Meet the Executive Team

At Arden University, we believe that increasing access to higher education through digital technology is key to helping ambitious students and professionals thrive in the industries of today and tomorrow.


Embracing innovation, diversity, and continued growth, the Executive Team dedicate
themselves to Arden University’s mission of delivering outstanding academic opportunities to all our students as they face new and unprecedented changes in the workplace across all business sectors. Chaired by Chief Executive and
Vice-Chancellor Carl Lygo, our Executive Team is responsible for steering and guiding Arden University’s strategic direction.

Professor Carl Lygo

Professor Carl Lygo

Chief Executive & Vice-Chancellor

Professor Carl Lygo is a barrister, a Diplock Scholar, a Blackstone scholar and a Professor of English Common Law.

He has been a member of faculty at the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University, London Guildhall University, City University London and the University of East Anglia. For his ground-breaking work in establishing BPP Law School as a leading professional law school, he was included in the UK's 'Hot 100 Lawyers' list by The Lawyer magazine.

For 20 years, he was at BPP Professional Education Group. He progressed from being a tutor to becoming the founding Vice-Chancellor of BPP University and Group Chief Executive of BPP Holdings plc. 

He inspired and led the growth of BPP's Business School, Law School, School of Health and School of Foundation & English Language Studies, and executive responsibility for universities in the Netherlands and the IUBH business school in Germany.

In 2015, Professor Lygo was voted as one of the 'Top 50 Most Influential People in UK Higher Education by Wonkhe. Professor Lygo has served as a Non-Executive Director on the UK Higher Education regulatory bodies, Office for Students (OfS) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

In 2018, he was appointed as Executive Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Applied Sciences Europe (UE) in Germany and Chairman of Global University Systems' Public Affairs Committee. He is an Association of Colleges Global Medal winner and was honoured with the 'Outstanding Contribution by an Individual title at the Education Investor Awards 2018.

He was appointed Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at Arden University in 2019 and is committed to extending access to Higher Education and promoting access for all in society as Arden continues to go from strength to strength.


Fabrizio Guccione

Deputy CEO

The board has appointed Fabrizio Guccione as the new Deputy CEO of Arden University. Fabrizio is a familiar face as he is currently the Deputy CEO of GUS (Arden’s shareholder), attends our board meetings and chairs the fortnightly GUS liaison meeting. Fabrizio will commence a handover with Matt Gee from today, the 20th of March to the end of the first week in May. Fabrizio brings a wealth of senior executive experience, having spent 20 years at Colgate-Palmolive before working with Laureate International Universities. In addition, he served as CEO in Italy and COO in Australia & New Zealand.

Lucy Lu

Professor Yang (Lucy) Lu



Prof Lu is a resilient and entrepreneurial education leader with over 20 years of professional experiences in both public and private education institutions of the global higher education. 

As the Provost of Arden University, Prof Lu is highly committed to support the delivery of the University’s Vision and Mission and further consolidate the distinctive academic portfolio and expand the global footprint of Arden University by promoting access, innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. 

Prior to joining Arden University, Dr Lu served as the Provost and Global Academic Director at London School of Commerce Group (LSC) where she took strategic responsibilities  in designing, developing, and implementing the LSC Group global academic strategy to support the Group’s vision and mission by enhancing its institutional effectiveness and increasing the group’s global visibility as well as meeting the development and financial targets globally. As the Principal of LSC Malta as well as the LSC Group Provost, Dr Lu successfully led various Quality Reviews, Accreditations, and Inspections both in the UK and overseas including Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Malta. She sparked innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, diversity and flexibility in the Group’s academic culture and created transformational change in teaching, learning and the development of research-informed culture. 

Prof Lu has held several senior academic leadership posts and international development leadership roles in several UK universities including Newcastle University, Plymouth University, Northumbria University and Bournemouth University in the UK before joining LSC. 

Professor Lu’s research field lies in the inter-disciplinary research on innovation management including Triple Helix (University-Government-Industry) model innovation, entrepreneurial education, and cross-culture innovation management . In addition to the global engagement activities, as Associate Dean of Faculty of Business and Law at Bournemouth University, she also led multi-disciplinary research team to conduct research projects around innovation, establish the Research Centre funded by research councils nationally and internationally via academic collaborations. 

As part of her global engagement activities, Prof Lu  has served as the General Conference Chair of the China Association for Management of Technology (CAMOT) since 2008 and has successfully organized seven CAMOT International Conferences. She has published in many international peer-reviewed Journals and is the founding editor of the Journal of Knowledge-based Innovation in China, the Associated Editor of the International Journal of Innovation Studies and the Editor of the Special Issue of Tsinghua Management Review. She holds Visiting Professorships in Henan University, Beijing International Studies University, Sias International University and Tongji University in China.

Prof Lu holds BA(Hons) from Northumbria University. She holds MBA and DBA from Newcastle University in the UK. 

Vitaly Klopot

Vitaly Klopot

Chief Innovation and Commercial Officer


Vitaly Klopot is Arden University’s Chief Commercial and Innovation Officer, overseeing the objectives and implementations of all commercial strategies including leading our International office. With over a decade’s experience in higher education, he specialises in online learning, digital transformation, and international marketing for education technology.

His role with Arden University makes him a leading voice on the implementation of innovation within a digital-first university. Arden’s differences from traditional institutions, and its online legacy (starting exclusively online before later integrating face-to-face teaching), means that technology, by default, is at the very heart of the institution. 

Vitaly’s business acumen allows him to provide uniquely interesting perspectives on the macro-level trends driving Universities to become more business-like. As the industry grows increasingly competitive, with students’ expectations vis-a-vis online delivery also increasing, Vitaly has extensive insight into how higher education institutions can think more like businesses, and utilise technology as a driving force behind innovation.

He also sits on the board of Dignity Health Global Education, mentors start-ups in the Data, Analytics and Education space and hosts a podcast on the Business of Education.

Steve Clayton - exec team

Steve Clayton

Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students Quality & Standards)


Steve is a highly experienced university administration professional, with a deep understanding of the Higher Education sector developed over 25 years. He has spent his entire career in Higher Education roles, spanning the full breadth of university functions including Faculty, Strategy, Planning, Student Experience, Inclusion, Registry, Quality and Standards, Governance, Compliance, Information Technology, Estates, and numerous strategic projects. He is relentless in ensuring high quality standards and cares deeply about the integrity of Higher Education.

Steve is a member of the Association of Heads of University Administration and is their spokesperson on Quality and Standards.

Steve does not seek personal accolade or award, preferring to focus entirely on the continuous improvement of Arden University on behalf of its students, staff, and shareholders.

debra hinds

Debra Hinds

Pro Vice Chancellor International


Debra Hinds joined Arden University in May 2021 as Associate Pro Vice Chancellor Partnerships, part of the Centre for Global Development.  She was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor International in January 2023, heading up the Centre for Academic Partnerships with the aim to further internationalise Arden University.

Prior to joining Arden, Debra spent 16 years as a leading academic, initially leading a law faculty delivering franchised and validated programmes before becoming key lead in law for BPP University’s seven partner centres in four different countries. After this she spent two years scoping and building new international and UK based academic partners for a public university including the due diligence, rationale, and approvals through to onboarding new partners. 

Prior to working in partnerships having gained a first in her LLB, awarded the best company law student in her year, and a commendation in the Legal Practice Course, Debra worked in legal practice. She subsequently became a law lecturer and Academic Leader in law, with specialist subjects including the English Legal System, Company Law, and EU Law, and continues to teach EU law some 23 years later.

In addition to law, Debra studied and graduated with an MBA in 2015, which enabled her to move from a leading role in academia to one in international partnership business development.

Debra enjoys the can do, will do approach of Arden University’s teams and the Arden vision of making education accessible to students wherever they are.