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James takes the reins of the International Advisory Board

James Cullens

An advocate of lifelong learning is succeeding an equally vocal supporter of The Open University as Chair of an advisory board to both the Business and Law Schools.

The International Advisory Board (IAB) works closely with the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) Executive Dean Professor Devendra Kodwani and the management team, in an advisory role, to provide international business and management expertise to support the delivery of the Business School’s research and teaching. Its remit has been extended in 2021 to include the Law School.

James Cullens has now succeeded Maggie Miller as its Chair and will take charge of his first meeting in February 2022. Both are alumni of the OU and founder members of the IAB.

A BSc in Psychology OU alumnus with extensive experience of higher education, James currently works between London and Montréal in Canada as Executive Vice President, Human Resources, for SNC-Lavalin (formerly WS Atkins), having previously lived and worked in the former Soviet Union, Hong Kong and New Zealand. OU MBA alumna Maggie, who was the Business School’s Alumni of the Year for 2020, is a global business technology leader and CIO with a long and distinguished career in the technology sector in the UK and overseas over three decades.

I feel hugely privileged to be taking on the role of Chair at this challenging time, and I look forward to continue working closely with Dev, the management team and my IAB colleagues. I’d like to acknowledge the leadership and hard work of Maggie as the outgoing Chair who has been selfless in her dedication to the Business School’s cause. I’m sure all colleagues will join me in thanking Maggie for her contribution and support.

I started my involvement with The Open University as a student back in 1991 and then more recently with the Business School when I joined the IAB in 2008. At that time, we were just starting to understand and work through the repercussions of the global financial crisis. Fast forward to 2021 and we continue to navigate another global crisis and move into what we hope will soon be a ‘post-Covid era’.

Since the Board’s inception in 2008, IAB colleagues have brought a wealth of their business experience and perspectives from different countries and sectors to bear on the many challenges that we have faced. We have worked closely with the management team on issues of strategy and thought leadership through to business development, accreditation and the inclusion of the Law School into our offering. Due to the hard work and dedication of all involved, the Business and Law Schools are well placed to come out of the pandemic in a good position.

James Cullens
Chair of the International Advisory Board (IAB)

The OU has played a huge part in my life during our 35-year relationship, and has been crucial in providing a rich and varied career in the UK and US. I was first a nervous student, then a founder member of the IAB, an avid user of FutureLearn and now a Practice Tutor on the Senior Leader Apprenticeship. Having lived and worked all over the world, I can truly say that the OU is unique as an institution to lift up and support one another to be our best selves.

It’s been an honour to serve on the IAB since its inception, most recently as Chair, with its collective experience, expertise and diversity. Throughout this time, the OU and the Business School have faced many challenges but I’m delighted to have seen this world-leading organisation emerge ever stronger in support of its mission. I can now happily leave the IAB in the secure hands of James and Dev, knowing the passion and expertise they bring to their roles.”

Maggie Miller
Outgoing Chair of the International Advisory Board (IAB)