sergei purewalSERGEI PUREWAL, BOARD CHAIR

Sergei is a solicitor with significant domestic and international high value, complex dispute resolution (ADR) and civil litigation experience, and is admitted in England and Wales.

Sergei has worked for international law firms including Dentons and Eversheds in private practice, as well as for global litigation funders, including Burford Capital (UK). Most recently, Sergei is the principal of the consultancy firm Pure Equitas (International) Consultancy LLC providing access to justice. He has been involved in some of the industry’s leading and precedent-setting landmark cases with a global reach. He has effectively applied his experience in the sectors of private practice, litigation finance and insurance, bringing together a wealth of valuable knowledge and insight into managing litigation and arbitration risks from across the aisle by practicing an innovative, forward thinking, added value and solution-driven approach.

Sergei has been asked to use his specialised knowledge and skills in the capacity of an expert witness, and he has also been instrumental in helping develop and inform the use of leading custom-built AI algorithms technology on proprietary structured data platforms from public and private sources for risk assessment and management purposes in relevant sectors.

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george bisnoughtGEORGE BISNOUGHT, BOARD MEMBER

George is the founder and managing director of Excello Law. Founded in 2009, 18 years after George qualified as a solicitor, Excello Law is a well known commercial firm with over 110 lawyers focused on creative solutions and new ways of providing legal services. Indeed George’s vision has won many accolades in the legal industry, including being among the top law companies of the year.

In addition to his practice, George holds several directorships, including for a number of global software companies.

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peter lennonPETER LENNON, BOARD MEMBER

Peter has devoted his career to litigation, compliance, financial regulation, taxation, governance, conduct risk, operational risk and related matters for many years. He most recently sat on the board of Stichting NL Tesco in the Netherlands related to potential resolution of claims related to accounting irregularities at Tesco PLC. Peter also has considerable teaching experience, including most recently as a professor of economics at Griffith College teaching managerial economics at the graduate level in Dublin, Ireland.

In addition to being a U.S. qualified lawyer and a professor of economics, Peter is also a U.S. qualified accountant with extensive Big 4 auditing experience and has an MBA in economics/finance. His practice has been devoted primarily to serving as a lawyer, forensic accountant and consultant to firms and regulators in cases involving financial and regulatory issues. Examples include cases related to complex financial and regulatory issues involving the following entities: the Central Bank of Ireland, HSBC, Leaseum Partners, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Kroll, the UK FCA and Xerox Corporation.

Peter was educated at Widener University, Delaware Law School where he received his J.D., and at West Chester University, where he obtained his MBA.

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melanie ormosMELANIE ORMOS, BOARD MEMBER

Since 2010, Melanie has worked in a variety of roles within the philanthropy and social impact sectors, from Washington, D.C., to the San Francisco Bay Area, and now in Amsterdam. Her work at The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) entails partnering with social investors and supporting them on their philanthropic strategies by designing learning opportunities and building a community of best practice to accelerate philanthropic resources and impact that individuals and families have across a wide range of issues.

Previous to TPW, she served as a Philanthropy Advisor at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where she advised individuals and families across the western United States on their philanthropic strategies from governance to grantmaking and sustainable impact investing. She also spent time at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in the world with approximately $13B assets under management, helping the team expand its footprint to include San Francisco. Prior to moving west, Melanie spent five years at the global health organization PSI (Population Services International) and was a part of the core team that developed Maverick Collective, a philanthropic initiative at PSI dedicated to empowering women and girls around the world to live healthy and productive lives. Created in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Maverick Collective was built with the vision and leadership of HRH The Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Melinda Gates and has prompted significant investments in women and girls health and increased collaboration between philanthropists, corporations, and governments globally. Melanie holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of San Diego and lives in Amsterdam.

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arno akkermansARNO AKKERMANS, SUPERVISORY BOARD CHAIR

Arno is director of the Amsterdam Law and Behavior Institute (A-LAB) and of the Amsterdam Centre for Comprehensive Law (ACCL).
Within A-LAB several faculties of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) join forces in conducting interdisciplinary research in the field of law and behavior.

The ACCL is one of the research centres of A-LAB. The ACCL is pioneering a variety of innovative empirical-legal research methods and is experimenting with the way legal research is oriented and organised. The ACCL stands for a more comprehensive approach to the function, the effects and the meaning of law and legal procedures for those who resort to the legal system. Its mission is to contribute with its research to the improvement of the performance of the legal system in meeting a wider spectrum of human needs and motivations than traditionally are the focus of law and the legal discipline, such as justice, acknowledgement, validation, involvement, ‘voice,’ restoration, apology and forgiveness.

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steve bermanSTEVE W. BERMAN, SUPERVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Steve is a renowned U.S. attorney who has dedicated his 40-year legal career to uplifting those most in need of representation against the world’s largest corporations and wrongdoers. Steve’s legacy includes many noteworthy cases and victories, chiefly among them having served as co-lead counsel against Big Tobacco, resulting in the largest settlement in world history, and at the time the largest automotive, antitrust, ERISA and securities settlements in U.S. history.

Steve’s work also includes a focus in automotive litigation, with a specific focus on emissions-cheating cases against major automakers. Mr. Berman pioneered this area of law on the heels of the Volkswagen Dieselgate litigation, which he served in as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and lead counsel on behalf of VW franchise dealers, in a suit culminating in a settlement of $1.6 billion – a substantial recovery for the class. Hagens Berman was the first law firm in the nation to sue VW regarding its emissions cheating and has gone on to independently test diesel vehicles, bringing proprietary class actions against Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Ford.

Steve is the Funder’s representative to the Foundation. He waives his hourly fee in furtherance of the mission.

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martha seijas MARTHA SEIJAS, SUPERVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Martha is a civil rights lawyer in Detroit, Michigan. For more than a decade, Martha served in the prestigious position of career attorney/clerk to the Honorable Helene N. White of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which rules on appeals from the federal district courts in four states:  Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Martha served in the district where many vehicle manufacturers have their U.S. headquarters and drafted for the Judge’s review objective, clear, and carefully measured opinions, including dissents.

The wide-ranging civil cases Martha worked on involved all manner of torts, including product-liability, diversity-jurisdiction claims that required application of state law, and constitutional claims. Prior to serving in the Sixth Circuit, Martha served the same Judge in the Michigan Court of Appeals for 14 years. During that time, she reviewed appellate briefs and lower court records. After conducting extensive independent legal research, Martha drafted opinions for the Judge’s review, including in technical product-liability cases.

She is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School, where she served on the editorial board of the Journal of International Law and Economics. She previously earned a Master of Arts degree in foreign language and international trade.

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Astrid StadlerASTRID STADLER, SUPERVISORY BOARD MEMBER

Astrid Stadler is a professor of law at the University of Konstanz, Germany. She holds a chair of private law, civil procedure law, private international law and comparative law. From 2011-2015 she also had a part-time chair in the Netherlands (Erasmus University, Rotterdam) for comparative mass litigation. For more than 20 years, she has done research in the field of mass litigation and has published more than 70 articles on collective redress. Together with international research teams she realized several book projects. She also served as an expert for claimants in collective actions and as an academic advisor for public regulators and ministries in Europe. From 2017-2020 she was chair (co-reporter) of an international working group in an ELI/UNIDROIT project (Model Rules for European Civil Procedure 2020) that drafted model rules for collective redress proceedings. She has experience as a supervisory board member in other Dutch foundations, for example in the VW case.

Astrid Stadler graduated from the University of Konstanz and obtained her PhD in 1988 at the same university. She qualified as a professor in 1993 at the University of Freiburg, Germany. She was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, and is a guest professor at Tongji University, Shanghai. In the German academic community, she is also well-known as vice-president of the German Association of Civil Procedural Law and co-editor of the German “Juristenzeitung”, the most prestigious law journal in Germany.

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