Our Board Members

Ahmed Khan

Ahmed Khan has spent many years working for one of the largest brands in the world in various different roles covering aspects of operational excellence, marketing, human resources and training. This set him up for his major challenge in running his own franchise business with the same brand within the North East.

His business which contributes to the local economy employing over 350 people and supporting local suppliers.

He also avidly supports local charities and has been an ABC board member for over 5 years

Allan Curry

Having served thirty five years with Northumbria Police, retiring as a Chief Superintendent Allan has worked with various organisations in a capacity as Independent Director. In doing so he has been able to bring his experience to the fore when developing strategic direction.

Allan has been with ABC since its inception in 2009. He has been heavily involved with ABC initiatives, in particular ‘Boot Camps’ assisting individuals to return to the workplace and business where regulatory advice is sought.

As ABC approaches its ‘tenth year anniversary’ Allan is committed to ensure the assistance and support already provided is continued and built upon.

Ammar Mirza CBE

Ammar is a sought after leadership & business management consultant through his company AmmarM (UK) Limited. Ammar is a serial entrepreneur with interests and investments across a number of sectors. Over a 15 year period he has helped establish several hundred new businesses within the North East. As chairman and founder of Asian Business Connexions, a not-for-profit social enterprise that aims to connect, support and promote the Asian wider community, Ammar has helped make a significant social and economic impact across the Globe.

In 2016 Ammar has helped launch the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE) Project Charity introducing enterprise activities into Primary Schools and represented the Private Sector on various Local Strategic Partnerships including the Learning Challenge and City Deal within Newcastle. His other positions include board member on the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), chair of Newcastle Progression Forum, chair of governors at Tyneview Primary School, and founder of the SME Centre of Excellence.


Ammar is also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), Trustee of Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, patron of Charlie Bear Charity at the Freeman Hospital and the private sector representative on the European Structural Investment Fund Sub Committee. In 2014 Ammar was appointed a CBE for Outstanding Services to Business and the Community. More recently Ammar was the 2015 David Goldman Visiting Professor for Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University, where he continues as a Professor of Practice and selected as a “Maserati 100” top 100 Entrepreneurs within the UK that are giving something back to encourage and support entrepreneurialism.  Ammar was shortlisted for the Northern Powerhouse Northern Lights Business Personality of the Year 2017 and featured in the top 50 of the 2017 Smith and Williamson Power 100 UK Entrepreneurs, and Natwest Entrepreneur for Good finalist in 2018.  Currently Ammar is helping forge international b-lateral trade links working with Turkey and Indian based businesses to attract foreign investment into the North East and expanding the SME Centres of Excellence to help businesses start, survive and thrive.

ARAF Perwaze

Proud ABC Board Member having the privilege of being asked to provide my expertise to ensure the growth of the ABC. Big 4 experience in advising clients in the realm of tax and offering business consultancy creating solutions to business problems. Experience in advertising, sales, marketing and lean-cost modelling through the development of innovative platforms. Ex-board member for Middlesbrough College offering strategic advice and overseeing the student union, ambassadors and the 15,000 students. Having set up my first company at the age of 22 whilst working and commuting full time, I understand the frustrations and challenges SME’s face & how to avoid/overcome them.

Passionate about supporting, connecting and promoting people I always try to help by utilising my contacts. I have a distinct love of travelling to different countries and experiencing all cultures as well as extreme sports! Please feel free to reach out if we can provide support to your business.

Ben Banerjee

Col Ben Banerjee QVRM DL VR RAMC completed his schooling at Newcastle Royal Grammar having served with the Combined Cadet Force for 5 years finishing as the Company Sergeant Major. He then attended Newcastle University Medical School joining 201(Northern) Field Hospital (V) in 1990, graduating with MBBS in 1990 and FRCSEd in 1995. During this time he spent periods in British Military Hospital Rinteln and Iserlohn. Higher Surgical Training in the Northern Region ensued with an MD research thesis his training culminating in his passing the intercollegiate surgical exam gaining FRCS (Gen Surg). In the Territorial Army he assumed the second-in-commands (2IC) post at 251 (Sunderland) Field Ambulance (V) and deployed with the unit to Bosnia and Kosovo for 6 months as the Officer Commanding Hosp Sqn, Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo and the Medical Regimental 2IC.  In 2004 he was appointed Consultant & Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in Vascular Surgery at City Hospitals Sunderland, delivering an acute vascular service for 450,000 patients and also being responsible for the delivery of undergraduate surgical education. 2007 saw him deploy to Afghanistan for 3 months on Op HERRICK 7A and again in 2010 for 2 months on Op Herrick 13A. During this time he studied and achieved a Diploma in Management Development, been awarded an FRCSEng Ad Eundum, as well as becoming a regular feature at Army Medical Services Training Centre on HOSPEX and course lead on Military Operational Surgical Training passing on the lessons learnt to successively deploying Field Hospitals.  2012 saw him boarded twice, firstly as the Regimental 2IC 201 Field Hospital and secondly he became the first and only Reservist officer to be deployed at the rank of Colonel in the position of the Deployed Medical Director of the Role 3 Hospital, Camp Bastion, Afghanistan on Op Herrick 18A. Col Banerjee was recognised for his role in the Reserves regionally being appointed as Deputy Lieutenant to the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear in November 2014 and also nationally in the 2015 New Years honours list being awarded QVRM. Col Ben Banerjee assumed Command of 201 (Northern) Field Hospital on 5 October 2015. His time in command at 201 has seen the Unit reach full recruitment and win accolades for infantry, sporting and healthcare performance. He has also raised over £2500 for Combat Stress, a military mental health charity along with significant contributions to the Army Benevolent Fund. He is currently Deputy Commander Reserves South supporting 5 reserve Field Hospitals.

Khaled Musharraf

Khaled in an Independent Consultant with over ten years experience in Business transformation, Organisational Restructuring and International Business. He works closely with top management teams and advises on strategic decisions to achieve business targets. Khaled is a visionary entrepreneur with the ability to build and manage cohesive teams and has helped Start-ups to establish themselves as SME.


Jabir Ahmed

I am a passionate self-starter with experience in both the self-employment and commercial field. Great entrepreneurial and commercial mind set. Working as a relationship manager for HSBC Commercial Banking and keen to explore our members business and personal aspirations.

Raj Singh JP

My Professional Expertise is in Strategic Management, Policy Planning and Development and Project Management. I have post Grad qualifications in Public and Municipal Administration and a PRINCE2 Practitioner in Project Management.

My Experience is in the fields of Public Administration, Housing, Leisure and the Arts, Early Years Development, Education Major multi million pound Capital Development Projects and Tackling Child Poverty.

My Recent work history has included Assistant Head of School Standards, Head of Early Years Development and Children Centres, Head of Education Regeneration, Head of School Attendance and Child Poverty Lead For a large City Council in the North East. My Years as a public Servant spanned over 40 years, man and boy as they say.

Alongside this I have built a property Investment Company, Shabilla Properties, specialising in quality furnished accommodation for professionals throughout the North East. l am an Accredited member of the National Landlord Association and an Accredited landlord for a number of local Authorities.

I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Newcastle Gurdwara,(having played a lead role in the development of the iconic new Building), Trustee of the Hylton Castle Board in Sunderland and proud to have been a Director of ABC for its first Ten Years.

Finally I’m a serving Magistrate in Northumbria.

Ranjana Bell MBE

Ranjana has over 35 years’ experience in the field of Equality and Diversity. She has been a teacher for children with special needs; a Race Equality Officer for a local authority; an Equal Opportunities Officer for a university; a Non-Executive Director for a design company and has held the position of Director for her own company, rba Equality & Diversity since 1998.

She has been on many Boards and committees and is currently Chair of the Northumbria Police SIAG; PCC Independent Member for Police Misconduct Panel and Chair of Young People in Conversation. She was a government appointed Commissioner for the Women’s National Commission for 4 years and Co-Chair of the NE CPS Scrutiny Panel for Racist and Religious Hate Crime. She has been a Lay Member of Employment Tribunals since 1999. She has also been a Board member for The Cyrenians (Changing Lives); SAHELI and The Angelou Centre.

In 2009, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Equality and Diversity by CULTURES CIC; in 2012 she was shortlisted for an Asian Women of Achievement Award for her contribution to public service and in January 2014 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours for her work with the police and BME communities in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Rob Kleiser

Rob has operated in senior roles within both the formal education sector and a commercial environment, developing and implementing strategy that allows organisations to acquire, shape and nurture individuals to support delivery impactful business outcomes. During his career, he has continually led on developing successful collaborative partnerships that positively position value propositions for a range of stakeholders. More recently Rob has been instrumental in supporting  corporate organisations to explore and identify opportunities to improve and develop lasting talent strategies.

Rick Shabilla

 Proud to be a Director of ABC & to have been involved since its inception. I have a 15 year background in Sales and Marketing, Property Development and Energy. I have worked for both Public and Private sectors in a wide variety of different roles. A people person through and through, I am a great rapport & relationship builder. (Been in enough of them!). I am creative, artistic and passionate about Connecting, Supporting and Promoting people. Having set up my own ethical energy consultancy, (Green Planet Energy Ltd), I fully understand the frustrations and challenges SMEs can face & how to avoid/overcome them. I’m a down to earth family man, with a good sense of humour. I am approachable, positive and always keen to support others.