Team Members & Conference Speakers

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Hugh Shields

Founder and Chairman of The Centre for Research into AI and Mankind

Hugh Shields is the Founder and Chairman of The Centre for Research into AI and Mankind. This is a think tank whose purpose is to determine ways of optimising human use of AI as we approach the singularity. Hugh is joined by a number of amazing fellows and support staff. Hugh has spent the last five years working in the technology industry, with a recent focus on AI strategy and the relationship between AI and ESG matters. Aside from the think tank, Hugh is also a board adviser to Maxwellian - a company that deploys AI to optimise air purification - and a project director for Quantum Tunneling Photodetector Array.


In 2020, Hugh was named one of the top 50 global influencers on the future of work. Hugh’s career spans the investment banking, telecoms and oil industries and, in terms of disciplines, accounting, treasury, economics and technology. Hugh is the author of eight books and is also a professional magician and national memory record holder. Hugh was a Senior Scholar at Cambridge University where he specialised in Quantitative Economics and Econometrics.

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David Wood

Founder of Delta Wisdom

As Chair of London Futurists, David has organised over 250 public meetings since March 2008 on futurist and technoprogressive topics. Membership of London Futurists now exceeds 9,000. As Principal of the independent futurist consultancy and publisher Delta Wisdom, David helps clients around the world to anticipate and manage the dramatic impact of rapidly changing technology on human individuals and communities. Previously, David spent 25 years designing, implementing, and avidly using smart mobile devices, including ten years with pioneering PDA manufacturer Psion PLC, and ten more with smartphone operating system specialist Symbian Ltd, which he co-founded in 1998. At different times, his executive responsibilities at Psion and Symbian included software development, technical consulting, partnering and ecosystem management, and research and innovation. 

David’s most recent book is The Singularity Principles. His previous books include Vital Foresight, Smartphones and Beyond, The Abolition of Aging, Sustainable Superabundance, and Transcending Politics.

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Paul Druckman

Non-Executive Chairman and Director of organisations in multiple sectors

Paul Druckman is a Non-Executive Chairman and Director of organisations in multiple sectors. Active in different roles such as Chairman of the Board of The Clear Group and Trustee of Shift.
Highlights in the past have included being President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW); Chairman of The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) Executive Board; and as a Board member and Chairman of UK accounting standards through the UK government regulator (FRC). He was also the founding CEO of the International Integrated Reporting Council.

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 Franki Hackett

Head of Audit and Ethics at Engine B

Franki Hackett is Head of Audit and Ethics at Engine B, a purpose-led, cross-sector enterprise enabling intelligent corporate data access at the speed and quality demanded by the digital age. She also maintains an academic sideline researching country-by-country tax reporting and open databases.​


In a previous role as Head of the Data Analytics Research Team at the UK National Audit Office, Franki lead a world-leading team of auditors and data scientists to develop data analytics tools for the audit of government bodies in the UK. ​ 

Franki is a trained data scientist and auditor with a background in political economy. Franki is involved in multiple transnational audit, tax, and public finance initiatives. And sits on the ICAEW Ethics Advisory Committee as well as the Data Analytics Community Group.

Franki is a member of the Institute for Chartered Accountants England and Wales (ICAEW), and holds a Master's degree in Political Theory from the University of Leeds and an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from the University of Oxford.​

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James Barbour CA

Director, at the ICA of Scotland

James Barbour CA, is Director, Policy Leadership, at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), where he oversees the work on various areas including Audit and Assurance, Ethics and Corporate and Financial Reporting. He is also responsible for the ICAS Ethics Board and is the lead on all matters connected with The Power of One initiative. Mr. Barbour qualified as a CA in 1996 and worked in general practice (primarily audit) with one of Scotland’s largest independent firms before joining ICAS in 1999.

Mr. Barbour is a member of Accountancy Europe (AE)’s Audit and Assurance Policy Group, Professional Ethics and Competencies Working Group, and is the ICAS representative at the AE Members’ Assembly. He is a recent former technical adviser to a UK Board member on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and the technical adviser on ethics to the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA). He remains a member of the IESBA Technology Task Force. 

Mr. Barbour regularly represents ICAS at meetings with standard-setting bodies, government bodies, regulators, and others concerning various business and technical issues, such as audit and assurance, corporate reporting, and ethics. He is also an Honorary Professor in the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow.

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Daisy Vayghan

Director & VP Business Maxwellian

Graduated from law school in Canada and studied history, political science and international business at McGill University, she has served as Maxwellian’s VP of Business and has over 10 years of experience in business development & law. Her focus is on international business development and financing projects.

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Alireza Hassani

Director & CEO Maxwellian

Alireza is a visionary deep-tech entrepreneur focused on solutions for safety and sustainability. His focus is to develop high performance low-cost optical monitoring devices at the capital cost of electrical ones, while reducing the ownership cost of optical ones significantly. Having a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics with more than 20 years of experience in optical sensing, he holds a MSc of Finance from LSE, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.


He has published over 40 peer review articles and patents with more than 1,700 citations. He has also provided services to Fortune 500 firms and governmental institutions on evaluating new technologies. He has raised funds and grants for green tech and disruptive monitoring technologies from Governments and VCs and has served as an international strategic technology advisor in international projects.

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Oyu Bayarsaikhan

Public Finance Management Expert at UNDP Mongolia

Oyu Bayarsaikhan is a Public Financial Management Expert at UNDP Mongolia where she focuses on bridging policies aligned with UN Sustainable Development goals. She joined PwC as an Assurance Consultant at PwC in 2014. She has substantial experience in conducting audits in both the public and private sectors. Oyu Bayarsaikhan graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Master of Finance degree. She is also a part of the Fulbright alumni network.

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 Amir Michael

Professor of Accounting (Teaching) / Associate Dean (MBA/DBA)

Professor Amir Michael is a Professor of Accounting (Teaching) at Durham University Business School, Durham University, UK whose research and teaching interests have been fostered by several years of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and mentoring. Amir is the director of the Durham MBA (Full Time) programme.

Professor Michael is the director of the Durham Rutgers Accounting Analytics Network (DRAAN). His research interest and expertise is in the area of auditing and reporting using data analytics and artificial intelligence in improving audit and reporting quality and transparency. He is also interested in accounting education digital and technology adoption research.

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Marek Michalewicz

Researcher and Inventor

Marek Michalewicz is involved in the following international initiatives:
Visiting Scientist, Sano Centre for Personalised Computational Medicine, Kraków, Poland
Advisor, Technical Executive Committee, National Supercomputing Centre, Singapore
Affiliate, Institute for Advanced Computational Science, Stony Brook University, NY, USA
Founder and CEO, Siranga Sp. z o.o.

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Anton Collela

CEO of Moore Stephens

Anton Colella is a Scottish businessman. He has been the chief executive officer of Moore Global since 2018, and was previously the global chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Colella is an advocate for value-driven business practices and accounting ethics.