The names of the UK’s 100 most powerful people of African and Caribbean heritage are unveiled today in the second annual edition of The Powerlist: Britain’s 100 Most Influential Black People. 

The list – compiled by a high-powered panel chaired by the British High Commissioner to Australia, Baroness Amos – smashes stereotypes by featuring business leaders, entrepreneurs and people from the arts, media, science and engineering, most of whom the average person in Britain will probably never have heard of, yet all of whom are leaders in their field.

Only one footballer appears on the list: Chris Powell: Chair of the Professional Footballers’ Association, and no-one from the world of entertainment gets a look-in.

Instead, engineers, investment bankers, lawyers, entrepreneurs and even a space scientist feature in the high-class, glossy publication.

Baroness Scotland

Baroness Scotland

Baroness Scotland, the UK’s first female Attorney General, tops the list; in second place is Tidjane Thiam, who earlier this year was named the first black CEO of a FTSE 100 company, when he was appointed boss of Prudential.

Tidjane Thiam

Tidjane Thiam

Self-made billionaire Dr Mo Ibrahim, founder of Celtel International and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, is in third place, while Damon Buffini, the multimillionaire chairman of one of Europe’s biggest private equity firms, Permira, is at number four.


Dr Mo Ibrahim

Baroness Scotland is joined by three other women in the top 10: Claire Ighodaro, an independent director and trustee who chairs the audit committees of some of the UK’s most prestigious organisations, including Lloyd’s of London and the Banking Code Standards Board (No7); Vivian Hunt, a director with leading management consulting firm McKinsey & Co (No8); and Tsega Gebreyes, CEO of investment firm Satya Capital Ltd, which specialises in sub-Saharan Africa (No10).

CEO of Restoration Partners and non-executive director of Thomson Reuters Ken Olisa, one of the world’s leading corporate lawyers, Trevor Faure, and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, rounds up the top 10 at numbers 5, 6 and 10 respectively.

The Powerlist is published by Powerful Media in partnership with, for the second year, investment bank JP Morgan; joining them this year is media sponsor Thomson Reuters. Playwright/actor/broadcaster Kwame Kwei-Armah, physical oil trader Michael Prest, JPMorgan managing director Carol Lake and executive headhunter Annmarie Dixon-Barrow make up the rest of the selection panel.

The CEO of Powerful Media Ltd, Michael Eboda, said: ‘The Powerlist offers a view of black British society that few are aware exists. People often ask whether we could have a Barack Obama, the answer is, if we did, that person would probably come from the Powerlist.

‘It is often said that there is a lack of black role models, the Powerlist shows this to be patently untrue. It’s a publication that should be made available to as many young people as possible because it is really important for them to see people like them, from backgrounds similar to theirs who have achieved at the highest level.’

This year the Powerlist is accompanied by a brand new supplement titled Future Leaders, which celebrates 30 of the UK’s most outstanding black students, listing both their academic and personal achievements. A select panel of judges, which included minister for higher education David Lammy, voted for the 30.

The Powerlist is available in high quality glossy magazine format (priced at £6.95) and as a downloadable ezine (£3.99) only from www.powerful-media.com or by ringing the sales hotline on 0207 868 1470.

The Top 10

1 Baroness Scotland, Attorney General

2. Tidjane Thiam, CEO Prudential

3. Dr Mo Ibrahim, Founder Mo Ibrahim Foundation

4. Damon Buffini, Chairman, Permira

5. Ken Olisa, Chair, Restoration Partners, Non-exec director, Thomson Reuters and ENRC

6. Trevor Faure, Global Head of Legal, Ernst&Young

7. Claire Ighodaro, Independent director

8. Vivian Hunt, Director McKinsey and Co

9. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

10. Tsega Gebreyes, Chair, Satya Capital

Mad News congratulates all those who made the list.

This should hopefully send out a message that to become successful we as a people can do more than just run, kick a ball, sing, rap and dance.

5 replies »

  1. congrats 4 a job well done i didnt know such black poweful people existed in the uk thought u culd only find them in America.pls can make a big banner of there images or hand bills and share around black neigbourhoods in south london.I think it will serve as an inpiration for youths intangled in the life of crime.

  2. It is great to observe the changing face of UK’s black communities. This will break down mental barriers for black youths, providing them with that hope that we all try to instill in them but was just not visual to them. Now when they are lectured about black achievers it will not be from a foreign land that they cannot directly identify with but from the UK itself. Well done to you all and I know from experience that the road to success is not an easy one; however you have been triumphant. CONGRATULATIONS!

  3. Hi just when I began to think my Education counted for nothing! Here you are reminding me, and others how strong, faithful and couragous we must be to achieve; what we Believe!!

    Thank you. I LOVE IT

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September 2009
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