New experts appointed

Published: January 2024

Nine new experts appointed to advise WPI Economics
WPI Economics is today launching its new Advisers Network with the appointment of nine senior, experienced Expert Advisers.

The Network widens the range of expertise WPI Economics can draw on to ensure it is delivering the best outcomes for its diverse client base. The Network brings together experienced practitioners who can offer an insightful, inquisitive and challenging perspective to its work on an advisory basis.

Ranging from former Senior Civil Servants to think-tank and business group directors, the Advisers will shape key projects, support on overall strategy direction and help the leadership team identify new areas of work, supporting growth in line with its ethos.

WPI Economics Director and Founder Matthew Oakley said:

“As our business continues to expand, we have created this Network to bring together those whose expertise we admire and whose ethos aligns with our own

“We are excited about the potential this brilliant group has to add value for our clients and to shape our own future business development.”

The first eight Advisers to be appointed are:

Adam Hawksbee, Deputy Director of Onward: Adam’s work focuses on increasing economic growth and strengthening communities across the UK. He has published research on a range of topics including empowering regional mayors, tackling antisocial behaviour and reforming technical education. Adam was previously Head of Policy to Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and has worked with US Mayors as a Research Fellow at the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and during a period at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations.

Alex Chesterfield, behavioural science expert: After six years in consultancy, Alex she founded Which?’s first Behavioural Science team and then pioneered new methods at the FCA’s Behavioural Economics & Data Science team. She now works for a major UK bank on behavioural risk management, leading a team which develops innovative data-led ways to minimise the risk of poor outcomes and support sustainable growth. Alex is co-author of ‘Poles Apart’ – published by Penguin Random House in 2021 – on why people turn against each other and how to bring them together. She has recently begun a PhD at the London School of Economics on organisational failure and how to maintain (cognitive) independence to improve decision-making.

Alexander Jan, former Chief Economist: As Chief Economist at Arup, Alex led work on transport sector mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure plans and economic policy and strategy projects for major cities. He is currently chair of the Central District Alliance and Hatton Garden business improvement districts which cover central Camden and Islington. Alex is chief economic advisor to the London Property Alliance (formed of the City and Westminster property associations) and is an independent advisor to the EC BID in the City of London. Alex is writing a biography of Lord Ashfield (1874-1948), the creator of London Transport.

Angelina Chihambakwe-McKenzie, entrepreneur and consultant: Angelina is an entrepreneur, business development, and investment consultant with expertise spanning the mining sector, agribusiness, logistics and financial modelling. She has global academic and work experience, including time in the USA, South Africa, Singapore and Gabon. Angelina’s expertise includes financial modelling (investment banking and private equity), comprehensive business research and analysis, stakeholder engagement strategy (for government entities and multinationals) and strategy development. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from GIBS Business School, University of Pretoria, Johannesburg, and a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago.

Ian Mulheirn, economist and public policy expert: Ian has deep experience of policy development and government in the UK, and of economic consulting. He is currently an Associate at the Resolution Foundation, a Commissioner on the Centre of Government at the Institute for Government and a Chair of the Board of Directors at Generation Rent. Prior to this, he was Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Tony Blair Institute, and before that Director of Consulting at Oxford Economics. He has extensive experience in econometrics, input-output modelling, labour market analysis and a range of other economic techniques.

Jennifer Bradley, economics and policy expert: Jennifer is an economist and policy professional who has worked in the UK and Scottish governments for over 20 years, carrying out policy analysis and leading teams on a range of social policy topics from Pensions to Regional Development. Jennifer was most recently a Senior Civil Servant at the Scottish Government leading Education Analysis and previously the Head of Labour Market Strategy at DWP, and Head of the Migration Advisory Committee at the Home Office. She has also worked in economic consultancy on areas of health economics, innovation and housing analysis. She holds an Economics Degree and Masters in Economics and Social Policy.

Katharine Purser, independent consultant: Katharine has over 20 years’ experience leading teams to broker effective solutions to complex public sector challenges. She has worked in senior roles in both Central and Local Government. At the DWP, Katharine established and ran the Chief Data Office – pushing the department toward more effective use of data in policy design and service delivery. As Strategic Commissioner at the London Borough of Barnet, she was responsible for data-led work on skills commissioning, welfare reform implementation and strategic relationship management. While at the Cabinet Office, Katharine held a range of roles including leading on Social Enterprise Policy within the Office of Civil Society, and running the Centre for Public Appointments.

Mark Hilton, business group director: Mark leads the policy work of BusinessLDN’s People Team, including skills, immigration, employment, inclusion and diversity and education. Mark works to ensure London business has access to the talent it needs, leading high profile and integrated policy and campaigning activity. He works closely with the Greater London Authority including his role on the Mayor’s Jobs and Skills Business Partnership. He is also a member of the London Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network run by the Department for Education, the Home Office’s Employer Advisory Board and the London Higher Board.

Nikos Adamidis, Head of Policy and Impacts, National Highways: At National Highways, Nikos provides strategic and policy advice to the Executive team, Board and key stakeholders, such as the Department for Transport, Office of Rail and Road and No. 10. Nikos has previously held Non-Executive Director and advisory roles, influencing public policies, helping businesses improve wellbeing and deliver social value. Additionally, through an ongoing research project with Alliance Manchester Business School, he has worked with over thirty senior leaders across private and public sectors to explore how the energy industry can better shape low-carbon policies and legislation.