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Recent Movers & Shakers

Katy Christie

Moved within/to: The Alice Smith School
On: September 2023

The Alice Smith School, Malaysia. Katy Christie was recently appointed to the role of head of brand and communications at the Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur. Katy is a seasoned professional renowned for her adeptness in driving sales and marketing initiatives across diverse industries. Before her role at The Alice Smith School, Katy held the pivotal position of head of marketing at Gemini Worktops, where she orchestrated disruptive digital marketing strategies that fueled remarkable growth within the competitive home renovation market. Her innovative marketing approach was instrumental in the company’s success, cementing her reputation as a dynamic leader in the field. With extensive experience in higher education through roles at NCUK and the Oxbridge Formula, as well as involvement in brand transformation initiatives at Nord Anglia Education during a period of growth and acquisition, Katy possesses comprehensive insight into international tertiary and K-12 education challenges. “My time at The Alice Smith School has been incredibly dynamic so far—just three months in, but already immersed in a fantastic team and a warm school community!”

Lisa Choate

Moved within/to: American Councils for International Education
On: February 2024

American Councils for International Education, US. The American Councils’ board has announced that it has chosen Lisa Choate to become American Councils’ fourth, and first female, president and CEO. Lisa joined American Councils in 1987, a time when the organization employed fewer than ten staff and focused its efforts almost exclusively on language programming between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. She worked with the organisation’s founder Dan Davidson to establish American Councils offices in Washington DC and as an early leader of the organization has strongly influenced its tremendous expansion to an organization that now counts over 650 staff, 38 offices, and 100,000 students, teachers, and professionals in over 140 countries as its alumni. Outgoing CEO David Patton said: “I have no doubt that Lisa’s unique skills, vast global experience, dedication to the mission, and remarkable professionalism will ensure continued organizational growth and expanded impact for years to come.”


Fiona Conlan

Moved within/to: University for the Creative Arts
On: January 2024

University for the Creative Arts, UK. Fiona Conlan has been appointed director of UCA Global, with responsibility for developing and delivering a global strategy which optimises UCA’s international student recruitment, admissions, international partnerships, and global development functions. Fiona joins from the University of Southampton where she was deputy director of Global Recruitment and Admissions and associate director international. In this role, she led a restructure of the International Office, exceeded international student number plans at all levels of study and quadrupled Turing Scheme funding. Prior to this, Fiona spent seven years in global engagement at LSE, five years at the University of Greenwich as international partnerships director where she oversaw one of the largest TNE portfolios in the UK, and held other international-facing roles at Kent, UEL and the University of California. In relation to her new role, Fiona remarked: “I am excited to work with the UCA community to lead our global vision and strategy, and to have the opportunity to support a forward-thinking beacon of creative excellence that embraces innovation, fosters creativity, and celebrates diversity.”

Pamela Farah

Moved within/to: British International School Ukraine
On: September 2023

BISU, Ukraine. Pamela Farah recently took up the role of the international academic director at The British International School, Ukraine. A seasoned educational leader, Pamela boasts 20 years’ successful international leadership and teaching experience across a range of multilingual private and public K-12 schools. She is well-versed in British, American and Irish curriculum and assessment management and development, and familiar with education in the Western Countries and Middle East context. Pamela worked with 75+ nationalities from a range of diverse backgrounds. In her new role at BISU, she will contribute to Ukraine’s recovery, while developing an innovative education model and nurturing motivated lifelong learners – the nation’s next generation – armed with knowledge and skills for life and eager to make a positive impact on the world. Becoming part of BISU in challenging times for Ukraine, she says: “It is a privilege and honour to join such an amazing team and work alongside my Ukrainian and international colleagues who show such perseverance, dedication and resilience in the face of adversity on a daily basis.” 

Amy VanSurksum

Moved within/to: StudyPortals
On: January 2024

Studyportals, Global. Amy VanSurksum has joined Studyportals as senior VP of Business Development – North America. Studyportals´results-based channels support universities with digital marketing, analytics, and international student recruitment, enabling them to reach a global audience and diversify their student population. In this role, Amy will support US higher education institutions with their international student marketing and enrolment strategies. Amy has worked in international enrolment management for more than 25 years at US, UK, and Australian institutions, and most recently at ApplyBoard. Throughout her career, she has been an active volunteer-leader with NAFSA, AIRC, TAICEP, and various state and regional organisations. Amy strives to make the world a better place through global student mobility, and is thrilled to have joined Studyportals to support its mission to empower the world to choose education.

Omar Abbosh

Moved within/to: Pearson
On: September 2023

Pearson, Global. Omar Abbosh has begun his role as Pearson’s new chief executive officer and executive director. Omar is succeeding Andy Bird, who has decided to retire as CEO of Pearson. Omar Abbosh is a highly regarded global leader with over 30 years of experience in enterprise technology driving substantial growth, strategy and transformation for leading multinational companies. He has a deep understanding of the dynamic business and technology landscape having helped to shape and execute successful strategies in a world of disruption. Omar was president of Microsoft’s Industry Solutions business with direct responsibility for driving sales, service and solutions across Microsoft’s largest global customers. Prior to Microsoft, he spent three decades at Accenture in numerous senior leadership roles, including Chief Strategy Officer and ultimately as Chief Executive of the global Communications, Technology and Media business. “The Company is at an exciting stage of its growth journey in markets that are increasingly digital. I look forward to building on the strategic growth opportunities, along with the leadership team, placing Pearson in the vanguard of lifelong learning,” said Omar.

Brandon Busteed

Moved within/to: BrandEd Holdings
On: December 2023

BrandEd Holdings, US. Brandon Busteed has been named the CEO of BrandEd, a family-owned education company which delivers experiential courses taught by industry experts from the world’s best brands including Sotheby’s, Conde Nast, The New York Times and City Football. Brandon is a mission-driven education and workforce development leader who has been part of successful runs as an entrepreneur of an EdTech company and an executive at two large, well-known organisations. He is a huge champion of work-integrated, experiential learning who believes the future won’t distinguish between places of learning and places of work. Prior to BrandEd, Busteed served as Chief Partnership Officer and Global Head of Learn-Work Innovation
at Kaplan where he led all of Kaplan’s work serving universities and companies, leveraging the organisation’s highly-diversified, global educational offerings and insights. An internationally known speaker and author on education and workforce development, he has published more than 300 articles and keynoted more than 200 conferences. He is a LinkedIn “Top Voice” and frequent contributor to

Roger Brindley

Moved within/to: Acumen
On: January 2024

Acumen, Global. Acumen are pleased to announce the appointment of Roger Brindley as president North America. Roger brings a wealth of experience and an impressive track record of leadership in academia and international relations to the Acumen team. Previously serving as the vice provost for Global Programmes at Penn State since 2020, Roger oversaw a substantial team of professionals managing education abroad programmes, advising international students and scholars, and fostering global partnerships. Before joining Penn State, Roger held the position of Vice President of USF World at the University of South Florida (USF). During his tenure, he managed global engagement and international student success initiatives, including an eight-year partnership with Sannam S4 and Acumen. Roger stated: “I am delighted to be joining the world-class team at Acumen. Acumen has an exciting future at a time of extraordinary change in global higher education and is well-placed to lead innovative thought leadership… for positive change.”

Andy Harrison

Moved within/to: ETS
On: January 2024

ETS, Global. Andy has recently been appointed by ETS International UK as business development director. With over 15 years’ experience working for examination boards and test providers, Andy has held roles with Trinity College London, LanguageCert and, latterly, as senior director of recognition at PSI. He has been part of – and led – teams across operations, recognition, marketing and sales functions, focusing predominantly on the UK and Irish language school and higher education markets, and related government requirements. In his new role, Andy will continue to develop TOEFL as the academic English test of choice for receiving institutions and students alike, leveraging the new technologies and advancements in high-stakes testing ETS is known and respected for. Of his new role, Andy said, “I am delighted to be joining ETS at such an important time for the business in the UK and Ireland, and very much looking forward to working with both established and new partners across the sector.”

C.P. Gurnani

Moved within/to: upGrad
On: December 2023

upGrad, India. upGrad has announced the appointment of C.P. Gurnani to its Board of Directors. C.P. will serve as an independent non-executive director while it continues to ramp up its domestic and global operations. Under his 19 years of leadership as Tech Mahindra’s CEO & managing director, the company scaled up significantly, both in terms of operations/innovations and topline, retaining its position among the Top 5 Indian IT marquee players. He retired from his post last month and served on the Board of Mahindra & Mahindra for over three decades. Before Tech Mahindra, C.P. held leadership roles at HCL Perot JV as the founder and CEO. C.P. said, “As an independent director, I will prioritise the global expansion of the company, leveraging its strong credentials… It’s interesting to observe how upGrad is reversing the pyramid, empowering millions, and addressing the rising demand for upskilling, particularly in times of AI… I intend to work with the Board and mentor the management to set audacious goals that align with positioning upGrad as the global smart content factory.”


Sarah Grant

Moved within/to: insendi
On: January 2024

insendi, Global. Sarah Grant has joined insendi as the academic director, bringing extensive pedagogical expertise from her role as director of the IDEA Lab at Imperial College Business School. At Imperial, Sarah was instrumental in shaping the digital education strategy, leading the development of online programmes, and integrating cutting-edge technology and data analytics to enhance learning and teaching.  In her new role at insendi, Sarah leads the management of partner relationships and contributes to developing the company’s strategy and product portfolio. Sarah’s thought leadership and passion for pedagogical innovation is key to delivering insendi’s mission to transform the digital learning landscape. Sarah continues to share her expertise through her teaching in the EFMD’s Online Teaching Academy and the DBA in Higher Education Leadership and Management at Luiss Business School. Sarah comments, “Joining insendi presents an exciting opportunity to advance digital education globally. I’m eager to collaborate with partners and colleagues to create impactful learning experiences that resonate in today’s dynamic educational environment.”

Cam Harvey

Moved within/to: Global Village English Centres
On: December 2023

Global Village, Canada. Cam Harvey has (re)joined Global Village as co-managing partner. Cam was GV’s Sales and Marketing leader between 1997-2005. Since leaving GV, Cam has led recruitment teams in all the segments of our markets: higher education, high school, and summer camps. Cam offers, “I am genuinely excited to be returning to the organisation that kicked off my career in this industry. I aim to use the various roles and experiences I have had in the industry over the last 18 years to help plot a new course for growth for GV.” This transition also marks the official retirement of John Taplin from GV and from the industry. John contributed enormously not just to GV but the industry through his tireless efforts at Languages Canada. Enjoy your well earned retirement, John!

Yifan Hou

Moved within/to: Greenwich International Education
On: January 2024

Greenwich International Education, UK. Yifan is thrilled to embark on her new journey with Greenwich International Education as a marketing executive. With a solid foundation in International Business from her undergraduate studies, Yifan discovered a profound interest in marketing, leading her to pursue a masters degree in International Marketing, where she honed her expertise in marketing strategy and digital marketing. Her professional journey is marked by notable experience in marketing and sales in the luxury watch industry. Additionally, her experience at a creative agency enriched her ability to orchestrate successful brand launch campaigns and develop impactful branding strategies. Yifan’s unique blend of academic knowledge and diverse industry experience positions her as a valuable asset to the GIE team. She is enthusiastic about leveraging her skills and insights to contribute to the company’s success and growth.

Brett Blacker

Moved within/to: Duolingo English Test
On: January 2024

Duolingo English Test, Global. Former English Australia CEO Brett Blacker has joined the team at Duolingo English Test as the company’s new managing director of Australia and New Zealand. In his new position, Brett will be responsible for driving significant growth and impact across the Australian market. Brett brings a wealth of experience in the higher education and assessment sectors, and his appointment signifies a crucial turning point for Duolingo and our stakeholders in the higher education sector, setting the stage for substantial impact and growth in the Australian market and beyond. He had held the post of CEO at English Australia since August 2015, and served as president of IEAA for a term in 2015. Upon leaving his post, he said: “I want to extend my sincere thanks to our members, industry partners, government colleagues, and the English Australia Board. Your incredible support over the past [eight] years has been instrumental in our shared success.”

Frank Jacob

Moved within/to: ESCP Business School
On: December 2023

ESCP Business School, Germany. Frank Jacob has taken up his position as the new rector of ESCP Business School in Berlin. He succeeds Professor Véronique Tran, who became ESCP’s executive VP for executive education and corporate relations on 1 July 2023. Frank Jacob was appointed professor of marketing at ESCP in 2002 and has been a member of the European Department of Marketing ever since. Frank was elected by the School’s Academic Senate and appointed rector by professor Léon Laulusa, executive president and dean of ESCP. In this role, he will strengthen ESCP’s outstanding position and excellence in teaching and research, and further develop its unique multicultural and multidisciplinary approach. “I feel honoured and grateful for the trust placed in me by the entire ESCP community. We want to further develop ESCP’s Berlin campus as a centre for management studies with the greatest cultural diversity in Germany. I am particularly keen to raise awareness among our students of the ethical standards of our European value system and to share these with our international graduates in all regions of the world.”

Ana Ortiz

Moved within/to: Orbital Education
On: September 2023

Orbital Education, Spain. Ana was recently appointed as head of integration at Orbital Education. She completed her BA(Hons) in International Business and French at Kingston University, London in 2013. Over the course of her career, Ana has played a pivotal role in the establishment and expansion of companies worldwide, bringing her expertise to bear in various regions, including Spain, Singapore, the UK, the USA, and Ghana. In recent years, she held the prestigious position of managing director at The British School of Cordoba, a renowned British school in Spain, where she not only upheld but significantly enhanced its reputation for academic excellence and student success. Ana’s professional trajectory serves as a testament to her visionary approach and outstanding leadership qualities, consistently transforming concepts into thriving businesses and propelling teams to achieve remarkable success in both corporate and educational settings. Her global perspective, combined with a commitment to excellence, has made her a standout figure in the dynamic and competitive landscape of international business and education.

David Johnstone

Moved within/to: NexPay
On: December 2023

NexPay, Australia. NexPay, a global payment solutions provider specialising in educational sector transactions, has appointed David Johnstone as its new non-executive chair. David, who is also chair of Envirosuite (ASX:EVS), brings more than 35 years of experience in financial services and emerging technologies, with extensive merger & acquisition and IPO experience in the UK and Australia. His previous stints include Cooper Investors, Kepa Financial Services, GPS Wealth, Pacific Environment, and Centrepoint Alliance (ASX:CAF). David said: “I am honoured to take on the role of Chair at such a pivotal moment in NexPay’s strong growth trajectory. The road ahead is laden with opportunities, and I am committed to steering NexPay towards a future of global recognition and enhanced service delivery.”

Michael Lynas

Moved within/to: Duolingo English Test
On: December 2023

Duolingo English Test, Global. Michael Lynas joins the Duolingo English Test team as UK country lead. He was previously serving as VP of strategic initiatives at INTO University Partnerships. Michael is an experienced leader with a track record of founding and growing impactful new ventures. As well as INTO, he’s worked across all three sectors – for Bain in the private sector, for No10 in the public sector, and in the not-for-profit sector he founded National Citizen Service (NCS). Under his leadership NCS grew into a national institution enshrined in legislation and by Royal Charter that has created billions of pounds of social value by supporting 600,000 young people. He continues to serve NCS as a Patron and sits on the Boards of the John Browne Charitable Trust and City Year UK. He has degrees in politics and public policy from Cambridge and Harvard.

Luke Sheehy

Moved within/to: Universities Australia
On: February 2024

Universities Australia, Australia. The Universities Australia Board has appointed Luke Sheehy as the body’s new chief executive for a five-year term. Luke has more than 20 years’ experience shaping the agenda of higher education and has led the Australian Technology Network of Universities for almost five years. He has held key education roles in government, along with working as an education and strategy consultant for the Asian Development Bank and also held senior management roles at Swinburne University. “As the first member of my family to graduate from university, I know first-hand the power of education to transform lives and I am driven to ensure that opportunity is provided to as many people as possible,” Luke said. “Australia’s success is intrinsically linked to a strong pipeline of skills delivered by our world-class universities. With 2024 set to be a year of big reform, I will bring the energy and enthusiasm necessary to ensure we come up with meaningful change and advance the interests of UA’s members.”


Ian Aird

Moved within/to: English Australia
On: January 2023

English Australia, Australia. English Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Ian Aird as the new Chief Executive Officer for English Australia. Ian brings over 20 years’ experience in the ELICOS sector and is widely-recognised in the international education community. His professional journey spans various colleges in Australia, Europe and Asia, and he has accumulated comprehensive expertise ranging from executive management, marketing, teaching and CELTA training to admissions, finance and IT. Ian also successfully operated a strategy and management consultancy focused on the international education sector for five years. With a robust background in corporate governance and eight years of experience as a board director, including serving as a director and Deputy Chair for the English Australia Board, Ian is well-equipped to lead English Australia to continued success.


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