Mr Hari Punchihewa

Hari Punchihewa

Position: Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director

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About

I am the Executive Director leading the core functions of Finance, Corporate Planning, IT, Estates and Property, Procurement and Commercial Development.

My key strategic responsibility is to ensure the financial stability and sustainability of the University and to direct necessary investments on resources to achieve University Mission and Core Objectives.

I also lead on:

  • The Corporate Planning of the University
  • The Commercial activities which include:
    • University of Derby Corporate (UDC)
    • Innovation for Learning (I4L)
    • Conferences and Commercial Unit
    • Enterprise and Business Incubator Unit
    • Contract and Legal aspects in any local or international partnerships, collaborations and all other supplier arrangements

I am a member of the University executive team and act as the deputy in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor. I also lead on related business operations such as Derby Theatre and Derbyshire Student Residences Ltd (DSRL) as the Chief Executive. My key task is to make sure we are financially robust and the University is sustainable in the long term. The joys of my job are to plan and enable exciting investments within affordability to increase resources, improve our estate, IT and other facilities.

I have a team of five in the Director of Estates, Director IT Services, Commercial Director,the Financial Controller and the Head of Procurement leading each of the key functional areas supporting me in this mission.

I am pleased to say that I was the first Director in the university sector to be admitted as a Chartered Director by the Institute of Directors in the UK. I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

My previous working life was in the private sector, blue-chip companies mainly in the merchant banking and financial services sector. As a senior executive my experience ranges from corporate finance and business operations to acquisition and mergers, new company set-ups and leading company restructures in both the UK and Europe.

Prior to joining Derby, I worked for Daimler Benz Group as Finance Director/Company Secretary responsible for a number of subsidiaries.

When I joined the University in autumn 2001, I was made to feel at home by very friendly staff and I must say this is a key trademark of Derby.

I thoroughly enjoy the challenge I have to implement business thinking and commerciality while maintaining the real values of a higher education institution. My experience in the private sector has helped me to drive a commercial focus within the University. So far there has not been a single boring minute! Our activity level is very high with a lot of new initiatives and a number of projects in progress at present to ensure our mission of being 'a University of Quality and Opportunity'.

Additional interests and activities

  • I am a Non-Executive Director of a number of organisations including UMAL (Mutual Insurance Company) and Derby Cityscape Ltd which is responsible for the regeneration of Derby City.
  • I was appointed as a Magistrate and a Justice of Peace by Her Majesty's Court Service in 2006.
  • Outside work, I am a keen supporter of Northampton Saints Rugby and the county cricket team.

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