Our People

Lord Black of Brentwood

Senior Adviser

Sir Robert Fry


Dieter Loraine

Managing Director

Simon Haselock

Director of Strategy and Innovation

Doug Griffin

Director of Programmes

Jem Thomas

Director of Training and Research

Kerry Harrington

Head of Finance

Piers Atkinson

Head of Business Development

Laurie Brownett

Head of Operations and Compliance

Sukhwinder Kaur

Finance Manager

Joseph Green

Project Accountant

Nicky Ngobeh

Office Manager

Yusra Mahdi

Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Manager

Josh Kölzer


Gaia Gaddi

Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) Executive

Jonathan Morley-Davies

Senior Research Executive

Elias Pogany

Senior Account Manager

James Down

Account Manager

Adam Lennox

Account Executive

Eve Fitzpatrick

Account Executive

Habiba Dahir

Account Executive

Vanessa Huertas

HR Advisor


Lord Black of Brentwood is Deputy Chairman of the Telegraph Media Group (publisher of The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph). Previously he was Director of Communications for Conservative Central Office and Press Secretary to Rt Hon Michael Howard QC, and Director of the UK Press Complaints Commission. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, Chairman of the Royal College of Music, Vice-President, News Media Europe and Patron of the Rory Peck Trust.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Kerry is Albany's Head of Finance and oversees the finance function in all aspects, including working on projects, managing accounts and business development. Kerry started her career off in the private sector, working for a diving company as a finance manager, looking after entities in the Middle East, Europe and the head office in UK. Before joining Albany, she worked for a global company on compliance and finance projects, implementing new ways of workings to non-finance members, and looking after the Western Europe Credit control.


Piers leads on Albany’s inbound and outbound business development activity. He has 15 years of experience in procurement, pursuit management and bid writing. Prior to his career in international development, he worked in the transport and health sectors, including on successful, multi-billion-pound public procurement contracts. He has extensive experience of managing applications and securing funds from donors including FCDO, USAID, World Bank and UN agencies. He has delivered pursuits across a wide range of technical subject areas including stabilisation, peacebuilding, crisis response, governance, and global health.


Laurie leads Albany’s operations. By providing oversight of security and risk management, Laurie ensures that our projects are running as smoothly as possible in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCAS), with our personnel’s duty of care and the safeguarding of the communities with whom we work at the top of her mind. Before joining Albany, Laurie has fulfilled several operational roles and delivered security and risk management support and oversight for teams in Africa, Central Asia and Latin America for various organisations such as the World Food Programme and Integrity Global. Laurie also has work experience with NGOs. She has found her vocation during a travel to refugee settlements at the border between Uganda and South Sudan when working for Action Against Hunger. Laurie holds a MA in Security, Defense and Crisis Management from IRIS Sup’ Paris. She has completed her Master’s dissertation on assessing the risk of terrorism in Western Sahara. 


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.


Joe joined Albany in March 2022 as Project Accountant, having previously worked for 5 years as an Accounts Manager & Finance Assistant within his family's Essex based marketing company, Green Square, where his role was also that of IT and Web Assistant. Joe studied Accounting and Business Studies at college, and discovered a natural passion for problem solving and objective, analytical thinking. Away from work, Joe is a fully qualified, CAA licenced, commercial drone pilot and a former semi-professional gamer. Albany's industry sector compliments Joe's interest in domestic and global news and current affairs.


Nicky joined the firm in March 2022 and brings with her 15 years administrative experience in Office Management and Human Resources. She assists in the development and implementation of the firm’s policies and procedures, manages and overseas the administration of HR policies, programs and practices within the firm. She studied Social Research and Information Studies at London Metropolitan University. She is interested in current affairs, world news and how it impacts the world we live in. Her hobbies include travelling and socializing.


Yusra is Albany’s MEL Manager and possesses both a depth and breadth of experience in a wide variety of monitoring, evaluation and learning systems from within the research, NGO and private sectors. She currently leads the MEL of FCDO-funded ‘Early Recovery Initiative’ and ‘Women to Women’ programmes in Somalia. Prior to joining Albany, she managed the implementation and MEL systems for IDS’s CREID programme in Iraq, focusing on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), curricula development, participatory research methods, and training of teachers. With a background in journalism and media production, Yusra also developed in-depth knowledge about problems on the ground pertaining ethnic and sectarian conflicts, press freedoms, displacement, and poverty. She is bilingual English and Arabic and has MA Human Rights and International Relations from Roehampton University.


Joshua is currently using his monitoring, evaluation and learning expertise to support a multitude of Albany’s projects across Africa. He holds a master’s in Programme Evaluation from the University of Cape Town. Prior to joining Albany, Joshua spent three years studying and working, mostly for NGOs in the humanitarian sector, in Uganda, South Africa, Somalia and Kenya. In his free time, he can be found pursuing his passion for Muay Thai, painting and writing poetry.


Gaia is Albany's Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Executive. She has used her specialism in digital monitoring tools to support programmes based in the Middle East, West and East Africa. Gaia has recently graduated from King's College London War Studies Department. Her area of interest focuses on perceptions of nuclear terrorism, as well as the integration of new technologies within counter-terrorism measures. Gaia can speak French, Italian, English, and Russian.


Joe is Albany’s Strategy and Innovation Researcher, responsible for monitoring international developments in information operations and extremist messaging and liaising with experts in those fields. Before joining Albany in 2021, Joe studied International Security and Terrorism at the University of Nottingham. Since graduating in 2020, he has been involved in research projects tracking the rise of antisemitic conspiracy theories online for the National Holocaust Museum and profiling VEOs for Janes Intelligence.


Elias oversees Albany’s projects in the Eurasia region, focused on countering disinformation, preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE), and building the capacity of government officials to communicate more effectively, transparently, and coherently with citizens. Prior to joining Albany, he managed large-scale Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL) programmes for Tetra Tech International Development (formerly Coffey), in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mozambique and Ethiopia. A native of Boston, Elias holds a BA in International Studies from American University’s School of International Service (SIS) and MA in Governance and Development from the University of Sussex’s Institute of Development Studies (IDS).


James oversees the FCDO-funded Early Recovery Initiative (ERI), and the Immediate Stabilisation Fund (ISF), both based in Somalia. These programmes are focused on early interventions in areas where al-Shabaab are defeated to build confidence in recovery and set the conditions for governance to return. James is based in Nairobi full time, where he has lived for two years, previously working as a consultant for Albany. Prior to this, he was based in Kigali for two and a half years, working across Rwanda, DRC, Nigeria and Kenya. James holds a BA in Marketing from Newcastle University, and is studying for an MA in International Affairs at King’s College London, with a focus on VEO ideologies. His geographic areas of interest are the Horn of Africa, East Africa, and the Middle East, and he has expertise in strategic communications, PCVE and project management.


Drawing on his experience in Media Communications, Adam currently works to deliver a number of comms-focused programmes, aimed at eradicating Violent Extremism across East and West Africa. Some deliverable themes of Adam’s current programmes at Albany centre on VEO defection, regional capacity building, conflict resolution and community resilience. Adam holds a Bachelor’s in International Studies and Japanese Language from the University of Leiden, Netherlands, where he built upon his knowledge and experience in areas of Intercultural Communication, Global Politics, Ethnic & Religious Conflict and Gender Relations.


Coming soon!


Habiba Dahir is an Account Executive at Albany, with an extensive expertise in international development, humanitarian emergencies, Gender PVE, and peacebuilding. Her academic journey includes an MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in International Relations (Cum Laude) from the United States International University. Habiba's dedication to advancing peace and security in Africa has been recognized through research fellowships at renowned institutions like King's College London-Africa Leadership Centre and the International Peace Institute (NY). Her valuable experience in the development, policy, and humanitarian fields, spans across diverse regions such as the West and East/Horn of Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, and Somalia). With a strong track record of successful collaborations with partner organizations and project teams, she has effectively led thematic policy research on Gender and Violent extremism and building capacities at the local grassroots level. Her expertise in navigating complex challenges is complemented by her deep understanding of the dynamics and nuances within international development and policy context; Habiba Dahir is interested in creating positive change and fostering resilience in communities, aiming to make a lasting impact.


Vanessa assists the Albany Team with their internal People function. Having worked for 20 years in HR within private sector organisations, Vanessa has worked with businesses to implement and fulfil their people strategies, including resource planning, training and development, performance management and achievement and employee experience. As well as holding an MSc in Human Resource Management, she is a qualified coach and MCIPD.