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Below is a list of people at COER. For more information on individual members, click on their name.


Title: Director, COER

Ahmed Abbas

Title: Senior Researcher/Consultant


Position: Financial Director – Ltd
Stephen leads the BPIR, a best practice resource

Saad Ghafoor

Excellence Without Borders

Saad Ghafoor is working on COER’s project Excellence Without Borders (EWB), which is a global study to investigate the current state of and best practices in designing business excellence frameworks/ models and promoting, facilitating, awarding, supporting, and measuring the success of BE on a national/ regional/ sectoral level.
This research is the largest ever on studying the national strategies of business excellence custodian organisations (that are the organisations responsible for designing business excellence frameworks and deploying business excellence in their respective countries). Saad had 29 business excellence custodian organisations from 26 countries participate in his research (that can be found here), out of which, 13 custodian organisations also undertook follow-up structured interviews. The Global Excellence Models (GEM) Council (which is an organisation consisting of custodians of the major business excellence frameworks and national business excellence award bodies) is the sponsor of this project.
The findings were compiled in the form of an anonymised Report for Public Release containing aggregated data and a confidential detailed report for use by the project participants only. The detailed report comprises of analysed results from the project and indicates the individual responses from the participants. The report will help business excellence custodian organisations to significantly improve the management practices and performance of organisations that the participating business excellence custodian organisations are working with.
For the literature review of his PhD, Saad compiled 415 peer-reviewed business excellence papers published from 1990 to 2020 that are listed here. This study (prepared in the form of a peer-reviewed paper) was accepted for publication in the prestigious Total Quality Management and Business Excellence journal and can be found here. In addition to this, there are six more business excellence papers by Saad that are at different stages of their peer-reviewed publications. He is expecting to finish his PhD in 2021.
Saad has also undertaken a yearly review of the number of the business excellence custodian organisations with the latest one (undertaken in September 2020) listing 56 countries having active (held in 2018 or after) business excellence awards program.
Saad has also assisted COER’s project of launching the Public Service Excellence Program in Tonga in 2018 and COER’s projects in 2017, 2018, and 2020 under the Dubai We Learn initiative.

Saad can be contacted at

Atif Baig
An exploration of the organisational excellence architecture (OEA)

AtifAtif Baig is a Research Associate at the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), Massey University, New Zealand. He is currently doing his PhD and investigating Business Excellence (BE) models from an implementation viewpoint. Atif’s PhD study title is ‘An exploration of the organisational excellence architecture (OEA) required to support an award-winning BE journey. OEA refers to a combination of resources, formal reporting structure, processes, and assessment tools to support BE implementation.
Before joining Massey University, Atif worked for the banking industry for over 15 years with leading financial institutions including Citigroup and Barclays Bank PLC, where he was involved in different organisational performance improvement initiatives. With his industry experience and learnings, Atif is keen to help organisations to improve their business productivity and achieve sustainable value for their shareholders. Atif holds a postgraduate (MBA) degree from the University of Warwick, UK.
Interested BE organisations can join Atif’s research by accessing the link: Calling all Business Excellence Award Winners and Applicants – An Opportunity to Participate in Leading-Edge Research on Achieving & Sustaining Performance Excellence

Atif can be contacted at


Position: Director of Pyxis Consulting
Michael assists with COER’s consultancy projects worldwide.