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Business, banking and design pioneers honoured at Northumbria University

8th July 2016

Leading figures who have made an impact in design, the world of business and banking will be recognised at Northumbria University.

Respected businessman and engineer Dr Arnab Basu MBE, Virgin Money Chief Executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia and multi-award-winning designer Dr Andrea Siodmok will all receive Honorary Doctorates during Northumbria’s July graduation ceremonies.

The recipients of honorary degrees are nominated by the University’s staff for their achievements, their links to the University - and for their sheer inspirational qualities.

Dr Basu, Chief Executive of Kromek, graduated from St Xavier’s College in Calcutta, India, in 1994 with his first degree in BSc Natural Sciences. Alongside this, he held senior manager positions in his family business which manufactured materials for the electronics industry. In 1996 Dr Basu came to study on a scholarship as a mature student for a BEng (Hons) in Materials Engineering at Northumbria University where he graduated with a First.

Having worked for a year as a Material Specialist, he then went on to complete a PhD in Physics at Durham University, where the opportunity arose to lead a spin-out, Durham Scientific Crystals Ltd, now known as Kromek, now a publicly listed radiation technology company operating out of the UK and USA, focusing on the medical imaging, security screening, and nuclear detection markets.

Ms Gadhia is the first female Chief Executive of a publicly-listed UK bank. She is a chartered accountant who has worked for companies including Ernst and Young and Norwich Union. In 1995 she became one of the founders of Virgin Direct before later launching the market-leading Virgin One account. That business was acquired by RBS in 2001, after which she went on to lead a number of RBS business units and joined the RBS Retail Executive Board where she was responsible for the RBS Group’s mortgage business. In 2007, she re-joined Virgin Money and led the successful bid to acquire Northern Rock in 2011. Ms Gadhia was awarded a CBE in 2014 for her services to banking and the voluntary sector.

Dr Siodmok, Head of the UK Government’s Policy Lab and a Deputy Director at the Cabinet Office, is both a practitioner and an advocate for design-led innovation. Formerly Chief Design Officer at the Design Council, she is passionate about using design to improve people’s lives. Over 20 years her clients and commissions have taken her around the world working with global corporations, start-ups, and government agencies.  Some of her best known work has been in using design to tackle healthcare super-bugs by improving hospital furniture and equipment, helping save lives by reducing the spread of infections.

She was previously an advisor to Innovate UK where she led 'the Future is here' exhibition and was a representative for the European Design Leadership Board.  Her latest work, applying design to early stage policy-making, will be showcased at the opening of the new Design Museum in Kensington this autumn in an exhibition and book entitled ‘Designer, user and maker’.

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