Jesus and Queens' Colleges elect new heads of house

Jesus and Queens' Colleges elect new heads of house

  • Sonita Alleyne

Image of Sonita Alleyne by Damian Paul Daniel

Sonita Alleyne has been elected as the next Master of Jesus College from 1 October 2019. Dr Mohamed A El-Erian has been elected as the next President of Queens' College from 1 October 2020.

Sonita Alleyne OBE FRA FRSA

Sonita Alleyne has been elected as the next Master of Jesus College. She will take up the role from 1 October 2019, coinciding with the College’s 40th anniversary of co-education. The 42nd Master and first woman to lead Jesus College since its foundation in 1496, Sonita succeeds Professor Ian White, who was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath earlier this year.

A businesswoman and entrepreneur, Sonita brings a wealth of governance experience to her new role. Appointed by the Mayor of London to the Board of the London Legacy Development Corporation in 2012, she is part of the drive to promote and deliver regeneration in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and surrounding areas.

On the announcement of her election, Sonita Alleyne said: “It is an honour to be elected to lead Jesus College and I’m looking forward to becoming part of such an energetic and innovative community. Having met many Fellows, students and staff in recent weeks, I was struck by the positive and forward-looking ethos shared across the College."

In her five-year tenure as a BBC Trustee, Sonita championed diversity and inclusivity to represent all communities of the UK. As part of the national media skills body Skillset, she helped to shape and implement widening access and participation work around the radio broadcasting industry.

Sonita is also the director and founder of the Yes Programme, an online careers information scheme which gives school pupils an insight into how classroom skills translate to real world careers.

Brought up in East London, Sonita studied for her undergraduate degree in philosophy at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, before starting her career in radio.

Read more on Jesus College's website

  • Mohamed A El-Erian

Dr Mohamed A El-Erian

Dr Mohamed A El-Erian has been elected as the next President of Queens' College. He will take office on 1 October 2020.

Mohamed A El-Erian read Economics as an undergraduate scholar at Queens’ (1977-80) and completed his MPhil and DPhil at Oxford University, also in Economics. He is presently Chief Economic Adviser at Allianz and was co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO. He is also a columnist at Bloomberg News, a Financial Times contributing editor, on the board of several non-profits and one corporate board, and has advised governments, industrial and financial companies.

He has served as chair of President Obama’s Global Development Council. He was a Deputy Director at the International Monetary Fund and President of Harvard Management Company. Throughout his career, Dr El-Erian has been involved with universities and think tanks around the world.

He said: "Having experienced the transformational power of Queens' and Cambridge, I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues to build on the College's many accomplishments under the 23-year leadership of Lord Eatwell. I am particularly privileged to return to Queens' at a time of great change, not only in social and economic affairs, but also due to exciting technological innovations that influence education and our society in so many ways. Underpinned by our deep commitment to academic excellence, we will work in an inclusive way to continue to broaden access, deepen diversity and promote an ever more supportive environment for intellectual curiosity, deep learning and impactful research."

He served on the boards of the International Center for Research on Women and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and is on the executive committee of the National Bureau for Economic Research. He co-chairs the collegiate University's Dear World... Yours, Cambridge fundraising campaign.

Read more on the Queens' College website