CHANCELLOR Sajid Javid has been named the most influential Asian in Britain for the second consecutive year, as the annual edition of the GG2 Power List will be unveiled this evening.
Britain’s first Asian chancellor of the exchequer tops the ranking, while Priti Patel, Javid’s successor in the Home Office and the country’s most powerful female Asian, is in second spot.
Investment fund manager Gina Miller, who launched legal action challenging the prorogation of parliament and won the case at the UK supreme court, follows the Asian cabinet ministers who hold two of the four great offices of state, in third place.
The prime minister, chancellor, home secretary and foreign secretary collectively comprise what is known in the UK as the four great offices of state.
London mayor Sadiq Khan and assistant police commissioner for specialist operations Neil Basu are ranked fourth and fifth respectively.
Published by the Asian Media Group, the GG2 Power List is a compilation of the 101 most influential south Asians in the UK. It will be unveiled at the annual GG2 Leadership Awards in central London today (10).
Court of appeal judge Sir Rabinder Singh, treasury chief secretary Rishi Sunak, actor Riz Ahmed, Royal Society president Sir Venki Ramakrishnan and the Hinduja family round off the top 10 most powerful British Asians.
Secretary of state for international development Alok Sharma (rank 13) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad (17) are among the most senior politicians in the top 20.
This year’s list includes Asians from a variety of sectors – from business and industry to activism, media and sport. Nine among the top 20 list are women, while on the list as a whole, 28 are female.
Almost a third of the list (29) is new, among them Munira Mirza, head of policy at Downing Street; Mohit Bakaya, controller, BBC Radio 4; actress Naomi Scott and young activist Amika George, known for her campaign against period poverty.
A summer that saw England lift the cricket World Cup and prime minister Boris Johnson appoint the UK’s most diverse cabinet ever have illustrated the strength of Asian influence today.
Javid, 49, who represents Bromsgrove, has the distinction of being the first Asian to hold two of the great offices of state – he was home secretary in Theresa May’s government before being promoted to chancellor in July.
When he moved into his official residence next door to his boss, the prime minister, Javid’s mother, a British Pakistani immigrant, noted that Asians have moved into Downing Street.
The former banker, who rose from his working-class family to hold one of the most powerful offices in the UK, said: “I am English and proud of my Pakistani roots.”
AMG editor Shailesh Solanki said: “The GG2 Power List showcases the wealth of Asian talent enriching British society.
“From Sajid Javid to Naughty Boy and Judge Anuja Dhir to Naomi Scott, the people on the list illustrate the huge strides the community has made in all walks of life.
“The GG101 are exceptional individuals who have overcome obstacles and shattered glass ceilings. They are outstanding role models who will no doubt inspire the next generation to push the boundaries of achievement further.
“All the 101 people in our list are proof that Asians have made an impact in every sector of British life – from politics to research, business to activism and in the arts.”
Witham MP Patel, 47, a keen Brexiteer, is the daughter of Gujarati immigrants from Uganda. Her parents fled to Britain in the 1960s, shortly before dictator Idi Amin expelled Asians from the East African country, and set up a chain of newspaper shops.
Patel read economics at university, and then did postgraduate studies in British government and politics. Now in charge of law and order in Britain, she told the Conservative party conference in Manchester this month that her Brexit mission was “to end the free movement of people once and for all. Instead we will introduce an Australian-style pointsbased immigration system.”
“One that works in the best interests of Britain. One that attracts and welcomes the brightest and the best. One that supports brilliant scientists, the finest academics and leading people in their fields. And one that is under the control of the British government.”
While politicians, industrialists, business leaders, bankers and financiers dominate the list, there are also musicians, doctors, campaigners, influencers and media personalities.
Among the new entries from the corporate world are Salman Amin (rank 28), Laxman Narasimhan (47) and Nitin Paranjpe (50).
Amin, a former a former CEO of SC Johnson and UK CEO of Pepsico, has been appointed global CEO of Pladis, the grocery multinational. “I’ve built a career on seeking out opportunities to rewrite the rules, diversify and be part of the consumer revolution. I am a huge believer that leaders build trust,” said Amin, who also sits on the board of ITV.
Narasimhan replaces Rakesh Kapoor at consumer giant Reckitt Benckiser, whose brands Dettol, Nurofen and Durex are household names. Paranjpe is the chief operating officer of Unilever, one of the world’s biggest consumer goods companies with a £51 billion turnover. His mantra is that “if you do the right thing in life, right outcomes have to follow”.
Another new entry is the Kamani family, led by father Mahmud and sons Umar and Adam. The names behind popular fashion companies Boohoo and Pretty Little Things have enjoyed a successful year, with annual sales of £1 billion.
In banking, Sir Suma Chakrabarti (26) has been president of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, while at Barclays, Ashok Vaswani (24) has taken on a newly created role within the group as global head of consumer banking and payments.
Vis Raghavan (43), the CEO of JP Morgan (Europe), was pictured attending a breakfast meeting with Donald Trump when the US president visited the UK this year. His mission is to undo the tarnished reputation of the industry.
“For me, banking is the perfect marriage of quantitative skills and real-life business situations,” he said. “You’re at the cutting edge of strategic thinking, you are involved in projects that allow you access to the boardrooms of the largest companies in the world.”
British Asian influence is visible in the world of arts, social media, fashion, film and entertainment too.
Bakaya is the first BAME controller of BBC Radio 4, which draws 10-11 million listeners on average each week. Veteran commentator Yasmin Alibhai Brown said of the appointment: “Radio 4 wants more black and Asian listeners, which it singularly lacks. My view is that we need to look at this as a brilliant achievement, regardless of who he is.”
Steel Banglez (rank 60), a resident of Newham in east London, is the name behind chart-buster hip-hop and grime hits.
In the arts, the appointment of Madani Younis (77) as creative director of the South Bank after six years as artistic director and CEO of London’s Bush Theatre, has been noted as significant among culture vultures.
Diversity was at the heart of England’s win this summer and Asian player Adil Rashid (61) is being hailed as a role model for aspiring BAME cricketers.
As well as the launch of the GG2 Power List, the GG2 Leadership Awards will also honour top achievers from Britain’s ethnic minority communities. Earlier in the day, delegates at the GG2 Diversity Conference heard from influential speakers such as Neil Basu and mental health campaigner Poppy Jaman.
If you’d like a copy of the GG2 Power List, call 020 7928 1234 or email [email protected]
Full coverage of the GG2 Diversity Conference and the GG2 Leadership Awards will be in next week’s edition.