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Where It All Started At Oakwood

How did Dennis O’Donnell and Janine Bunning establish Oakwood?

By Harry Puckering

Harry is Oakwood's Associate Consultant and works in our Associate Team
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Oakwood International was established in 2001 by Dennis O’Donnell CEO, and Janine Bunning MD. They remain the sole owners of the business. Carrie Baghurst, Oakwood’s Operations Director, was the third member of the original Oakwood team.

Dennis has a background in business and finance. He has held a variety of senior management positions including Director of L&D for Lloyds bank. He has a Masters from Cambridge University and is a Fellow of The Institute of Leadership and Management.
Janine has spent her life working in HRM, HRD in the private and public sector and in Management Consultancy roles. Janine is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a Fellow of the ILM.

Before joining Oakwood, Carrie worked for several large organisations such as American Express, Lloyds TSB and a commercial broker for Lloyd's of London.  Her talent for organisation and detail brings real focus to Oakwood’s operations.

Oakwood International’s experience in the GCC began in 2001 when the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) invited Oakwood to deliver its qualification programmes in Dubai, after the CIPD had experienced quality assurance issues with an existing provider.  

Building on this invitation, Oakwood rebuilt the integrity of the Foundation Level 3 programmes, and is now the biggest provider of these and Intermediate Level 5 programmes in Dubai and throughout the United Arab Emirates. Oakwood also delivers CIPD programmes in Oman, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait and Qatar. Further developments have included cohorts in Bulgaria and Croatia. 

Oakwood International has designed and delivered a wide range of highly successful consultancy, training and development programmes in all its regional markets. Oakwood has developed a sympathetic understanding of GCC, Middle East and Arabic cultures, current Nationalisation programmes, and the development needs and career opportunities of people in this Region. 

Since February 2015 Oakwood has centred our Middle East headquarters in our new offices in Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. In total, we now employ more than 35 people in our Dubai and Haywards Heath, UK centres.  Our sales and marketing initiatives are primarily driven by our team in the UAE.  We are really pleased with the success of this operation and the fact that it is clearly adding in-country value to its MENA operations.

Contact Oakwood on info@oakwooddubai.ae for more information about our history.