London's Ambassadors

Benjamin O'Connor

Benjamin O'Connor

Director, NLA

Benjamin is a Director of NLA in charge of Galleries, Programme and Events. Benjamin started as Director of NLA at The City Centre in September 2015 developing several new streams of activity including a Learning programme, Exhibitions and Public Events. Shortly after the Lord Mayor opened The City Centre to the public in 2016, Benjamin took on the role as Director of the One City project, a digital platform promoting the best the City has to offer to City workers.

Previously Benjamin was Head of Operations at the Garden Museum which is where he developed his interest and expertise in green infrastructure and public space. Prior to his role at the Garden Museum, Benjamin worked across the museums and heritage sector, including White Cube and Dulwich Picture Gallery. He trained in Fine Art to MA level at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design, has curated a number of exhibitions, been a Features Editor and sits on a number of committees for Cultural Development, Sustainability and Diversity in London.

Chris Hayward

Chris Hayward

Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation

Throughout his career Chris Hayward has worked in the construction, aviation, infrastructure and global events management sectors.

He is currently a Director at leading communications agency JBP, a Director at professional services consulting firm WSP in the UK and Director of Hayward Properties Limited.

He is a former Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire and Dorset County Councils.

As Policy Chairman, he will effectively operate as the political Leader of the City Corporation.

Councillor Darren Rodwell

Councillor Darren Rodwell

Deputy Chair of London Councils and Leader of the Council, Barking & Dagenham

Darren became the Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council in 2014. Since then, he has established the borough as one of the most important growth opportunities in London and both he and the Council have won numerous awards, including LGC Council of the Year for 2018 and the LGIU Leader of the Year Award.

Darren is currently the Deputy Chair of London Councils, having served on the Executive since 2016 – first as the Executive Member for City Development and now as the Executive Member for Housing and Planning. In his current role he has prioritised the delivery of truly affordable housing in the capital, fire safety, reducing homelessness and reducing the use of temporary accommodation.

Darren is also a member of the Homes for Londoners Board, Arts Council England, the Arts Council for London and the Create London Board and with effect of 1st September 2019 has been appointed as the Vice Chair on the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board.

Councillor Georgia Gould

Councillor Georgia Gould

Chair of London Councils and Leader of the Council, Camden

Georgia was appointed Leader of Camden Council in May 2017 and has served as a Councillor for Kentish Town Ward since 2010.

Georgia studied at Camden School for Girls and has lived in the Borough for most of her adult life. Georgia studied History and Politics at Oxford, and graduated with a master's degree in global politics from the London School of Economics. At the age of 24 she was elected a Labour councillor for the Kentish Town ward of Camden in 2010 and prior to becoming leader she held cabinet roles responsible for young people, economic growth and adult social care.

Georgia has a particular interest in youth politics and published a book called Wasted: How Misunderstanding Young Britain Threatens Our Future. It draws on two years spent travelling around the UK interviewing young people.

Georgia is also Chair of London Councils, Member of London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) Board, Chair of Euston Strategic Board, Co-chair of Skills for London Taskforce and a Governor of William Ellis School.

Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE

Deputy Mayor Jules Pipe CBE

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills

Jules Pipe is working on key priorities for the Mayor, including: implementation of the London Plan, major and community-led regeneration projects across the capital, building a skills system that properly addresses the needs of Londoners and the economy, and ensuring London’s infrastructure supports good growth, meets the needs of London’s communities and makes London a cleaner, greener and smarter City. 

Jules has unrivalled knowledge of London government, becoming the first directly elected mayor of Hackney in 2002 and serving as Chair of London Councils from 2010 until he joined the Mayor’s team in 2016.

Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agrawal

Deputy Mayor Rajesh Agrawal

Deputy Mayor of London for Business

Rajesh Agrawal is the Deputy Mayor of London for Business. Born in India, Rajesh moved to London in 2001. As an entrepreneur he founded RationalFX in 2005, and Xendpay in 2014, both companies utilising technology to reduce the cost of international money transfer for businesses and individuals. 

Rajesh is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for young people. He was appointed Chair of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme in 2015 and has been a Patron of the Prince’s Trust for many years.

As Deputy Mayor Rajesh aims to be a strong voice for London’s business community, protecting jobs and growth, and ensuring that the capital remains the most open and attractive place to do business in the world.

Juliemma McLoughlin

Juliemma McLoughlin

Executive Director, Environment, City of London Corporation

Juliemma was previously Chief Planner at the GLA, and prior to that, at the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in April 2017. 

She’s delivered several policy documents, SPDs and the borough's Local Plan Review plus been responsible for leading strategic development and regeneration in the complex urban environments of two of the world’s greatest cities (London and Sydney). She is responsible for work on a number of projects including Earl's Court, White City, Westfield and Chelsea FC's stadium redevelopment, Juliemma also leads on the development of the new London Plan, which provides comprehensive planning guidance for developments across the capital.

Kathrin Hersel

Kathrin Hersel

Executive Director, Almacantar

Responsible for the development functions at Almacantar, a design-led development and investment company which is behind some of London’s most notorious buildings, Kathrin draws on her extensive experience of mixed-use schemes in London and her in-depth understanding of the market to provide bespoke solutions for complex projects.

As Property Director she handles the management of the company’s entire portfolio and oversees all development activities including site assembly, planning, design, construction, residential marketing and sales.

Prior to joining Almacantar in 2012, Kathrin was Development Director at Land Securities where she worked on a range of transformational developments including One New Change, Wellington House and 20 Fenchurch Street.

Kathrin is a Chartered Surveyor, Board Member of the Westminster Property Association and Trustee of the Architecture Foundation. She also spearheads the Almacantar Studio Award, which supports young artists in the early stages of their careers.

Laura Citron

Laura Citron

CEO, London & Partners

Laura Citron is CEO of London & Partners, London’s international trade, investment and promotion agency. She leads the organisation to grow London’s global reputation and to attract business, tourists, students, events and talent to London.

Laura has spent her career at the intersection of business, policy and communications. Prior to London & Partners, she was Managing Director of the Government & Public Sector Practice at WPP, the world’s largest marketing and communication services business. She taught communications for behaviour change at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. 

Before joining WPP, Laura spent several years as a UK public servant in London and Brussels. She has also lived and worked in Russia and Germany. A proud Londoner, Laura has a postgraduate degree in Economics from University College London.

Philip Graham

Philip Graham

Executive Director, Good Growth, Greater London Authority (GLA)

Philip Graham was appointed as Executive Director, Good Growth and joined the GLA in January 2020.

Phil joined the GLA from the National Infrastructure Commission where he was Chief Executive. Prior to that he was Head of the Independent Airports Commission after holding two Deputy Director roles in the Department for Transport (DfT) – responsible in one for the government’s high speed rail strategy and in the other for transport security (including work on the Olympics) and research. Phil had a number of team leader roles in the Civil Service before that. Before he joined the Civil Service Phil set up and ran an independent theatre company.

Rob Heasman

Rob Heasman

CEO, Earls Court Development Company

Rob Heasman was appointed as CEO of The Earls Court Development Company in November 2020. Prior to this, Heasman spent a decade at Lendlease including two years as Managing Director of Euston Over Station Development, as development partner for the Department for Transport and Network Rail, bringing forward plans for the UK's most ambitious station destination right in the centre of the capital. Prior to that, he served as Project Director for the flagship Elephant Park development in Elephant & Castle, where he delivered on the early vision to create a place full of life.

The Earls Court Development Company is an Earl’s Court based business, responsible for driving the regeneration of the, circa 40 acres, former Earls Court Exhibition Centre site. ECDC has a vision ‘to bring the wonder back to Earls Court’ with a masterplan which opens up the site to the local community, celebrates the legacy of world-class ingenuity, creates a better piece of city, and addresses the climate emergency with an ambition to go beyond net zero. ECDC are committed to delivering innovative buildings and spaces that are well connected, whilst enhancing the environment, generating job opportunities and other benefits for the local area, as well as creating social and economic value.

Rob Perrins

Rob Perrins

Chief Executive, Berkeley Group

Rob joined Berkeley in 1994 and has been Chief Executive since 2009. Under his management the company has increased its focus on regenerating large scale brownfield sites and now delivers around 10% of new homes in London. Rob oversees an ambitious sustainable business strategy, including industry leading climate action, nature recovery and social value programmes. He has prioritised investment in digital skills and technologies and modern methods of construction; including the development of Berkeley Modular’s precision manufactured housing system. Rob has been Chair of Trustees of the Berkeley Foundation since its launch in 2011. This independent charity works in partnership with the Berkeley Group and the voluntary sector to maximise positive social impacts and help disadvantaged young people achieve their potential. Rob contributes to the Bank of England’s Real Estate Forum, is a Trustee of national homelessness charity Crisis and is a member of the governing bodies of Aston University and Marlborough College.

Robert Evans

Robert Evans

Joint Managing Partner, Argent LLP and Partner, Related Argent

Robert joined Argent in 2001. He became a Director in 2004, a Partner in 2012 and is now Joint Managing Partner along with Nick Searl. Robert is CEO of the King’s Cross Estate. He is also one of the Related Argent Partners charged with securing new development opportunities. He sits on the main King’s Cross Partnership (investor) Board, is a member of the Trust that set up and runs the King’s Cross Academy School and is Chair of Governors. Robert is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the current Chair of the New London Architecture (NLA) Sounding Board and a member of the Joint Planning Law Conference committee.