Executive Management

Shigeo KATSU | President

Mr Shigeo Katsu is President of Nazarbayev University, a position he has held since December 2010. Prior to that, over the course of a 30-year career at the World Bank, Mr Shigeo Katsu held various positions including leading financial sector reform support for China, Director for Cote d’Ivoire, and Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. After his retirement from the World Bank, he served for a few years on the US board of a youthoriented international development NGO. Between 2011 and 2015 he was an Advisory Panel member of the ASEAN+3 Macro-Economic Research Office (AMRO).

In addition to his responsibilities at the university he is a member of the National Commission on the Modernization of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and serves as advisor to international and bilateral development institutions. In 2010/2011 he authored a chapter of “Asia, 2050: Realizing the Asian Century” by the Asian Development Bank, in 2014 he served as an editor for the book “Kazakhstan 2050 – Towards a Modern Society for All” (2014), and in 2015/16 was involved in the book “Central Asia 2050 – Unleashing the Region’s Potential”.

Ilesanmi ADESIDA | Provost

Professor Ilesanmi Adesida is a successful scientist and administrator in both scientific and educational circles. Prior to his appointment at Nazarbayev University, Professor Adesida served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).He received his Bachelor of Science in 1974, Master of Science in 1975, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1979 (University of California, Berkeley). From 1979 to 1984, he served as a visiting researcher and assistant professor at Cornell University. Subsequently, he was Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Tafawa Balewa in Nigeria from 1985 to 1987.

He joined the ranks of the University of Illinois faculty in 1987, where he was a professor of Engineering Sciences, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as special advisor on International Programs. He served as the Director of the Laboratory of Micro- and Nanotechnology from 2000 to 2005, as well as the Director of the Center for Nanoscale Sciences and Technologies from 2001 to 2012. In addition, during those years, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. He also nurtured a number of national and international partnerships in the field of education, research, and innovation entrepreneurship. Professor Adesida has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles and has made more than 250 presentations at international conferences. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Vacuum Society, Optical Society of America and the Materials Research Society. He was awarded the Oakley Kunde Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. He was also named an Outstanding Graduate of the Department of EECS, University of California, Berkeley. He was awarded the IEEE EDS for Special Merits in 2011. In 2016 he won the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Functional Materials John Bardeen Award. Professor Adesida was also a member of the Board of ASEE Engineering Deans and acted as Chairman of its Public Policy Committee from 2009 to 2011. Professor Adesida was Chairman of the session of the 5th Global University Summit held in Chicago in 2012, which was attended by the presidents and chancellors of some the largest international universities to discuss Developing Talent to Drive Innovation in a Global Society. He has served as Chairman of the NSF Engineering Advisory Board, an NSF Waterman Award Committee member, and worked for Committee on Institutional Cooperation and Provost Committees. He has also worked in a number of committees of the United States’ National Academies and is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering of the United States.

Vladislav Yezhov | Executive Vice President

In 2015-2017 Mr Vladislav Yezhov held the position of General Manager of the Supreme Board of Trustees, Nazarbayev University. Before that, during 2014-2015 he served as a Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Medical Holding and was responsible for financial management and operations. Previously, in 2012-2014 and 2008-2011, he worked at the National Analytical Center, first as Deputy Chairman of the Board, afterwards as the Chairman of the Board. In 2011-2012 Mr Yezhov held the position of Adviser to the Chairman of the Executive Council of Nazarbayev University. Prior to his work at the National Analytical Center, Vladislav Yezhov served as the Head of the Macroeconomic Analysis and Program Monitoring Division at the Office of the Prime Minister.

He originally started his career at the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where he subsequently grew from the position of Economist to the position of the Head of the Analytical Division of the State Budgeting Department. He also served at the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning of the Republic of Kazakhstan as head of the Analysis and Mid-Term Planning Division and the Deputy Director of the Department of Budget Policy and Planning. From 2004 to 2007, he was the lead expert and then the deputy head of the Social and Economic Analysis Division of the Administration of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In 2003 and 2004, Mr. Yezhov worked at the Center for Marketing and Analytical Research as the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Center. Vladislav Yezhov graduated in Finance from the Kazakh State Academy of Management located in Almaty (1992-1996). He graduated from Graduate School of Business, Nazarbayev University, and received Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration in 2017. Mr. Yezhov is co-editor of the book "Kazakhstan-2050: toward a modern society for all" (Oxford University Press, 2014). He is a chevalier of the Order of “Kurmet”.

Kadisha DAIROVA | Vice-President for Student Affairs and International Cooperation

Mrs Dairova graduated from Almaty State Teachers’ Institute of Foreign Languages, with a specialty in “English Language”. She holds a degree of Candidate of Philological Sciences from Moscow Teachers’ Institute of Foreign Languages.Earlier, she worked as the Third Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA; and the Second Secretary of the Department of American, and European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Mrs. Dairova was an Associate Professor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Kazakh State University, and a founder and president of the publicly funded “Linguistic Center” for the development of languages in Almaty. From 1998 to 2005, Mrs.

Dairova was a representative of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA, and Advisor of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan on humanitarian issues of bilateral cooperation. Her priority responsibility was administration of the “Bolashak” Presidential Program of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the USA and Canada.In addition, Mrs. Dairova was also President of the Center for International Programs JSC, Vice-Rector for Development of the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP); and Director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

Yerden KUSSAIN | Vice President for Innovation

Mr Kussain joined Nazarbayev University in 2009 and held positions of a General Counsel, Vice President until his appointment in 2017 as the Executive Vice President. Before joining Nazarbayev University he worked at Prime-Minister’s Office of Kazakhstan, Administration of the President of Kazakhstan, and local law firms. Yerden received his law degree from Kazakh State Law Academy in 2001, his LL.M. from Duke University School of Law in 2004 (Bolashak Scholarship), MSc in Public Policy from London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009 (Chevening Scholarship). He is a board member of University Medical Center, Kazakh National Geographic Society, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools.

Roza NURGOZHAYEVA | Vice President - General Counsel

Prior to her appointment as General Counsel, Dr. Roza Nurgozhayeva served as the Head of the Office for coordination of international contracts at Nazarbayev University. Before joining Nazarbayev University in 2014, Dr. Nurgozhayeva practiced law for more than 7 years as an in-house counsel of a commercial bank, the member of an international financial group, where she provided in-house support for bank operations, major acquisitions, securities’ issuance, and litigation.

She completed her bachelor degrees in law (cum laude) and economics in Kazakhstan and LL.M. at Cornell Law School. She has a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) degree from Cornell University.

Massimo Pignatelli I Vice President for Medicine – Dean of School of Medicine

Dr. Massimo Pignatelli, MD, PhD, a distinguished pathologist and biomedical scientist, prior to his appointment held the position of the Dean of Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (NUSOM), which was formally established in January 2014. Before coming to NUSOM in November 2013, Dr. Pignatelli was at the University of Glasgow School of Medicine, where he served as international lead in the College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences and head of the School of Medicine, which includes the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing and Health Care. He also held the St. Mungo-Notman Chair as head of pathology.

Dr. Pignatelli joined the University of Glasgow in 2011 following an academic career at Imperial College, London as senior lecturer/reader in pathology and at the University of Bristol, where he was professor of histopathology and head of clinical sciences. Dr. Pignatelli earned his MD summa cum laude from the University of Bologna, Italy, and his PhD from University College, London. He is a noted and well-published physician-scientist whose research focuses on epithelial adhesion molecules and particularly on their exploitation as biomarkers for tissue diagnosis, prognosis, and response to treatment.

Loretta O’DONNELL | Vice-Provost, Academic Affairs

Dr. Loretta O’Donnell has over twenty years’ experience as an academic teacher at Executive MBA, postgraduate business and undergraduate business levels in the Australian School of Business, in the University of New South Wales (UNSW) located in Sydney, Australia. UNSW is a research intensive university with 52,000 students from over 100 countries. The MBA program has been in the top 50 programs globally for the past seven years.As an elected member of UNSW Academic Board at UNSW, Dr O’Donnell combined policy development and implementation with her teaching, learning and research interests.

She has led numerous programs in development, program management and academic program reviews. She researches in human capital analysis for financial markets and has published in a wide range of international journals. Dr O’Donnell has been an invited speaker on a range of leadership, change management and academic teaching and learning themes. She also has extensive experience as a management consultant, gained within a large global firm in Chicago, and a boutique firm specializing in developing management systems to sustain change. Her academic qualifications include a PhD in Management, (Macquarie Graduate School of Management); MBA (AGSM, UNSW), Graduate Diploma in Education and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (N’cle).

Charalabos Doumanidis I Vice Provost for Research

Professor Charalabos (Haris) Doumanidis holds his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mechanical Engineering (1988), his M.S. from Northwestern University, Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering (1985), and his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the Aristotelian Univ. of Thessaloniki (1983). He served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada Reno, NV (2013-2014); He was the Founding Director of the Nanomanufacturing Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA (2001- 03, 2006-07 and 2010-11). He was also the Founding Director of the Hephaistos Nanotechnology Research Center (2006-2009), Visiting Professor/Research Engineer at MIT (2005-07), and Founding Head of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department at the University of Cyprus (2004).

His earlier career was as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Thermal Manufacturing Laboratory at Tufts University in Medford, MA (1991-2000), and Chief Scientist with Axcelis Technologies (Thermal Processing Systems) in Beverly, MA (2000-01). He has previously been a Lecturer at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (1991), Squadron Sergeant for the Hellenic Air Force (1990-91), and a Postdoctoral Associate with the MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (1989). Dr. Doumanidis serves also as a consultant for the energy, automation, optoelectronics, biomedical and automotive industry. His research and teaching interests include advanced manufacturing, nanoscale engineering with nanoheaters, thermal processing of materials, featherlike composites, distributed parameter system modeling and control, robotics, tissue engineering and biomedical instrumentation. He has been Coordinator of a Marie Curie Excellence Team; Recipient of the Marie Curie Chair of Excellence by the European Commission; the ASME Blackall Award; the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award by the White House (by President W.J. Clinton); the NSF Young Investigator and Research Initiation Awards etc. He serves as Chief Technical Officer in seven small businesses run by his former student investigators, and mentors the research planning of junior investigators, postdocs and graduate students worldwide.

Chester Jablonski Associate Provost for Graduate Studies

Dr. Chester Jablonski is an experienced academic administrator in graduate education. He was appointed as Dean of Graduate Studies at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland Canada in 1997, Dean of Graduate Studies at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates in 2008 and Associate Provost Graduate Studies at Nazarbayev University in 2018.

He has chaired the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Postgraduate Scholarship Committee for Physical Sciences, served on the executive of the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) and the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools (NAGS) and is professionally recognized as a fellow of the Canadian Chemistry Society for his research in transition metal chiral catalysis. As Nazarbayev University Associate Provost of Graduate Studies Dr. Jablonski oversees academic and administrative support for all NU masters and doctoral students as well as post-doctoral scholars.