New ASA Council Members Appointed

ASA Chairman, Lord David Currie, has today announced the appointment of three new Council members – Nita Patel, Zaid Al-Qassab and Aaqil Ahmed. Our Council is the body responsible for deciding if an ad has broken the advertising rules and therefore needs to be amended or withdrawn. It also operates as the Board of the ASA. The ASA Website features the following information.

Our Council is formed of 13 members of whom two-thirds are independent of industry. The remaining third have a recent, or current, knowledge of the advertising or media sector. Collectively, the members offer a wide range of skills and experiences, representing the perspectives of a wide cross section of society, including young people, families, charities and consumer groups.

Aaqil Ahmed, Media Consultant, and Nita Patel, Director of Planet Communications and Caya Ltd, will act as independent members of the Council. The new industry-background member is Zaid Al-Qassab, Chief Brand and Marketing Officer of BT Group.  All three members will judge both broadcast and non-broadcast ads and will begin their terms in April 2018.

Of the appointments, David said: “I’m delighted to welcome Nita, Zaid and Aaqil to the ASA Council. They bring with them a vast range of experience across a range of sectors which will add value to how we regulate advertising.”

The new appointments will be replacing Alan Bookbinder, Rachel Childs and Roisin Donnelly, who have all come to the end of their very successful terms on the Council.

The gender split in the Council is 57% male and 43% female and nearly one-third are from a BAME background.

About our new Council members:

Aaqil Ahmed

Aaqil Ahmed is the former Head of Religion and Ethics at both the BBC and Channel 4. At the BBC his role included commissioning religion TV, running in house TV and radio production in Salford and Belfast as well as being the Head of Religion internally and externally.

At Channel 4, he was also the Head of Multicultural Programming, winning numerous awards from BAFTA, Emmy to Royal Television Society, as well as nominations including Grierson and Oscar.

He is Professor of Media at the University of Bolton and a published writer, speaker and leader in media, diversity, religion, demographics and culture.

Aaqil is a co-founder and Board member of Princes Trust youth mentoring organisation Mosaic, a council member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and a Trustee of disaster relief agency Muslim Aid.

His company, Aaqil Ahmed Media Consultancy specialises in Television and digital media production, religion and diversity strategy and training as well as international development training in media and religious literacy.

Nita Patel

Nita is a Corporate Communications and Sustainability specialist. Through her business Planet Communications, she has worked with a number of well-known companies helping develop and deliver their sustainability communications.

Nita is also the co-founder of new coffee shop and co-working space in Brixton, CAYA, providing a multi-purpose venue for freelancers and nomad workers to eat, work and share space in a flexible fashion. This is her first Board position.

Zaid Al-Qassab

Zaid is the Chief Brand & Marketing Officer of BT Group, which owns EE, Plusnet and BT, the UK’s 4th most valuable brand. 

He was educated at Oxford University, where he read PPE (Philosophy, Politics & Economics), and has also completed the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma. He spent 20 years at Procter & Gamble, in marketing & commercial roles, including as Managing Director of the Health & Beauty division for the UK & Ireland. Before joining BT, Zaid was the Chief Marketing Officer of HouseTrip, a digital start-up which was bought by TripAdvisor in 2016. Zaid has also been a special advisor to Brandwatch PeerIndex and a SeedCamp mentor. 

Zaid is committed to achieving social good and inclusion, and has helped WaterAid, Oxfam, the men’s health charity Movember, and is BT’s ethnic diversity sponsor. He is married with two children.


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