust. He was instrumental in developing the first strategy for the Trust and navigating the DfE process in the opening of Bronte Girls’ Academy.
Geoff Ashton is Director and Trustee at several Trusts in North West England, as well as a Professor at Bolton University. Judged by Ofsted as an Outstanding Secondary Head on two occasions, Geoff is highly regarded as an expert in the educational landscape. He brings a wealth of relevant, up to date, educational expertise at strategic, management and practical levels.
Geoff was one of the country's first Executive Heads and was elected Chair of an Excellence Cluster which he did for five years, as well as chairing an Education Improvement Partnership for five years and a Graduate Teacher Training Programme for more than 10 years. He is also a director of his local SCITT. He was a Board Member of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for four years, Local Secretary for Secondary Heads Association (SHA)/ Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and Cabinet Office Public Servant of the Year for community regeneration and partnership work. A Director of seven companies and Board Member of his local Chamber of Commerce, he is a Governor of Wigan University Technical College (UTC) and is a Board Member of Wigan Youth Zone.
Geoff has been an Education Adviser to the previous and the present Governments for the last 10 years and was responsible for the successful educational structures and deliverables of over 90 Academies, 6 UTCs, 2 Studio Schools and 6 Free Schools. He has been the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF)/ Department for Education (DfE) representative at the selection and appointment of over 120 Academy Principals for secondary, primary and alternative provision schools. He chairs the schools Academic Board advisory group for all Trust schools.
Professor Irfan Awan
Irfan Awan is a Professor of Computer Science and Head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (SEECS) at the University of Bradford. He received his PhD degree in Performance Modelling of Communication Networks from the University of Bradford, UK in 2007. He joined the University of Bradford as a Lecturer in Computing in 1999 and was then promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2004, Reader in 2007 and became Professor of Computer Science in 2009.
Professor Awan was partly seconded to Namal College, an associate college of the University of Bradford between 2008 - 2011 to act as its Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Ihtesham ur Rehman
Ihtesham ur Rehman holds a personal chair in Bioengineering at Lancaster University, where he has established Bioengineering at Lancaster. He has BSc and MSc degrees in Chemistry and a Doctorate in Biomaterials Science and Engineering from the Department of Materials, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
After a long career of 24 years at the Interdisciplinary Research Centre (IRC) in Biomedical Materials, QMUL, he joined the Department of Materials Sciences and Engineering and was part of the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Group based within the Kroto Research Institute. He is Executive Director and Founder of Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials, COMSATS University Islamabad, Lahore Campus. He is also deputy director of UK-Pakistan Science and Innovation Global Network (UPSIGN).
Shakoor Ahmed is a graduate of the University of Bradford with a BSc in Business and Management and is a highly successful and dynamic entrepreneur who has demonstrated great strategic and operational leadership in developing the MyLahore business into a nationwide success story.
Shakoor has vast experience in commercial development, financial controllership, programme management and management of several employees. He has excellent organisational and delivery skills and is at the forefront of driving digital transformation in the food industry.
Shakoor is also involved in a wide range of community outreach initiatives and an ardent supporter of social, charitable and economic development initiatives.
Parwaiz Bashir delivers programme management at EFA and has been involved in school governance within Bradford for more than 28 years, including more than six years’ experience as a Chair of an Academy. He has more than 15 years’ senior experience of internal audit, statutory audit and corporate finance within the public sector, primarily at Calderdale Council and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. His wide range of skills in financial management, governance, project management, performance management and IT development have assisted in his work reviewing controls and governance processes.
Jonaid Khan is currently Chair of Governors at Iqra Academy and holds the position of Alumni Relations Manager at the University of Bradford where he leads on alumni and stakeholder engagement strategy and volunteer programming through effective planning, resource and team management, data-driven analysis and evaluation. With more than 17 years’ experience at the University, Jonaid is a dedicated professional focused on strategy and development and holds an MBA (Distinction) in Business Management, Strategy and Marketing. He has a passion for stakeholder engagement within the education sector.
Linda Dobson is an active member of various local charities and has more than 20 years' experience of working for Children's social care, involving supporting children, young people and families. She has worked in the areas of child sexual exploitation, domestic violence and court work. Linda also undertook private work for the Family Court as an independent expert of parenting skills, undertaking complex assessments and providing opinion to the court.
Since taking early retirement in 2013, Linda was appointed a community governor at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, where she was chair of the membership development group and deputy lead governor for a period of time.