Our People

Fatma Ahmed

Account Director, Middle East & Africa

Paul Bell

Senior Advisor

Rachel Bryson

Research and Innovation Executive

Sir Robert Fry

Chairman

Doug Griffin

Director

Simon Haselock

Director

Sukhwinder Kaur

Finance Assistant

Bertie Kerr

Managing Director

Dieter Loraine

Director

Olivia Lucy

Senior Account Executive

Zakiy Manji

Research & Innovation Executive

Struan Murray

Account Executive

Laura Nettleton

Research and M&E Specialist

Maurice O’Shea

Finance Director

Ania Podeszwa

Senior Account Manager

Leah Selig Chauhan

Account Manager

Jem Thomas

Director of Training and Research

Derek Walsh

Account Manager

Biography

Fatma manages Albany’s Middle East and Africa portfolio. She has a wealth of practical experience managing and delivering programmes on stabilisation, early recovery initiatives and preventing violent extremism (PVE). Acting as the former Deputy Chief of Party for a US Government cooperative agreement she provided the technical expertise in the establishment of the IGAD Center of Excellence in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism. Fatma is certified trainer for advancing the role of Youth, Peace and Security in support of resolutions 2250 and an IVLP (International Visitors Leadership Program) alumni.

Biography

Paul Bell specialises in the development of comprehensive communications campaigns and countering violent extremism in conflict and post-conflict zones. Before his work with Albany, he was Chief Executive and subsequently Deputy Chairman of London’s largest public relations group, Bell Pottinger. Paul was raised in South Africa and worked there as a journalist before serving as Director of Communication for the country’s Independent Electoral Commission, helping deliver its historic first non-racial, democratic general election. He has worked in Botswana, Latvia, Russia, Turkey, the United States, Iraq and Yemen, and elsewhere in the Middle East. He is a Trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People.

Biography

Rachel Bryson designs programmes to bring peace in countries affected by conflict, terrorism, radicalisation and disinformation. She has a wealth of experience researching terrorism and counterextremism, with her previous role at the Tony Blair Institute focusing on analysing Islamist ideology, deradicalization and the role of women and children in terrorist groups. She grew up in East Africa and has an MA in Arabic and French from the University of Edinburgh, with a distinction in spoken Arabic.

Biography

Sir Robert is the chair of Albany Associates. He completed a full military career that included posts as Commandant General of the Royal Marines and Director of Operations in the MoD, advising successive Prime Ministers on the response to 9/11. After leaving military service in 2007 he became CEO of Hewlett Packard’s defence and security business and was appointed chair of Albany Associates in 2011. He is a member of the executive council of the Royal United Services Institute and a visiting professor at King’s College, London. He writes occasionally for a number of periodicals and is a regular contributor to Prospect Magazine.

Biography

Doug is a lawyer specialising in media and communications strategy and policy.  He has advised government and civil society, drafted legislation and regulation, and developed and implemented programmes for a number of communications projects across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  His expertise includes ICT law, broadband, digitalisation, broadcast and internet policy.  Prior to joining Albany, Doug was in private practice with an international law firm in New York, Moscow and Paris.  Doug also speaks French.

Biography

Simon is an early innovator in media interventions in countries emerging from violent conflict. Since co-founding Albany, he has directed strategic communications, CVE and media development projects across Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He is a frequent speaker on information operations and counter radicalisation and propaganda issues. He also served for 23 years as an officer in the UK Royal Marines. In the Balkans, from 1996 to 2003, he was the NATO Spokesman in Sarajevo, Deputy High Representative for Media Affairs in the High Representative’s office in Bosnia, Temporary Media Commissioner in Kosovo and then Director of Public Information for UN mission there. He then went on to head the UK FCO’s media development team in Iraq.

Biography

Sukhwinder assists with a wide range of accounting and financing issues, often involving some of the world’s most challenging environments. She has considerable experience with projects in Africa before joining Albany. Sukhwinder worked in France and Kenya and also speaks Punjabi, Hindi and Kiswahili.

Biography

Bertie spent seven years in the Royal Marines and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in both close-combat command roles and as part of Brigade and Divisional Headquarters. He finished his last tour as 3 Commando Brigade Operations Officer, commanding the Joint Operations Centre in Task Force Helmand. Bertie then spent four years on a strategy team at Deutsche Bank, gaining a wealth of business operations experience, before joining a technology company as their Head of Operations. He helped the business close a seed-funding round and to double revenues over a two-year period.

Biography

Dieter co-founded Albany after a career in the Royal Marines, running a niche regional PR agency, holding several senior positions in Bosnia’s media and communications regulatory authority and working in Iraq as a communications consultant for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He has garnered over 20 years of experience in strategic communications, institution building and media and communications regulatory development, helping to establish and advising more than twenty media and press councils across South East Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Dieter is on the board of trustees for the Commonwealth Press Union Media Trust.

Biography

Olivia works on a range of communications and research projects, primarily in Somalia, that seek to increase stability, counter violent extremism, and strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations for the European Union, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the US State Department. Prior to joining Albany, Olivia worked as a media investment buyer where she built an expertise in the Radio, TV and Film industry whilst working with multiple global brands. Olivia gained an MSc in Corporate Communications and Reputation Management from Alliance Manchester Business School, where she focused on nation branding, crisis communications and strategic communications.

Biography

Zakiy heads up Albany’s Research and Innovation Hub, with specialist interest in political engagement, research, and strategic communications advice. He was a Strategic Communications Adviser for RICU International at the Home Office, ending an 8-month posting in North Africa before joining Albany. Prior to this, he honed his communication and political skills in Westminster, working on several high-profile political campaigns, including senior roles in the 2016 EU Referendum, Theresa May’s leadership campaign, and the 2017 General Election. He also had a brief stint in corporate PR, specialising in crisis communications and strategy. Zakiy began his career as a Researcher in Parliament for two Conservative MPs, after graduating from Oxford with a degree in Modern Languages, where he spent a year in Paris at a diplomatic think-tank.

Biography

Struan assists in the project accounts team at Albany, where he is involved in managing communications projects from several different funders in countries such as Afghanistan, Ukraine and in the Western Balkans. He helps manage strategic communications projects which aim to improve independent media, media pluralism, and the development of media literacy and capacity in government departments. Struan is from Cape Town, South Africa where he specialised in foreign policy and conflict in Africa at UCT. In addition, Struan has interests in international relations and environmental politics, specifically the politics of climate change and sustainable development.

Biography

Laura is Albany’s Monitoring and Evaluation specialist, overseeing M&E activities across all projects. She has conducted field work in Africa and the Western Balkans as well as primary research in Central Asia and the Middle East. Resulting from her work with Hedayah, she co-authored a paper on preventing violent extremism through education in Uganda. With a background in communications, Laura is experienced in project management within global corporations and NGOs. Laura is bilingual in English and French.

Biography

Maurice is an experienced Finance Director. His early career, after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, was as FD for major media and advertising agencies. After gaining his MBA from the London Business School, he specialised in start-ups, raising finance, turnarounds and growing entrepreneurial businesses. He held senior positions with News International as FD of a technology business and was MD of BskyB’s rapidly growing SkyTalk telecoms operation. He was Regional Director for the FD Centre, placing part time FDs into SMEs. He then worked independently helping business and entrepreneurs get clarity of direction and how to overcome the brick walls that hold up growth. Before joining Albany, he was Chairman of a fast growing technology start up and held various non-executive positions and part time FD roles for a range of businesses and charities.

Biography

Ania has experience managing communications, capacity building, peacebuilding and community engagement projects for Albany in places such as Afghanistan and Yemen. Prior to joining Albany, she advised corporate and political clients on crisis communications, reputation management and public affairs. She also helped run capacity building workshops and media training for clients, and gained on-the-ground experience in high-risk zones such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zambia and Mozambique. Ania also speaks Polish and German.

Biography

Leah manages a diverse portfolio of projects on countering disinformation and violent extremism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She previously delivered a range of programmes focussing on the intersection between technology and terrorism whilst working on the UN CTED ‘Tech Against Terrorism’ initiative. She has also written about the relationship between radical beliefs and violent behaviour for the Flemish Parliament. Leah holds an MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Identities and Ideologies (distinction) from the LSE, and received the Michael Oakeshott Award for her dissertation, which focused on the UK's counter-terrorism 'Prevent' legislation and education.

Biography

Jem leads Albany’s training in media relations, media literacy and strategic communications with a specific interest in communication aspects of foreign policy and post-conflict reconstruction. He has delivered courses across Africa, the Middle East and Asia and has developed and implemented instruction for UK ambassadors and senior UN management. Prior to joining Albany, he had a long career in the Royal Navy, where he was spokesperson for the EU in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Chief Instructor at the UK MoD's Defence Media Operations Centre.

Biography

Derek is an experienced project manager specialising in the development of capacity building initiatives within both the public and private sectors. Derek’s area of focus is countering violent extremism (CVE) and is geographically focused on MENA, South-East Asia and the Western Balkans. Within this space he works on strategic communications projects that encompass both new and traditional media, the use of emerging technology to counter extremist narratives, and government & civil society capacity building in medial & digital literacy. Derek has worked with industry-leading organisations to develop implementation strategies to launch new products and has developed learning and development content to globally recognised standards.