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meet the team

board of directors

Jackie Hunter PhD CBE FBPharmacolS FMedSc

CEO BenevolentBio Director

Held senior positions at global pharmaceutical organisations including GSK, Proximagen and OI Pharma Partners and joined BenevolentAI as CEO of BenevolentBio in 2016. Jackie has vast academic and business experience in the biomedical and pharmaceutical sectors. She directs the application of BenevolentAI’s technology for drug development and gives the company the insight it needs to operate its unique business model – one which sees it not only researching, but also developing the blueprint for new drugs.

Kenneth Mulvany

Founder Director

Serial entrepreneur, investor and healthcare and technology veteran with more than 20 years of business leadership experience. He is currently a director of BenevolentAI, a technology company he founded, which is developing and using Artificial Intelligence to change the way knowledge is created and applied in Life Sciences. He was previously CEO of Proximagen, a UK-based biotech company committed to delivering novel drugs and innovative new treatments for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Ken is twice a world champion sailer and competed in the 1992 America's Cup.

Jérôme Pesenti

Non-Executive Director

Jerome is an expert in the commercialisation of AI. He co-founded Vivisimo, a tech firm specialising in text mining and enterprise search engines, which was acquired by IBM. At IBM he became chief scientist of big data, and created and led the development of the Watson Platform - the first comprehensive cloud platform for artificial intelligence. He served as CEO of BenevolentTech between 2016 and 2018 before joining Facebook to lead AI research as VP of AI.

Bart Swanson

Non-Executive Director

Bart is a disruptive technology industry leader having held senior positions at some of the world’s most respected technology companies. Bart previously served on the boards of DeepMind, Summly and Onavo, acquired by Google, Yahoo and Facebook respectively. Bart is currently an Advisor to Horizons Ventures and holds Directorships with Viv Labs, Sentient Technologies, Cortica Ltd, Shine Security,, Hola, Modern Meadow and Impossible Foods Inc. among others.

Joanna Shields

Group CEO

Joanna is an experienced technology executive and leader with a successful track record serving at some of the best-known companies such as Facebook, Bebo, Google, Decru, Veon and EFI.  Prior to joining BenevolentAI, Joanna served as the UK’s first Minister for Internet Safety and Security, a Special Advisor to the UK Government on the Digital Economy, and Chair & CEO of TechCityUK.

senior leadership team

Amir Saffari

SVP Artificial Intelligence

Amir Saffari has a PhD in Machine Learning and has been working in the field of Artificial Intelligence for more than 15 years, researching and developing ML based theory, applications, and, products. He’s numerous publications in top-tier ML conferences and journals and most of his research has been released as open source software. He was part of Sony’s R&D team and has been involved in a few ML startups.

Davy Suvee

VP Product Management

Davy Suvee holds a Master in Computer Science from the “Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)”. He was part of the VUB SOFT-lab, sponsored by a doctoral scholarship from the Institute for the improvement of Scientific-Technological Research in Flanders (IWT), where he designed aspect-oriented software languages.  He joined Johnson & Johnson in 2009 as a Project Lead within R&D IT, helping scientists gain insights in very large unstructured scientific datasets.  At BenevolentAI, Davy is responsible for overseeing all product development.


Dewet Diener

VP Engineering

Dewet leads Engineering at BenevolentAI, where he focuses on building infrastructure and technology for AI data processing, enabling BenvolentAI’s ML researchers to move at light speed.  He spent six years at Google building integration solutions for their partners, and in 2015 he helped start Klarismo as CTO, building automated segmentation systems for whole-body MRI data quantifying human tissue composition.  Dewet has a Bachelors in Engineering Science from Stellenbosch University.

Ian Churcher

VP Drug Discovery

Ian is currently VP of Drug Discovery at BenevolentAI where he is applying a range of AI approaches to all phases of drug discovery and development. Prior to this, for 5 years, he led the Protein Degradation Discovery Performance Unit at GSK, one of the pioneering groups who, working with Prof Craig Crews, demonstrated the application of Protac approaches to drug discovery. Ian has previously held a number of drug discovery & medicinal chemistry roles in GSK and Merck where he has always championed novel technologies and strategies to discover drugs. Ian was also a Visiting Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford from where he also holds MA and D.Phil degrees.

Ivan Griffin

VP Business Development

Ivan Griffin is Vice President of Business Development at BenevolentAI. He has 10 years’ experience as a venture capitalist encompassing all aspects of technology commercialization; identification of opportunities, spin-out company formation, business development, private and public equity financings and trade sales. He also helped launch Genomics England Ltd, a Company created to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project as launched by the Prime Minister in 2013. Ivan holds a D.Phil. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Oxford where he completed a year’s post-doctoral research.

James Chandler

VP Corporate Affairs

James is SVP of Corporate Affairs responsible for overseeing BenevolentAI’s marketing and communications activities.  Before joining BenevolentAI, James held Board and senior management positions with a number of respected communications consultancies. He is a specialist in corporate affairs, investor relations, public affairs and marketing communications - advising technology companies of all sizes - from start-ups to global industry leaders, across multiple geographies.

Jean-Baptiste Michel

VP of Strategy and Data Science, GM of US

JB is a leading data scientist whose contributions, made while at Palantir, Google, and Harvard, are used daily by millions. His papers were featured in the covers of Science and of Nature, his TED talks were viewed millions of times, he is one of the most cited authors in multidisciplinary sciences, and his book on big data is a bestseller. He holds a MS in Applied Maths and a PhD in Systems Biology from Harvard, a honorary PhD in data science from CGU, is a TED Fellow and a Forbes' 30 under 30.

Joe Tighe

Head of Strategic Development

Joe is an experienced financial professional and accomplished entrepreneur who founded the first automated spread betting platform, (now ETX Capital) as well as starting and floating the world’s first B2B betting exchange platform, Trading Sports, on the London Stock Exchanges AIM platform. A financial services executive with deep experience in commodities, derivatives, futures, and government debt markets, Joe most recently served as MD of London and CEO of Paris, for Tradition, the worlds 3rd largest inter-dealer broker. He is currently head of Strategic Development for BenevolentAI, determining business applications for using our advanced scientific innovation technology in areas outside of drug discovery.

Mark Davies

VP Biomedical Informatics

Mark is the VP of Biomedical Informatics at BenevolentAI. He has a background in molecular genetics and bioinformatics and has over 15 years experience working on biomedical data representation, data analysis and application development. In 2001, he joined the London based biotechnology company Inpharmatica, where he was initially working on mining the output of the Human Genome Projects and eventually moved on to building Chemogenomics systems used by pharmaceutical companies, such as Bayer. Mark moved to the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) as one of the founding members and technical lead for the ChEMBL resource - the largest open-source SAR database.

Michael Brennan

Head of Corporate Development

Senior corporate finance executive with over 15 years City based capital markets experience, Michael left the City in 2009 to join Ken Mulvany at Proximagen where he undertook the role of Head of Corporate Development, focusing on fund raising, corporate transactions, business development and ultimately the successful sale of the company in 2012.

Patrick Keohane

Chief Medical Officer

Dr Keohane trained as a Gastroenterologist in the UK NHS, and worked for the Medical Research Council.

He has held Project leadership and senior Management positions in Research and Development at Eli Lilly and Astrazeneca, and has been located in US, Japan, and Europe.

He joins from Glenmark Pharmaceuticals where he held the position of Chief Medical Officer.

Dr Keohane brings extensive experience in the medical assessment and worldwide development and launch of multiple novel oral, biologic, and inhaled medicines, across several Therapeutic areas including Immunology, Diabetes, Respiratory, and Neuroscience.

Rosie Higgins

SVP Design & Operations

Rosie has over 20 years experience as a creative leader in digital innovation and product development. She started her career as Creative Director of CHBi, one of the first web agencies anywhere in the world, acquired by Razorfish in 1998. She followed CHBi’s founders to Fjord, leading transformational multi-channel service design projects for clients including Skype, Greenpeace and Vodafone. More recently, Rosie has worked with start-ups, leading design and product on several consumer apps, engaging millions of users globally and occasionally hitting the top spot in the App Store for Top Grossing and Top Paid and Top Free.

Tom Holgate

Group Finance Director

Tom is the Group Finance Director at BenevolentAI. He is responsible for all financial aspects of the Group including operational, reporting, strategy, planning and forecasting, transaction support and investor relations.  Prior to joining BenevolentAI Tom, held senior positions at American Express), FP & A (Amlin Plc) and EY.