The Team

Meet the team behind Global University Systems


The senior leadership team at Global University Systems is comprised of individuals who have excelled in academia and industry, bringing together years of invaluable experience and knowledge, allowing us to seamlessly blend innovation and entrepreneurship with academic rigour and quality.

Aaron EtingenChief Executive Officer

Aaron Etingen is the CEO of Global University Systems. He leads a team of over 2,000 employees, ensuring that innovation, creativity and a strong commitment to high standards are embedded across the group. With a background in the finance and banking sectors and strong management credentials, he led GUS from a small business school with four students to a global organisation with 85,000 students, alumni from over 150 countries and a growing presence worldwide. His leadership is one of the key reasons behind the success of the company.

Fabrizio GuccioneDeputy CEO

Fabrizio Guccione is the Deputy CEO of GUS. He works with all senior management across the business, focused on continued growth as GUS strengthens its leadership and commercial competencies.

Previously, Fabrizio acted as COO and CEO at Laureate International Universities, operating globally. Prior to that, he worked at Colgate-Palmolive in various senior marketing and sales roles, including VP of Customer Development for Canada and General Manager for Spain.

His unique experience enables him to lead diverse, multicultural teams driving business results and implementing organizational change.

Fabrizio is fluent in Italian, Spanish and English.



Graeme SimpsonChief Marketing Officer

Graeme Simpson has more than 12 years of experience in digital marketing. He previously aided investment specialists ADVFN, as their Head of Global Marketing, to grow from a UK-only operation to a multinational working across 16 countries. His expertise helps him to manage a marketing budget of £10 million per year at GUS. Such sizeable marketing budgets are just one resource that Graeme and his team can offer to educational institutions seeking to extend their global reach. 

Anton ZakharovChief of Staff

Anton Zakharov is Chief of Staff at GUS. Anton has over 26 years of experience in Human Resources and Business Development, across many diverse industries including FMCG, Oil and Gas, Banking and Management Consulting sectors and Higher Education. His exposure to international growth projects in Europe, India and the Philippines has given him an understanding of how the best companies are ran. He is passionate about ensuring high quality, cost-effective and timely delivery of business objectives by the Executive Team and CEO’s direct reports. Anton is responsible for BPO projects and post-acquisition integration.  He is also a passionate mentor and team leader.

Elad RachevskyVice President, Corporate Development and Capital Markets

Elad Rachevsky is the Director of Corporate Development, leading our corporate finance and acquisition activities. With more than 10 years of experience in corporate finance, including capital markets and M&A transactions, Elad previously worked in a boutique financial advisory firm and as an investment banker at Citigroup within the Financial Sponsors team. Elad is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Macalester College with a double major in Mathematics and Economics.

Sitora AzimovaOperations Director

Sitora Azimova is GUS' Operations Director and has over 15 years of experience in managing B2B commercial operations, both in the UK and internationally.

Sitora has been with the group since its inception and has been instrumental in business transformation, expansion into new markets, and leads the integration of GUS’ shared services.  

Prior to working at GUS, Sitora worked extensively in the field of international executive recruitment.


Cyndi McLeodCEO of GUS Canada

Cyndi McLeod is Chief Executive Officer of GUS Canada. Cyndi McLeod is an award-winning education executive with over 30 years of leadership experience in the international arena. Cyndi joined Global University Systems as CEO in Canada with the responsibility for the group's expansion and operations in the country, which includes University Canada West, The Language Gallery and the Toronto School of Management. Cyndi’s expertise lies in building strategic business and educational connections that result in growth and expansion in the institutions she has been involved in. She has led the way for numerous joint ventures between education entities in Canada, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Europe



Professor Andrea NollentVice-Chancellor and CEO of The University of Law

Andrea Nollent was appointed Vice-Chancellor of The University of Law in 2012, becoming CEO in 2016. She previously held academic and senior leadership positions at Sheffield Hallam University and Nottingham Trent University. Andrea has extensive experience in professional course development across a range of disciplines and has also designed and delivered dual qualifying law degrees and legal professional training. Other achievements include working as a Visiting Professor of Fundamental Human Rights at the University of Paris-Est.


Dr Sky ZhengCEO of InterActive Pro

Dr Sky Zheng is CEO of Interactive Pro, one of UK’s leading online programme management (OPM) companies to help higher education institutions and industry partners launch online education programmes. Sky joined GUS in 2017 as Managing Director of Transnational Education (TNE). Sky has over 13 years' experience in international higher education and has held a number of senior international  roles in public universities in the UK. In 2011, Sky and his team won the prestigious Times Higher Education award for Outstanding International Strategy. He received his PhD in Cross-Cultural Communication and International Education from Birkbeck, University of London.

Boaz ArbelPortfolio Co-Managing Director of the Colleges Division of GUS

Boaz Arbel has worked as a Managing Director for 14 years which has provided him with the skills to successfully lead INT College and High Q as the Company Director. Boaz also manages the UK and international Business Development Recruitment Team at GUS. Boaz has over 20 years of experience transforming businesses through increased sales, operational efficiencies, and high profits. He is highly skilled in developing strategic plans, partnerships, global customer recruitment and retention and business development.

Dr Simon JonesPrincipal of LCCM

Dr Simon Jones is Principal of London College of Creative Media. Simon has over 20 years’ experience in Higher Education, working in the UK and internationally in a breadth of subject areas including Geography and Earth Sciences, Business and Law, and now Contemporary Music and Creative Industry. Simon has developed specialist experience in Quality Assurance and Governance, designing award portfolios and enhanced Student Experience, and Trans National Education, and has worked with organisations including the QAA Welsh Assembly Government and EU. Outside work Simon enjoys SCUBA diving and photography, and endless cold and wet Sunday mornings watching his son play rugby.

Karina KizhnerManaging Director of LSBF

Karina is currently the Managing Director of London School of Business and Finance, responsible for Strategy, Partnerships, Operations and P&L. She holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Graduate Diploma in Law from the University of Law. She has over 13 years’ experience building and launching academic partnerships with UK Universities, such as University of Bradford, Brunel University London, University of Central Lancashire and private entities, such as The Times. Karina embarked on her Higher Education career as a lecturer.

Valery KisilevskyGroup Managing Director

Valery Kisilevsky is Group Managing Director of GUS. With a BA (Hons) in Political Science, Ethics, Law and Economics from the University of Toronto, MSc International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a Graduate Diploma in Law from the College of Law of England and Wales, Valery is now Group Managing Director of GUS. He works closely with Aaron Etingen to develop GUS' creative, driven and energetic corporate culture.

Professor Maurits van RooijenChief Academic Officer

Professor Maurits van Rooijen is Rector and Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of GUS and acting rector of GISMA Business School. He was awarded the Constance Meldrum prize for Vision and Leadership from the European Association for International Education (EAIE). 

Max EtingenVice President International

Max Etingen is the Vice President International of Global University Systems, having joined the group in 2008. He holds a Bachelor degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University, Canada, and has lived in Canada, Hong Kong, Russia and Israel before moving to the UK. Max sits on the boards of numerous institutions including the University of Europe for Applied Sciences, GISMA Business School, LSBF Singapore, University Canada West and Toronto School of Management. Max’s area of expertise is in international strategy, international student recruitment, branding, marketing and digital transformation.

Gary NarunskyChief of Financial Strategy

Gary Narunsky is the Chief of Financial Strategy for GUS. He serves as Executive Chairman for GUS Canada and heads the GUS Investment Committee. Gary is a Board Observer of Arden University and serves on its Audit and Remuneration Committees and is also Vice Chairman and Honorary Treasurer of AMBA.Gary was the CFO and is a Partner of Grovepoint, an investment firm which operated as principal investor and investment manager. Before Grovepoint, Gary helped found and spent 10 years as the CFO of global education group, Cognita. Prior to that, Gary obtained an MBA from London Business School and was a Vice President at Merrill Lynch.

Alona LigayGroup General Counsel of GUS

Alona Ligay is Group General Counsel of GUS.  Alona joined GUS in 2013 and holds an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, Toronto. She is admitted as a solicitor in Ontario, Canada and England and Wales. Alona trained with Baker McKenzie before moving to London from Canada to join the Capital Market practice at Clifford Chance.  Following this, Alona joined Withers in the Banking and Corporate practice before joining GUS. Alona leads GUS’s legal function, which covers legal and corporate governance matters across GUS and advises the Board and executive management team on various strategic, operational, regulatory and risk issues.

Miguel BlazquezChief Technology Officer

Miguel Blazquez is the Chief  Technology Officer of GUS. With over eight years of experience leading the technology in Higher Education, he facilitates business operation optimization, increases business effectiveness and leads digital transformation. Previously, Miguel was responsible for the technological organization in Laureate International Universities for the EMEA region. Prior to GUS, he worked in Merk & Co, in several executive IT positions including the Global Head of Manufacturing Systems, Regional Commercial and Analytics Platforms Leader.

Daniel BolzCEO of GUS Germany

Daniel Bolz is Chief Executive Officer for GUS Germany, responsible for both GISMA and BSBI. Daniel was instrumental in stabilising the University of Applied Sciences Europe as well as HTK Academy. Prior to joining GUS, Daniel was the Group Director of Corporate Development at SIG plc based in London, a FTSE 250 company with sales of £2.7bn and 9,000 employees, where he served in various leadership positions and was responsible for group strategy, mergers & acquisitions as well as general management of different business units.

Sharad MehraCEO of GUS Asia Pacific

Sharad Mehra is CEO of GUS Asia Pacific. Sharad is a corporate strategist, thought leader and futurist. He is passionate about transformative education and has 24 years of professional experience in diverse industries. His previous roles include CEO, Laureate Education India. Prior to this, Sharad served as Laureate’s Chief Executive Officer for South Africa, where he turned around operations in less than a year.

Professor Carl LygoVice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Arden

Carl Lygo, Professor of Law and Barrister, is Chairman at the University of Applied Sciences Europe and Chairman of Global University Systems'  Public Affairs Committee. As well as being the former group CEO of BPP Professional Education Group, he also founded BPP University & Turner Schools Group and he is Director HE Regulators Ofs& HEFCE. Professor Lygo was voted one of the Top 50 Most Influential people in UK Higher Education and, Hot 100 lawyers. In 2018, he won Lifetime Achievement Award  by Education Investor Magazine and Association of Colleges Global Medal Winner.


Paddy OsborneManaging Director of LAT

Paddy Osborn is Academic Dean and Managing Director of the London Academy of Trading and a visiting lecturer at Cass Business School, as well as a market analyst and trader. Paddy is an accomplished Financial Markets Trader & Analyst, Sales Director, Academic Dean and University Lecturer with over 30 years of financial market experience. He is also a skilled public speaker on Financial Markets Trading, Technical Analysis, Foreign Exchange, Trading Psychology and Hedge Funds, providing seminars to international banks, brokers, fund managers and private traders.

Rathakrishnan GovindGlobal Chief Executive Officer of LSBF

Rathakrishnan Govind is the CEO of LSBF Global, leading LSBF’s UK and international operations, after having been the Managing Director of the LSBF Singapore campus. Prior to that, he held senior management positions at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee, as well as the Really Fun Connection, a documentary production company.  His most distinguished career achievement was with the Singaporean Armed Forces, where he held the position of Senior Special Forces Officer from 1984 to 1998. He was involved in a number of high-profile anti-terrorist operations, as well as humanitarian and rescue missions in various countries.