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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

H.E. Mr. Abdul Rahman Al Saleh
Chairman of the RIT Dubai Board of Directors

H.E. Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh is the Director-General of the Government of Dubai's Department of Finance (DOF) since 2009. He also chairs the Board of Directors of the Dubai Financial Support Fund, and a member of the Executive Council of Dubai, as well as a member of the Dubai's Strategic Affairs Council.

H.E. Al Saleh is a member of a number of highly esteemed boards, including Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Policy Committee, Dubai World, the Federal Tax Authority as well as the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC).

In a presidential decree issued in December 2018, H.E. Al Saleh was appointed as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Arab Emirates Central Bank. Previously, H.E. DOF's Director General has held many leadership and financial positions in a number of government entities at the local and federal levels, including the Senior Executive Director for Financial and Administrative Affairs at Dubai Customs. He also chaired a number of committees, notably the VAT Committee at Dubai Customs. He also oversaw and participated in a number of other regulatory and strategic committees, including the Executive Credit Policy Committee and the Indirect Taxation Working Group.

H.E. Al Saleh is a fellow member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in the United Kingdom and holds an MBA degree from the American University of Sharjah.

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni

Dr. Al Zarooni was appointed in 2000 as the Director-General of the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA). He was appointed Vice Chairman and CEO of the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) in 2002 and still leads both entities. Dr. Al Zarooni brings with him more than 20 years of executive management experience in building free zones. In 2011 Dr. Al Zarooni was appointed as the Chairman of the Dubai Free Zone Council; which was established to unify the rules and regulations that govern free zone companies and serve as a one-stop point for global investors. In 1995 Dr. Al Zarooni joined the Department of Civil Aviation as the Director of Administration & Research where he was a key figure in establishing the Free Zone Division. Prior to joining the Department of Civil Aviation, Dr. Al Zarooni served at the Ministry of Education for 8 years. Dr. Al Zarooni was also appointed as the Director-General of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) in 2006 and later on, he was assigned as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of DAE in mid-2010. Additionally, Dr. Al Zarooni serves on the boards of several governmental entities; these include the Department of Economic Development (DED) and Dubai Economic Council along with the Economy and Trade Committee. Dr. Al Zarooni holds a doctorate in Economic Geography from Durham University – UK (1994) as well as a bachelor's and a master’s degree from Emirates University in Economics. Passing his knowledge and experience to the new generation, Dr. Al Zarooni is a lecturer at the UAE University.

H.E. Essa Abdul Fattah Kazim

Mr. Essa Kazim is the Chairman of Borse Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Director of Dubai International Financial Center. Mr. Kazim began his career as a Senior Analyst in the Research and Statistics Department of the UAE Central Bank in 1988 and then moved to the Dubai Department of Economic Development as Director of Planning and Development in 1993. He was then appointed as Director-General of the DFM from 1999 to 2006. Mr. Kazim holds an honorary Doctorate from Coe College, a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Iowa, a Master’s Degree in Total Quality Management from the University of Wollongong, and A Bachelor's degree from Coe College. He is currently a Member of the Higher Board of Directors of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and the Board of DIFC Authority, Member of Dubai Council for Economic Affairs, Board Director of NASDAQ Dubai, Member of the Board of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Board Director of NASDAQ OMX and Member of the Board of Governors of Hamdan Bin Mohammed E-University.

Ellen Granberg
Provost, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ms. Ellen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from UC Davis and spent 11 years working for Pacific Bell in the San Francisco Bay area as a project manager and technical director in software development. In 1995, she left the industry to pursue advanced degrees, earning her Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University in 2001. That same year, she joined the faculty at Clemson, one of the nation’s Top 25-ranked public universities, and went on to be promoted to chair of the department of sociology and anthropology, associate provost for faculty affairs, and senior associate provost. Among her accomplishments at Clemson are co-leading the development and implementation of its strategic plan, an increased focus on research, improving student retention, and growing the proportion of students from underrepresented groups. She also led efforts to revamp faculty hiring, putting in place new search procedures and an enhanced post-doctoral pipeline program that resulted in increasing the number of underrepresented faculty by 40 percent since 2015.

Dr. James Watters

Dr. James Watters joined the RIT team in 1994 as budget director. He is now the senior vice president of finance and administration and treasurer. At RIT, he oversees the activity of over 700 full-time employees. He is responsible for administering the university’s annual $600 million operating and capital budgets, $800 million endowment and working capital portfolios, and $140 million public debt portfolio. Dr. Watters is responsible for auxiliary enterprises; human resources; accounting/payroll; insurance; public safety; audit; legal; information technology and security; and facilities operations, design, and construction. Dr. Watters is vice-chair of RIT’s Global Delivery Corporation and treasurer of RIT’s High Technology Incubator and the American College of Management and Technology in Croatia. Dr. Watters serves on several non-profit and for-profit boards, including the George Eastman House, Greater Rochester Health Foundation, New York Wine and Culinary Center, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, Broadstone Real Estate, Excell Partners, and Oracle. He came to RIT from the University of Pittsburgh, where he spent his entire academic and previous professional years and earned a BS, MS, and Ph.D. During his 16 years at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Watters held the positions of assistant chancellor of real estate and management, assistant vice president of business and finance, captive insurance consultant, and assistant director for administration in the public safety division.

Ian Mortimer

Ian Mortimer is an enrollment management professional with more than 25 years of experience in higher education. Mr. Mortimer is currently vice president for Enrollment Management and associate provost for Adult and Online Education at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). With an enrollment of nearly 19,000 students, RIT is one of the largest private universities in the nation. Students hail from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. A top 100 national research university, RIT also has international locations in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo. Prior to RIT, Mr. Mortimer served as vice president for enrollment management at Nazareth College (NY) and Champlain College (VT). During his tenure at Nazareth, his team put the college on a solid enrollment footing that reached its largest classes in history, increased selectivity, improved visible and geographic diversity, and improved its market position. Under his leadership, Champlain College increased enrollment and strengthened its market position while also improving accessibility for under-served student populations. Mr. Mortimer also served in admissions positions at St. Bonaventure University (NY), American University (DC), and Walden University. He also served at higher education firms Datatel and Inside Track and as an associate consultant for Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Mortimer earned his MBA from RIT’s Saunders College of Business in 2004. He also holds an MSEd in counseling psychology and a BS degree in English, both from St. Bonaventure University.

Darshan Hiranandani

Darshan Hiranandani is the Managing Director of the Hiranandani Group, India’s largest residential developer. He heads the company’s real estate operations in Dubai and the energy operations in India. Mr. Hiranandani also plays a key role in the Hirco Group – Niranjan Hiranandani’s development arm for Indian projects. He has been instrumental in the implementation of high-tech facilities in Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, which won the Ramakrishna Bajaj award for the best hospital in India. He is also actively involved in the prestigious SEZ development project as a representative of the Hiranandani Group. Mr. Hiranandani has a sound educational background and has completed his MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology, (R.I.T) New York, with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and Finance after completing B.S. (Business) in Management Information Systems.

Dr. Yousef Al-Assaf
President Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai

Dr. Yousef Al-Assaf completed his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Sussex University, UK, in 1984 and his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1988. Dr. Al-Assaf was a founding member and chair of the industrial engineering department at the University of Jordan, where he also worked as the outreach manager. He was a founding member of the electrical engineering and computer engineering programs at AUS since 1998. He was appointed as the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering (CEN) at AUS in 2004 and has served as the Dean of the college since 2005 till his appointment as President of Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai. Dr. Al-Assaf's research focuses on using soft computing to model and control various industrial and medical systems.

Applications include materials modeling and classification, prostheses control, industrial quality control, and optimization. Dr. Al-Assaf's industrial experiences are in the areas of industrial instrumentation and control (PLC, SCADA, DCS, microprocessor, and PC-based controllers). He has designed and developed various automated control systems for various industries including fertilizer, textile, and sheet-cutting establishments.