Executive Management

Shigeo KATSU | President

Mr. Shigeo Katsu is President of Nazarbayev University, a position he has held since December 2010. He also holds such positions as Chairman of the Board of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, Board member of Nazarbayev Fund and Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Heartland Jýsan Bank JSC.
Prior to Nazarbayev University, 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 youth-oriented 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.

Argin Kipshakov | Executive Vice President

Argin Kipshakov graduated from Moscow Machine Tool Institute majoring in “Automation of Technological Processes and Production” and from the Institute of Market at Kazakh State Academy of Management majoring in “Finance and Credit”. Since 1994, he has worked for the tax authorities. From 2008 to 2014, he held the position Deputy Chairman of the Tax Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan, from 2015 to 2018 - Deputy Chairman of the State Revenue Committee of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

He worked on the Tax Administration Reform Project, where the business processes of the tax authorities we redesigned and reformed in consultation with the World Bank. Moreover, under the Project “Modernization of Kazakhstan 3.0”, he led the project “Improved Tax Collection” aimed at introducing new initiatives to digitize tax and customs administration.

Vladislav Yezhov | Vice President for Risks and Asset Management

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 Yerden Kussain joined Nazarbayev University in 2009 and held positions of a General Counsel, Executive Vice President until his appointment in 2018 as the Vice President for Innovation. Before joining Nazarbayev University he worked at Prime-Minister’s Office of Kazakhstan, Administration of the President of Kazakhstan, and local law firms in Kazakhstan. Yerden received his law degree from Kazakh State Law Academy in 2001, his LL.M. from Duke University School of Law in 2004, MSc in Public Policy from London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009. He is a board member of University Medical Center and ABC-I2BF Seed Fund.

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).

Charles Surya I Vice Provost for Research and Industry Engagement

Dr. Charles Surya received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rochester in the USA. His research interest focuses on optoelectronic materials and devices including photovoltaics and photodetectors. Professor Surya had published over 200 papers in the field of solid-state materials and devices. He joined the Electronic and Information Engineering Department of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1994. From 2007 to 2010 he served as the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. From 2010 to 2012 he served as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Since 2013 he was appointed Clarea Au Endowed Professor in Energy at the Department of Electronic and Information Engineering.

Professor Surya joined Nazarbayev University in August 2017 as the Dean of the School of Engineering. Dr. Surya served as the Chairman of the IEEE Electron Devices Society, Hong Kong Chapter, in 1997 and 2013. He has been serving as the Chair of the Optoelectronic Devices Technical Committee of IEEE Electron Devices Society and an Editor of the Journal Electron Devices Society.

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.