The Cranfield School of Management Alumni Awards recognise the exceptional achievements of our alumni while showcasing the global impact of Cranfield.

Meet the 2020 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

Dr Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan, FCA, FCIB (MBA 2005)

Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank Group

Dr Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and its subsidiaries (comprising FBNBank UK, FBNBank Congo DR, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Senegal, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian), is an accomplished professional with distinctive national and international experience in commercial banking, investment banking, development finance; banks and other financial institutions’ audit and management/risk consulting. His career spans over 25 years and includes significant executive management responsibility/oversight roles.

Prior to his appointment as CEO of FirstBank Group in January 2016, he was the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Bank. Adesola has also held several leadership roles including Director & Chief Financial Officer of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Senior Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer at Citibank Nigeria Limited, Senior Manager at KPMG and Manager at Arthur Andersen Nigeria.

Over the course of his career, he has garnered expertise in diverse areas of management including financial and risk management, treasury, performance management, strategy design and execution, Information Technology and Compliance. 

Adesola holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Adesola attended Cranfield School of Management as a “British Chevening Scholar.” He is also a Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Getting to know you with Dr Adesola Adeduntan

Dr Adesola Adeduntan answers questions from staff and students.

Quick questions

Dr Adesola Adeduntan answers some quick questions.

Meet the 2020 Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year

Eyal Ben-Cohen (MBA 2004)

Founder & CEO, Verifile Holdings Limited

In 2003, the story of a security driver who faked his identity to gain employment before committing a robbery sparked my interest in the dangers of lax recruitment processes. Consequently, I founded Verifile, a technology-led background screening company, applying investigative rigour to quality data sourced from around the world within a proprietary, highly secure platform.

Having previously worked in the innovative Israeli internet industry, Cranfield is where my Verifile journey began in earnest. With the support of my lecturers and fellow students, a business plan began to take shape as I worked towards my MBA. It’s a place that provided me with access to everything an aspiring entrepreneur could hope for, including a strong network, client introductions, investment capital, research resources, and an office.

Sixteen years on, and with Verifile having just received a Queen’s Award for International Trade, I’m still passionate about creating transparency within a workforce and understanding how technology can help achieve this – and I’m still incredibly proud to be a Cranfield alumnus.

Getting to know you with Eyal Ben-Cohen

Eyal Ben-Cohen answers questions from staff and students.

Quick questions

Eyal Ben-Cohen answers some quick questions.

Meet the 2020 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Graduates Winner

Lucie Basch (MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management 2014)

Co-founder and Chief Expansion Officer, Too Good To Go and CEO, Too Good To Go France

An engineer, Lucie began her career in the food-processing industry in the UK. Witnessing the immense scope of food waste in her branch, she quit her job and started thinking of a concept that would give every citizen the opportunity to fight food waste at their own level.

“Collaboration is the new competition”, and Lucie joined a couple of young entrepreneurs in Denmark that had a similar idea. Together, they created Too Good To Go, and Lucie launched the initiative in France in June 2016 with great success.

Since then, 29 million meals have been saved in 14 countries, Too Good To Go has more than 37 000 business partners and counts 500+ employees. Lucie is a member of the Carrefour Food Orientation Committee.

Lucie is a member of the Carrefour Food Orientation Committee and speaks regularly on topics of social entrepreneurship, including at Les Mines de Paris - Engineering school in Paris.

Meet the 2020 Alumni Service Award Winner

Christopher Ballnath (MSc Finance and Management 2006)

Director Business Development, ALPE Consulting

Christopher Ballnath is an international business development professional with 20+ years of experience having graduated from Cranfield School of Management in 2006 with an M.Sc. in Finance & Management and also holding a B.Sc. in Business Administration & IT from the University of Oregon (USA). Chris is currently a member of the management team for one of the leading SAP Gold Partners in Russia responsible for all international clients. Prior to that, he was the Co-Founder of Syngas Solutions, a unique Austrian/German Technology in the waste-to-energy business, Associate Director at UBS AG in Switzerland and Germany and Account Manager for EMC2 (now DELL) and Allianz AG. Chris considers himself a “true cosmopolite” having lived/worked in Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, UK & the US.

In 2013 Chris started and lead the official Cranfield Alumni Network for Russia, bringing together 80+ alumni for regular social & networking events thereby making Russia one of the most active alumni groups worldwide. In 2014 he founded and lead the organisation “Alumni of Leading Graduate Schools of the World” in Moscow, connecting alumni of the world’s leading business schools with quarterly events focused on cross-networking between all alumni while inviting high profile speakers and business leaders to present on current business & geopolitical topics.

Chris was also part of the “Russia Coast to Coast” world record team where Austrian extreme sportsman Wolfgang Fasching bicycled 10,000 km through Russia from Vladivostok (East Coast) to St. Petersburg (West Coast) in only 21 days (» 480km/day).

Getting to know you with Christopher Ballnath

Christopher Ballnath answers questions from staff and students.

Quick questions

Christopher Ballnath answers some quick questions.

Previous Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

  • Kester Scrope (MBA 2001)
  • Zak Hydari (MBA 2004)
  • Omobola Johnson (DBA 2013)
  • Grenville Turner (EMBA 1992)
  • Dominic von Trotha Taylor (MBA 1990)
  • Mayank Patel (Business Growth and Development Programme 2001)
  • Tony Rice (EMBA 1990)
  • Antony Jenkins (MBA 1988)
  • Warren East (EMBA 1990)
  • John McFarlane OBE (MBA 1975)
  • Nigel Doughty (MBA 1984)
  • Ted Tuppen (MBA 1981)
  • Ian Odgers (MBA 1966)
  • Elena Ambrosiadou (MBA 1988)
  • Robert Wright (MBA 1982)
  • Andy Harrison (MBA 1983)
  • Andy Bond (MBA 1993)

Previous Entrepreneur Alumni of the Year Award Winners

  • Geeta Sidhu-Robb (Business Growth and Development Programme 2013)
  • Jamie Waller (Business Growth Programme 2010)
  • Angus Thirlwell (Business Growth and Development Programme 2000)
  • Jon Thornes MBE (Business Growth and Development Programme 2006)
  • Glenn Collinson (MBA 1994)
  • Tristram Mayhew & Will Galbraith (Business Growth and Development Programme 2006) Jerome Mayhew & Rebecca Mayhew (Business Growth and Development Programme 2010)
  • Debra Charles (Business Growth and Development Programme 2007)
  • Richard Salvage (Business Growth and Development Programme 2004)
  • Harry Clarke (MBA 1992)
  • Nick Jenkins (MBA 1999)
  • Lara Morgan (Business Growth and Development Programme 1999)
  • Lord Karan Bilimoria (Business Growth and Development Programme 1998)
  • Steve Jolliffe (MBA 1986)

Previous Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Graduates Winners

  • Peter Kwok (MSc Finance and Management 2008)
  • Dr Kim Nilsson and Jason Muller (MBA 2012) 
  • Haitham Rizk (MBA 2010)
  • Andrew Darfoor (EMBA 2006)
  • Paul O’Callaghan (MBA 2011)
  • Andy Baker (EMBA 2005)

Previous Alumni Service Award Winners

  • Christopher Ballnath (MSc Finance and Management 2006)
  • Andy Hunter (MBA 1987)
  • The Zurich Alumni Committee
  • Robert Wright (MBA 1982)
  • Shanghai Alumni Committee
  • Paul Zaman (MBA 1988)
  • Alex Chapman (MBA 1988) and David Thompson (MBA 1969)