SAJID JAVID, the business secretary, has been unveiled as the most powerful Asian in Britain today as he tops the annual GG2 Power 101 for the second year running.
The former banker turned-politician, who only entered parliament five years ago as the Conservative MP for Bromsgrove, has proved himself to be one the most pivotal figures within the David Cameron-led Conservative Party.
Javid is a close confidante of the Chancellor of Exchequer, George Osborne and one of the architects of the Conservative’s resounding victory at the polls in May this year.
He was part of a handful of specially chosen cabinet ministers and special advisors who formed the core of Cameron’s successful election strategy team.
The son a bus driver who once lived in one of the country’s most notorious and deprived urban areas, Stapleton Road, beat off challenges from some of the country’s richest men – steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal – and fellow cabinet colleague and MP Priti Patel, the employment minister and the Hinduja family, widely reckoned to the be richest people in the UK today.
Javid and cabinet colleague Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Justice were among the guests at the 17th annual GG2 Leadership Awards in London on Wednesday (21).
A protégé of Osborne, Javid is now widely tipped to become the first ever chancellor from an Asian background, especially if his mentor, Osborne takes over the leadership of the Conservative Party ahead of the next election and wins at the polls in 2020.
In his previous career in the City, Javid was a managing director of Deutsche Bank and was at one time, the youngest vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank.
A panel of judges chose Javid to head the list, following his inspirational journey as someone from a working-class background who rose to the top of his game in finance before becoming a cabinet minister in April last year and Business Secretary after the May general election.
At the GG2 Leadership Awards last year, Cameron, who was the chief guest, said he would one day like to see a British Asian prime minister, hinting that Javid could potentially take the role.
Javid, a 45-year-old father of four, tops the fifth edition of the glossy list which was unveiled by Michael Gove, at the prestigious GG2 Leadership Awards which celebrate high achievers among Britain’s minority communities and are hosted by the Asian Media and Marketing Group, publishers of GG2 and Eastern Eye.
In second spot are the Hinduja brothers Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok, who have an estimated wealth of £15.5 billion according to the Asian Rich List and following them is Patel, MP for Witham, the prime minister’s diaspora champion, officially making her the most powerful Asian woman in Britain.
Steel tycoon Mittal and his wife Usha are among those in the top 10, alongside Ameet Gill, director of strategy, 10 Downing Street and Rakesh Kapoor, the India-born CEO of Reckitt Benckiser.
Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who has received a Nobel Prize for Chemistry, jumps an incredible 47 places to number five on the list. Earlier this year, Sir Venky, as he likes to be known, was elected president of the Royal Society, the first Indian to hold this post in 350 years. He will take charge of the prestigious post in December.
There is a second Nobel winner on the GG2 Power 101 - young activist Malala Yousafzai -who celebrates the launch of her forthcoming documentary He Named Me Malala next month and at just 18 years, is the youngest entry on the list.
London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan MP is also on the list representing the Labour Party in sixth position this year.
The younger generation are stepping out into new industries and making their mark with 15 individuals under the age of 35, including music moguls Zayn Malik, Naughty Boy and Anoushka Shankar as well as SNP MP Humza Yousaf, Labour MP Shabana Mahmood and sports stars Moeen Ali, Amir Khan and Neil Taylor.
The GG2 Power 101 includes 26 new entrants this year – from entrepreneurs and community leaders to musicians and those in the media.
Neelam Gill, 20, a new entry at number 87, has successfully turned heads on the catwalk as the first British Indian model to have been signed by a major fashion label,Burberry.
Film director Asif Kapadia and Channel 4’s new deputy news editor Shaminder Nahal also make the list alongside Lord Kamlesh Patel, one of the new heads of the ECB and a leading expert on drugs and mental health and Baroness Shriti Vadera who created history earlier this year, when she became the first woman to become chairman of a UK bank. Appointed to her role as chairman of Santander late last year, she formally eased into the chairman’s seat in March this year.
The glossy publication is a detailed analyses of Asian power in Britain. It surveys the depth and breadth of Asian influence in the country and profiles what are thought to be the 101 most influential Asians in the country.
AMG’s editor-in-chief Ramniklal Solanki CBE said the list was snapshot of the last 12 months.
“A list of this nature is not definitive or exhaustive – 101 is a snapshot and very time specific, looking at the last 12 months or so, and we order individuals according to their impact and influence in the last 12 months. There are some whose influence is always there, but fluctuates depending on their own circumstances and activities,” he said.
Both the GG2 Power 101 and the GG2 Leadership Awards aim to highlight and showcase ethnic talent and leadership within the UK. The gala ceremony attracted a diverse and powerful audience of high achievers, who showed their support for ethnic achievement in the UK.
Kalpesh Solanki, group managing editor of the AMG, said: “The GG2 Leadership Awards recognise & celebrate achievement of exceptional individuals who have excelled and broken through barriers. Their triumph through adversity makes them remarkable people who deserve to be recognised.”
For full coverage of the GG2 Leadership Awards, pick up your copy of next week’s Eastern Eye