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.

Matt Gee

Matt Gee

Chief Financial Officer


Matt Gee is Arden University’s Chief Financial Officer with 28 years’ experience in high growth B2C and B2B businesses. He has a proven track record of driving revenue & profit growth, achieving significant working capital improvements and managing M&A transactions.

Matt joined Arden University in 2018 and prior to this was the International Chief Financial Officer with Prince Corporation, a high growth PE backed business where he lead on and integrated acquisitions in South Africa, Belgium, Italy, and Germany. 

Most recently Matt held the role of Chief Financial Officer in Bureau Veritas’ European operation integrating the Northern Europe businesses and M&A activity.

Tracie Greenhalgh

Tracie Greenhalgh

Chief People Officer


Tracie Greenhalgh leads our highly talented and specialist team of professionals across all disciplines of our People Team, including reward and well-being, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, organisational development, generalists, and internal communications.

Tracie began her career as a policewoman before transitioning to human resources where she has spent over 25 years working across a variety of sectors. She firmly believes in a people before process approach, encouraging wholehearted leadership to enable individuals to shine.

For Tracie, joining Arden was an easy decision; finding the University’s people, vision, and values hugely inspirational, she is incredibly excited to be able to be part of our journey in creating something unique.

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

Registrar and Chief Operating Officer


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

Associate Pro Vice Chancellor Partnerships


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.

Victoria O’Donnell

Professor Victoria L. O’Donnell

Pro Vice Chancellor Academic


Victoria provides strategic leadership across Arden University’s entire academic portfolio.  She is a highly experienced higher education leader with 25+ years of experience in universities in the public, private, and international sectors.  Victoria is Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and Fellow of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.  She understands academia at every level, having begun her career as a lecturer, and then progressed to senior lecturer, head of department, dean, director, deputy PVC and now PVC.

Her academic background is in psychology, with a particular focus on the psychological aspects of learning, teaching, education, and development. Victoria is a Chartered Psychologist, and an internationally esteemed and award-winning researcher in the field of higher education.  
Across her career Victoria has worked in Russell Group and post-92 universities in Scotland and England, and internationally for Laureate International Universities, the world’s largest network of higher education institutions.

Victoria is an expert assessor for the UK Quality Assurance Agency, undertaking national and international reviews of other higher education institutions’ quality and standards on behalf of the Office for Students.  

Victoria is skilled in the management and development of complex higher education partnerships.  She has led organisational change in commercial, private, and public higher education contexts.  Victoria is a specialist in digital education, online learning, innovative pedagogies, and contemporary inclusive curricula.  

Victoria is passionate about the transformative impact of higher education on individuals, communities, and society.  At every stage of her career, Victoria’s focus has been on ensuring that high quality learning and teaching characterise every student’s experience of university.