Welcome to the prestigious compilation of the “Top 50 Afro-Caribbean Leaders in the UK.” In this assemblage of talent, resilience, and leadership, this list celebrates individuals who have not only broken barriers but have also played instrumental roles in shaping the diverse landscape of the United Kingdom.
From business moguls and community activists to cultural icons and political trailblazers, the Afro-Caribbean community’s contribution to the UK is immeasurable. These leaders embody the spirit of excellence, embodying the ethos of unity in diversity and paving the way for future generations.
As we catalogue the profiles of these exceptional individuals, we invite you to join us in acknowledging their achievements, recognising the impact of their work, and celebrating the rich fabric of cultures they bring to the forefront of the UK’s collective identity.
Bob is the global managing partner of McKinsey & Company and chairs the firm’s board of directors. His focus is ensuring McKinsey lives up to its dual mission of helping our clients realise lasting and substantial improvements in their performance while also attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional people in an inclusive culture.
Bob is a founding member and chair of the African Leadership Group Advisory Board and sits on the boards of the US China Business Council, the New York City Jobs Council, and FCLTGlobal. He is an active member of the Business Roundtable, the Asia Business Council, the International Advisory Council for the Singapore Economic Development Board, the Tsinghua SEM Advisory Board, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Bob is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Oxford. He serves in a personal capacity on the board of QuestBridge, on the advisory board of USA Water Polo, and as a trustee of the Rhodes Trust. He is also a private pilot. Bob is married to Ashley, and they have three children.
Sir Kenneth Aphunezi Olisa
Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, currently serving as the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London to King Charles III, has a distinguished career spanning over 40 years in technology. As the founder and chairman of Restoration Partners, a boutique technology merchant bank, he began his career with IBM and held senior executive positions at Wang Laboratories in the UK, Belgium, and the USA. Notably, he became the first British-born black man appointed as a director of a FTSE 100 company (Reuters). His extensive public company board-level experience includes roles at Open Text, Thomson Reuters, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, and several AIM-listed businesses. Currently, he chairs technology businesses like Inogesis, Interswitch, and Proxymity.
In addition to his contributions in the technology sector, Sir Kenneth Olisa is deeply committed to public service. He has served as an NHS Trust Director, an inaugural member of regulators such as the Postal Service Commission and IPSA, and a Governor of the Peabody Trust. Known for his philanthropy, he founded the Aleto Foundation, serves as President of Thames Reach, Chairman of Shaw Trust, and President of London Youth. Recognised for his outstanding contributions, he was knighted in 2018 for services to business and philanthropy, and in 2021, he was appointed High Bailiff and Searcher of the Sanctuary at Westminster Abbey and a Trustee of the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund. Since January 1st, 2023, he has served as the Chair of BusinessLDN. His official motto reflects his motivations: “Do well. Do good.”
Baroness Valerie Ann Amos
Baroness Valerie Ann Amos has had a remarkable career with several notable achievements. She studied natural sciences and then social, political, and management sciences at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
She was the first British-born black woman to serve on the board of a major UK public company (Reuters) and the first black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) woman to serve as a Cabinet minister. She served as the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
She was the director of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London and later became the master at University College, Oxford; she was the first woman to hold the post and the first black person to head a college at the University of Oxford.
In November 2015, she was officially named as the most powerful black person in Britain. She was born in British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America and moved with her family to Great Britain in 1963.
Tony Tiyou is a leading figure in the renewable energy sector, having developed a strong interest in the field about eight years ago. He obtained the internationally recognised Galileo Master Certificate through multiple courses with the Renewable Energy Institute (REI), focusing on solar PV, electrical circuits, renewable energy solutions, management, and finance. Tony’s expertise led him to a role in renewable energy business development, working on solar PV and tidal energy projects in various African countries. As the founder and CEO of Renewables in Africa, a clean energy consultancy and media platform, he aims to transform lives in Africa through the power of renewable energy. Tony’s contributions extend to authoring ‘The Wind Industry Outlook in Africa’ and earning multiple awards, showcasing his significant impact on the renewable energy sector, particularly in Africa.
Ade Adepitan, MBE
Ade Adepitan is a highly accomplished figure in sports and television, recognised for his achievements as a wheelchair basketball player and his extensive career in broadcasting. Adept at hosting travel documentaries and sports programmes for BBC television, he made history as one of the first physically disabled television presenters in the UK. Adepitan’s accolades include winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics and a gold medal at the 2005 Paralympic World Cup. Beyond his sporting prowess, he is an award-winning author with the ‘Cyborg Cat’ series, addressing themes of diversity, equality, and friendship. A passionate advocate for disability sports and societal change, Adepitan serves as a patron for Go Kids Go and supports organisations like the NSPCC and Wheelpower UK. Recognised for his contributions, he received an MBE in 2005 and honorary doctorates from Loughborough University in 2006 and the University of East London in 2010, showcasing his significant impact on sports, television, and advocacy for disability rights.
Rosalind Patricia-Anne Howells, Baroness Howells of St. Davids OBE COG
A distinguished British Labour politician, she has made groundbreaking contributions across various domains. Notably, she holds the distinction of being the first black woman on the GLC’s Training Board and the first female member of the University of Greenwich’s Court of Governors. Her impactful roles include serving as Vice Chair at the London Voluntary Service Council and Director of the Greenwich Racial Equality Council. An advocate for justice in race relations, she actively participated in organisations like the Carnival Liaison Committee and the Greater London Action on Race Equality. Beyond her political career, she serves as a trustee for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, the Jason Roberts Foundation, and St. George’s University’s UK Trust. In 2009, she assumed the role of Chancellor at the University of Bedfordshire, showcasing her unwavering dedication to racial equality and societal advancement, leaving an enduring impact on transformative conversations and societal values.
Sharmadean Reid, MBE, a British-Japanese entrepreneur
Sharmadean Reid, MBE, a British Jamaican entrepreneur, has left an indelible mark on the beauty industry with her diverse work experience and numerous accomplishments. Renowned as the founder of WAH Nails and Beautystack, Reid initially started WAH as a hip-hop zine focusing on street smart feminism. Her career journey includes roles at Arena Homme Plus and Nike, where she served as a sportswear editor and stylist. Recognised by The Independent in 2009 as one of the individuals defining the future of the arts in Britain, Reid has continued to make significant strides. She is a founding member of the British Beauty Council, an advisor for the charity Art Against Knives, and a partner in Future Girl Corp., a business boot camp for women entrepreneurs. In 2021, she founded The Stack World, an intelligent, female-focused online media outlet, and received the Launch with GS ’22 Cohort Member title at Goldman Sachs in 2022. Among her numerous awards and honours, Reid was appointed MBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to the nail and beauty industry, showcasing her impactful contributions and recognition in the entrepreneurial landscape.
Timothy Campbell, MBE
Timothy Campbell, MBE, an English businessman, gained prominence as the winner of the first series of The Apprentice in 2005, securing a £100,000-a-year position with businessman Alan Sugar. Before his Apprentice victory, Campbell worked as a senior planner at London Underground. Following his success, he joined Sugar’s company, Amstrad, as the project director of the health and beauty division. Campbell later co-founded the social enterprise Bright Ideas Trust and became a social enterprise ambassador. Recognised for his contributions to enterprise culture, he was awarded an MBE. Campbell also co-founded the bespoke digital marketing agency Marketing Runners Ltd. and temporarily replaced Claude Littner as Lord Sugar’s aide in the 16th and 17th series of The Apprentice due to Littner’s medical issues, showcasing his diverse and impactful career in business and television.
Bim Afolami, a prominent British Conservative Party politician, has made notable contributions in both politics and the corporate sector. Serving as the Member of Parliament for Hitchin and Harpenden in Hertfordshire since the 2017 general election, he assumed the role of Economic Secretary to the Treasury in 2023. Before his political career, Afolami spent a decade in the City of London, working as a corporate lawyer at prestigious firms such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, then transitioning to banking as a senior executive at HSBC. Within Parliament, he has chaired cross-party groups, including those focused on renewable and sustainable energy and financial markets and services. Afolami is also the founder and chairman of the Regulatory Reform Group, advocating for British regulatory system reforms. His diverse background extends to being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a trustee for various charities, with a particular focus on creating opportunities for young people. Additionally, he temporarily replaced Claude Littner as Lord Sugar’s aide in the 16th and 17th series of The Apprentice, demonstrating his versatility in both politics and television.
Marvin Rees, OBE
Marvin Rees, OBE, the Mayor of Bristol since 2016, is a prominent British Labour Party politician who has made significant achievements during his tenure. He holds the distinction of being the first black mayor of a major European city and has overseen the construction of over 12,500 new homes. Rees has implemented plans for a mass transit system, provided numerous work experiences for young people, and secured funding for the Temple Quarter regeneration scheme, resulting in thousands of homes and jobs. He has also championed social issues such as period poverty and child hunger, demonstrating his commitment to creating a fair and inclusive society.
Tunde Olanrewaju is a highly accomplished individual with a diverse range of achievements. He currently serves as the Managing Partner of McKinsey’s UK, Ireland, and Israel offices, where he has made significant contributions in strategy, digital transformation, analytics, operations, and culture for various financial services, private equity, consumer-facing, and public sector institutions. He is a leader in McKinsey’s fintech work in Europe and has played a key role in creating McKinsey Digital. Tunde has also been involved in numerous projects, including journey digitization for a UK bank, investment diligence for fintech assets, digital marketing transformation for an online brokerage group, and shaping the digital strategy for a real estate company. His expertise extends beyond McKinsey, as he serves as a trustee of Oxfam and a board member of Innovate UK. Tunde’s influential work has made him one of the most prominent figures in his field.
Rachael Wang is the co-founder and director of Chocolate Films, a company she established after working in corporate finance for four years. She was recognised as the Entrepreneur of the Year at the Black British Business Awards in 2015 and has been involved in various projects, including producing content and a long-term documentary. Rachael is responsible for the company’s long-term vision, which includes the development of a new studio in the Nine Elms area. She serves as a trustee for the National Portrait Gallery and is also involved with the BFI’s Film Hub panel for Film London. Rachael’s contributions have made her a respected figure in her field, and she has received several accolades for her work.
Karen Blackett, Chairperson of MediaCom UK
Karen Blackett, Chairperson of MediaCom UK, has made significant strides in the media industry. She holds the notable position of Chairwoman of Group M, the world’s largest advertising media company, in terms of billings. Blackett is renowned for her unwavering commitment to promoting diversity within the industry and has been a vocal advocate for more inclusive representation. Her influence is not confined to the UK but is globally lauded, and her impact can be felt in boardrooms across continents.
More than her accomplishments, Blackett’s ethos has left a lasting impact. Her belief in the transformative power of genuine leadership, coupled with her unwavering commitment to integrity, has resonated with many. Blackett has been featured on the UK’s 100 most influential black women five times and received an OBE in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to media and communications. She was the first businesswoman to top the Power List in 2015. These achievements reflect her commitment to her industry and her efforts to bring about positive change.
Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, has made significant contributions to the African continent through his various initiatives. His distinguished business career includes founding Mobile Systems International, a world-leading cellular consulting and software provider, and Celtel International, one of Africa’s leading mobile telephone companies. He also established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2006 to support good governance and exceptional leadership on the African continent. The foundation promotes increased accountability via the Ibrahim Index, a rating system for governing bodies.
In addition to his business and philanthropic endeavours, Mo Ibrahim has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work. The GSM Association, The Economist, BNP Paribas, and many others have recognised him. He was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to charity and philanthropy. Furthermore, he is the co-founder and co-chair of the Africa Europe Foundation, launched in 2020 to reset and bolster Africa-Europe relations. These achievements reflect his commitment to his industry and his efforts to bring about positive change.
Tidjane Thiam, the former CEO of Credit Suisse
Tidjane Thiam, the former CEO of Credit Suisse, has had a distinguished career in the financial sector. He served as the CEO of Credit Suisse from March 2015 to February 2020. Prior to this, he was the chief financial officer of the British banking group Prudential from 2007 to 2009 and then its CEO until 2015. Thiam also made a significant impact in the insurance industry, becoming CEO of Prudential in 2009. His education was one of considerable achievement, as he became the first Ivorian to pass the entrance exam to Paris’ famous École Polytechnique before studying at the Écolate Nationale Supériere des Mines de Paris, where he graduated in 1986.
In addition to his corporate achievements, Thiam has made significant contributions to society. He became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2019. In 2020, Thiam was appointed by the shareholders of the Kering Foundation to become part of the board of directors as well as to take the position of Chair of the Audit Committee. He is also the executive chairman of Freedom Acquisition Corp. Furthermore, Thiam was elected to lead the Ivory Coast opposition with 96.5 percent of the vote. These achievements reflect his commitment to his industry and his efforts to bring about positive change.
Syreeta Brown, the Group Chief People and Communications Officer at Virgin Money UK
Syreeta Brown, the Group Chief People and Communications Officer at Virgin Money UK, has had a remarkable career journey. She joined Virgin Money in November 2021 after spending 11 years at Citi in various HR roles. Her most recent role at Citi was as Managing Director and head of HR for Global Functions, Operations, and Technology, where she led the HR strategy for 20,000 employees across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Before Citi, she held various roles at BT, including Director of Performance Management and Vice President of HR, Global Services.
At Virgin Money, one of her significant achievements has been leading the agenda on the future of work as part of the ‘A Life More Virgin’ colleague proposition. This initiative has reinvented how Virgin Money attracts and engages colleagues and improves how it delivers for its customers. During her tenure at Citi, she made a significant contribution to increasing diversity effectiveness, which helped Citi achieve its diversity goals around hiring. These achievements reflect her commitment to her industry and her efforts to bring about positive change.
David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham
David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham since 2000, has had a distinguished political career. He has served as the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs since 2021. Prior to this, he held various ministerial roles under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, including Minister of State for Universities. He also served as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice from 2020 to 2021. His contributions to parliamentary debates on various issues, including Israel and Gaza, Venezuela, violence in the West Bank, and cyber interference, among others, have been significant.
In addition to his political achievements, Lammy has made significant contributions to society. He became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2019. He has been an advocate for various causes, including racial justice, and has been vocal about the threats he has received due to his stance. These achievements reflect his commitment to his constituents and his efforts to bring about positive change.
Tunji Akintokun has had a remarkable career journey, particularly in his role as Director at Cisco, covering Africa. He has held several leadership positions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the CIS during his 17-year career at the company. He is the founder of the award-winning social enterprise “Your Future, Your Ambition,” which aims to inspire, excite, and engage diverse talent in pursuing careers in science and technology (STEM). He is passionate about diversity in the workplace and encouraging more diverse talent to pursue careers in science and technology. He sits on several boards and councils in the UK, including Teach First, techUK, Grant Thornton, Raise Tech, and CASPA.
In addition to his corporate achievements, Akintokun has made significant contributions to society. He was an Olympic torchbearer at the Rio 2016 Olympics, running in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has been involved in various initiatives that aim to inspire interest in STEAM at an early age. He has also worked on projects for Black History Month. His belief in the power of education to transform lives is based directly on his own experiences. These achievements reflect his commitment to his industry and his efforts to bring about positive change.
Vanessa Kingori, CBE: Chief Business Officer, Condé Nast Britain, Vogue European Business Advisor
Vanessa Kingori, CBE: Chief Business Officer, Condé Nast Britain, Vogue European Business Advisor, has had a remarkable career in the media industry. She joined Condé Nast Britain in September 2021 and has since made significant strides in her role. Before this, she was the publisher of British GQ across all platforms and the first black publisher at Condé Nast Britain. She also served as the Publishing Director of British Vogue, making her the first female business leader in its over 100-year history. The unprecedented success of British Vogue’s revenue transformation during her tenure led to her promotion to Chief Business Officer across the entire British company, covering all Condé Nast Britain brands.
In addition to her corporate achievements, Kingori has made significant contributions to society. She is the founder of the award-winning social enterprise “Your Future, Your Ambition,” which aims to inspire, excite, and engage diverse talent in pursuing careers in science and technology (STEM). She has been regularly listed as one of the UK’s 100 most influential black Britons by the Powerlist. In 2023, she was recognised as one of the 100 most influential people, according to Time magazine. These achievements reflect her commitment to her industry and her efforts to bring about positive change.
Adebayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP),
Adebayo Ogunlesi, Chairman and Managing Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), has had a distinguished career in the financial sector. He has held several leadership positions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the CIS during his 17-year career at the company. Prior to GIP, he was the former head of global investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston before being promoted to chief client officer and executive vice chairman. Under his leadership, GIP oversees approximately $100 billion in assets as of 2023. He is also the founder of the award-winning social enterprise “Your Future, Your Ambition,” which aims to inspire, excite, and engage diverse talent in pursuing careers in science and technology (STEM).
In 2023, a significant milestone was achieved when BlackRock acquired GIP for $12.5 billion. This acquisition marked BlackRock’s power play, catapulting itself as the world’s largest independent infrastructure manager. As part of the deal, Ogunlesi is set to become a member of BlackRock’s board and global executive committee. This signifies his strategic positioning to navigate the integration of GIP and BlackRock operations, expanding his influence beyond the boardroom to orchestrate a consolidation that maximises synergies while minimising disruption. These achievements reflect his commitment to his industry and his efforts to bring about positive change.
Trevor Faure, the Global Head of Legal at Ernst & Young
Trevor Faure, Global Head of Legal at Ernst & Young, boasts a distinguished 17-year career within the company, holding leadership roles across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia, and the CIS. Before joining Ernst & Young, he served as the former head of global investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston, eventually becoming the chief client officer. Faure is also the founder of the award-winning social enterprise “Your Future, Your Ambition,” dedicated to inspiring diverse talent to pursue careers in science and technology (STEM). Beyond corporate achievements, he has been involved in initiatives to inspire interest in STEAM subjects from an early age and has contributed to projects for Black History Month, reflecting his belief in education’s transformative power based on his own experiences.
Ozwald Boateng, CEO of the Ozwald Boateng Fashion line, has left an indelible mark on the fashion industry. Renowned for his unique take on classic tailoring and bespoke styles, Boateng made history as the first tailor to stage a catwalk show in Paris. His contemporary approach to menswear design revolutionised perceptions of Savile Row. Boateng’s achievements include launching perfumes for women in 2003, a major retrospective event at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2005, and the debut of his design for British Airways in 2023. Beyond his corporate success, Boateng has made significant societal contributions, topping the Powerlist in 2015, receiving an OBE from the Queen in the New Year honours for services to the clothing industry, and exemplifying his commitment to both fashion and community impact.
Professor Stanley Okolo, the Executive Director of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO),
Professor Stanley Okolo, the Executive Director of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), boasts a distinguished career in healthcare. With educational roots at the University of Nigeria and international postgraduate medical training, including stints in the UK and Canada, he spent the majority of his professional life in England. Appointed in 2018 to head WAHO as one of Nigeria’s Statutory Appointees to ECOWAS, Professor Okolo is an award-winning leader, clinical academic, and executive coach, holding pivotal roles in regional and international healthcare leadership, academic partnerships, and professional organisations.
During his leadership, Professor Okolo achieved significant transformations, providing executive clinical leadership that elevated trust, resulting in a substantial increase in annual turnover and the execution of a £200 million modern hospital rebuild. Notably, he played a key role in establishing the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control in Abuja, Nigeria, and contributed to capacity building by training over 1000 health staff. Additionally, his efforts focused on harmonising medicine policies across the region and enhancing the security of drug and vaccine supply chains.
Edward Kobina Enninful, OBE, is a Ghanaian-born British editor and stylist.
Edward Kobina Enninful, OBE, a Ghanaian-born British editor and stylist, achieved eminence through key roles such as editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Condé Nast. Commencing his career at 18 as the fashion director of i-D magazine, Enninful also contributed significantly to Vogue Italia, American Vogue, and W magazine. His impactful tenure at British Vogue, starting in 2017, was marked by a dedication to challenging norms, promoting diversity, and advocating for designers and photographers of color, solidifying his status as a global change-maker.
Ric Lewis, a dual British and American citizen, is a notable figure in international real estate investment management, serving as the founding partner of Tristan Capital Partners. Under his leadership, the firm’s total assets surpassed €10 billion, establishing it as the largest black majority-owned private company in Britain. Lewis’s real estate career commenced at AEW Capital Management, where he spearheaded European expansion. Beyond his business success, he is recognised for philanthropy, having founded the Black Heart Foundation, which offers educational scholarships. His commitment to social impact earned him the top spot on the Power List 2019, acknowledging influential individuals of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage.
Ismail Ahmed, a British national of Somali origin, is the founder and chairman of World Remit, a leading global digital money transfer service. Born and raised in Somaliland, Ahmed moved to the UK as a refugee, where he pursued his education, earning a PhD in economics from the University of London and an MBA from London Business School. His career includes working for a World Bank agricultural development project in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where he helped run a money transfer project. Ahmed’s experience with the high costs and inefficiencies of traditional money transfer systems led him to develop the idea of a mobile money transfer system. He launched World Remit in 2010.
Under Ahmed’s leadership, World Remit has grown into a global operation, serving customers on six continents. His innovative approach to remittances has not only revolutionised the industry but also made a significant impact on the lives of many people worldwide who rely on remittances for their livelihood. In recognition of his contributions, Ahmed was named first in the Powerlist 2020, an annual list of the 100 most powerful people of African heritage in the UK. His journey from a refugee to the founder of a successful global business is a testament to his vision, resilience, and commitment to making a difference.
Dame Sharon Michele White
Dame Sharon Michele White, a British businesswoman, has had an illustrious career in the public and private sectors. She served as the Chief Executive of the British media regulator Ofcom from March 2015 to November 2019, becoming the first woman and the first black person to lead the media regulator. Before this, she held several high-ranking positions in the Civil Service, including Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury. She was the first black person and the second woman to become a permanent secretary at the Treasury. Her leadership at Ofcom and her previous roles have earned her recognition as one of the most influential black British people in the UK.
In addition to her professional achievements, White has been recognised for her influence and impact. She topped the Powerlist 2023, an annual list of the most powerful people of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage in the UK. She has also been named the UK’s most influential black person and was awarded a Damehood in the 2020 New Year’s Honours for public service. Her journey from east London to leading roles in the Civil Service and Ofcom is a testament to her determination, skill, and commitment to excellence.
Tom Ilube, Entrepreneur
Tom Ilube, an entrepreneur, is a British entrepreneur of Nigerian descent and has made significant strides in the tech industry. He is the founder and CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity plc, which was admitted to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange in December 2018. Ilube was part of the founding team of the pioneering Internet bank Egg, and he persuaded Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web, to serve as an adviser to his online identity verification company, Garlik. He also founded the credit score website Noddle.co.uk, which has grown to over 2 million users since launching in 2011. His work in the tech industry led him to be named at the top of the 2017 Powerlist, which recognises influential people in the United Kingdom of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage.
In addition to his technical achievements, Ilube is also known for his contributions to education. He set up the African Gifted Foundation to help transform the lives of hundreds of children on the continent. This year, he also opened the African Science Academy (ASA), Africa’s first girls-only science and technology school based in Ghana. The academy is driving Africa’s development by inspiring and unleashing the next generation of gifted scientists and engineers. His work in education extends to the United Kingdom, where he is the chairman of ADA College, a newly opened national college helping students enhance their digital skills. He’s also the founding chairman of Hammersmith Academy in London, which opened in September 2011 and is now one of the country’s most innovative technology schools.
Dean Forbes is the driving force behind a programme of acquisitions, organic growth, and dynamic internal transformations. The award also recognises Forbes’ leadership skills and success in business achievements, as well as his philanthropic work. His foundation, Forbes Family Group (FFG), provides investment, networking, and development support to young people and entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. FFG has helped more than 1,170 young people move from difficult situations into education or into promising careers.
Professor David Olusoga, OBE
Professor David Olusoga, OBE, will be presented with the Top 50 Afro-Caribbean Leaders in the UK for 2023 for outstanding contribution and recognising an outstanding contribution to film, games, or television.
With a three-decade career spanning the creative arts and academia, presenter, broadcaster, filmmaker, author, and historian Olusoga has been a trailblazer for the television industry, leading a reappraisal of how history has been traditionally told through popular culture.
Dr. Sandie Okoro
Sandie is an ardent defender and champion for women’s empowerment, gender equality, and justice for all. Outside of work, Sandie is a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and prior to joining the World Bank Group, she was a council member of the human rights organisation JUSTICE, Ambassador for the Law Society’s Diversity Access Scheme, and sat on the Equality Standards Panel of the Premier League.
Matthew Ashimolowo, Senior Pastor, KICC
Matthew Ashimolowo is an internationally renowned figure in the world of ministry and religious leadership. With a career spanning several decades, he has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience that has captivated audiences around the globe. From humble beginnings to becoming the senior pastor at Kingsway International Christian Centre, Ashimolowo’s journey is nothing short of extraordinary.
Beyond his role as a pastor and televangelist, Ashimolowo actively participates in charitable endeavours and community outreach rograms. He is passionate about making a positive impact on society. Matthew Ashimolowo’s impact extends beyond his local congregation. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential African pastors, inspiring and empowering individuals from all walks of life.
Kate Osamor, MP
Kate is the Labour and Co-operative MP for Edmonton and sits on the International Development Select Committee. Kate is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nigeria, and in 2018, she established the APPG on No Recourse to Public Funds.
Since being elected, Kate has consistently used her voice as an MP to speak out for the most vulnerable in society, highlighting the impact policies will have on BAME communities, arguing for much fuller representation of Black and Ethnic Minority communities in political bodies, more investment in public services, and campaigning on social justice issues.
Richard is a partner and vice chairman at KPMG in the UK, specialising in taxation in the financial services sector. Richard has played a critical role as part of the BHWG in devising KPMG’s very proactive Black Lives Action Plan, which not only aims to double black people in leadership but also enhances our policies to support the career progression of black colleagues in KPMG.
Richard is the partner sponsor for KPMG’s African Caribbean network. This role gives Richard an opportunity to support and mentor colleagues with an Afro-Caribbean background. It also gives him an opportunity to positively engage, shape, and drive KPMG’s diversity and inclusion strategy.
Lord Simon Woolley, CBE
Lord Simon Woolley, CBE, is the director and founder of Operation Black Vote (OBV), a commissioner for race on the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and chair of the government’s Race Disparity Unit’s advisory group.
OBV is a non-partisan and not-for-profit national organisation that was established in 1996 to address the British black and ethnic minority democratic deficit. Focusing on voter registration, lobbying politicians, and mentoring schemes, OBV aims to inspire black and minority ethnic communities to engage with public institutions to address race inequalities in areas including education, health, and employment.
Steven Bartlett is the 30-year-old founder of the social media marketing agency Social Chain and is widely considered one of Europe’s most talented and accomplished young entrepreneurs and philosophical thinkers.
Steven is particularly focused on inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs and creators from a BAME background. Steven has invested in and joined the board of Huel, which is the UK’s fastest-growing e-commerce company internationally. He’s also invested in and taken on a role as an advisor at Atai Life Sciences, a biotech company working to cure mental health disorders. Other investments focus on blockchain technologies, biotech, space, Web 3, and social media.
Professor Kevin Fenton, CBE, MBBS (Hons), MSc, PhD, FFPH, Doctor of Literature (DLit)
A trailblazer in the field of public health, Professor Kevin Fenton’s leadership and expertise have been paramount, particularly during the global COVID-19 pandemic. His roles across governmental and academic spheres in the UK and internationally have contributed to shaping effective responses to public health challenges. His dedication to reducing health inequalities and addressing infectious diseases has earned him a CBE and significant recognition, including being named the second most influential black person in Britain by Powerlist. As the President of the UK Faculty of Public Health and a prominent advisor on HIV, Fenton’s contributions continue to impact public health on a national and global scale.
Jacqueline McKenzie holds degrees in law, human rights, and international relations and is a solicitor in England and Wales (2008) and a barrister in Grenada (2011), with several high-profile and reported cases behind her.
Her main areas of legal expertise are asylum, refugee, and immigration law, as well as actions against the state. She is a leading advocate for Windrush cases and works on policy issues pertaining to undocumented minors and deportation through the Centre for Migration Advice and Research, which she founded in 2015.
She has been a campaigner for the rights of the Windrush generation in themes including education, social welfare, criminal justice, and civil rights, and some of these issues will be reflected in her work at Leigh Day.
Dianne Abbott, MP
Diane Abbott is a British politician who has served as the Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987. In 2023, she served as the Shadow Home Secretary from 2016 to 2021. She was also the first black woman to become an MP.
In concluding this tribute to the “Top 50 Afro-Caribbean Leaders in the UK,” we are reminded of the power of diversity and the strength that arises when unique perspectives converge towards a common goal. These leaders exemplify not only personal success but also a commitment to community empowerment, social justice, and positive change.
As we applaud their achievements, let this compilation serve as an inspiration for aspiring leaders, highlighting the incredible potential within the Afro-Caribbean community. May their stories resonate, fostering a sense of pride, unity, and determination to overcome challenges, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and harmonious society.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the honorees and express gratitude for their indelible contributions to the cultural and socio-economic fabric of the United Kingdom. Here’s to a future where diversity continues to be celebrated and the legacy of Afro-Caribbean leadership flourishes in every sphere of British society.