The First Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, last week attended a gala event, which unveiled the GG2 Power List celebrating the 101 most influential Asians living in the UK. London Mayor Sadiq Khan took the top spot for the second year in a row, ahead of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid MP and Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel MP, both of whom also maintain their positions at number 2 and 3 respectively. Rising film and television star, Riz Ahmed catapults into the number 4 position following his string of successes, but also recognising his strong commitment to improving diversity in the arts and media sector. Nobel Prize winner and President of the Royal Society Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, is at number 5 this year.
The Power List, now in its seventh year, the list honours some notable British Asians who hold power and influence not just in the UK, but also globally. This year’s list, compiled by Asian Media Group, sees some interesting new trends emerging, with a shift from the traditional male entrepreneurs and industrialists to increasing representation from politics, law and the arts, media and music sectors.
While there continues to be much debate around BAME representation in the boardroom, the Power List recognises a total of 21 individuals that sit at Board level in mainstream. national and international organisations, including: Baroness Shriti Vadera, Chairman of Santander Bank who jumps 25 places up this year’s list to the number 6 position; Ashok Vaswani, global head of retail and business banking at Barclays; Sir Suma Chakrabarti Chairman of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Sir Harpal Kumar CEO of Cancer Research UK amongst a host of others.
With the top three positions on the list are from the world of politics, there can be no doubt that the south Asian community plays a significant and essential role in forging the future of the country. This year’s list identifies a total of 14 individuals involved at various levels of government, including: Minister for Planning at DCLG, Alok Sharma MP and Lord Tariq Ahmad the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict and as Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, both of whom sit in the Top 10 of the Power List.
In a community where women have traditionally been seen to take a back seat, this year’s list shows that ‘sisters are definitely doing it for themselves’, with just over 25% of the list being female. The most influential south Asian woman is Priti Patel MP at number 3 on the list, followed by Santander boss Baroness Shriti Vadera at number 6; Baroness Shami Chakrabarti at 12; our favourite activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai at number 14 and the woman who baked her way into the hearts of the nation, Nadiya Hussain at number 16. This year’s highest new entry at number 26, is the activist and lobbyist Gina Miller (nee Singh), who in 2014, founded the female-focused investment brand MoneyShe.com as well as running the True and Fair Foundation, but shot to fame during the Brexit campaign.
The second biggest growth sector in terms of representation within the Power List is across the fields of the arts, film, TV, media and music. With Riz Ahmed flying the flag for the industry, former ‘Slumdog’ Dev Patel jumps an astonishing 61 places up the list to number 21, making him the highest climber this year. With a host of familiar faces and industry stalwarts such as Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhasker, Mishal Hussain, Krishna Gurumurthy and Gurinder Chadha firmly settled in the list as the torch-bearers of the industry, it is refreshing to see that their efforts are continuing to inspire new role models and influencers including the likes of former One Direction star Zayn Malik, music producer Naughty Boy and top model Neelam Gill.
As well as the media sector increasing its representation, this year’s list sees a total of 16 new entries that clearly shift the balance of power amongst the industry’s stalwarts. These new entries sit alongside well-known faces in the community who have made phenomenal contributions to their areas of expertise and include: actor Adeel Akhtar; High Court judge Anuja Dhir; artistic director of Tara Arts Jatinder Verma and CEO of Leicestershire County Cricket Club Wasim Khan.
There is no doubt that the success of the south Asian community has been inspired by the first generation of immigrants who left their home countries to build a better life. Their unrelenting commitment and ambition made them role models for 2nd and 3rd generation Asians, who are now breaking into new industries and using the power of social media to voice their opinions, share their stories and inspire future generations. This year’s list sees a total of 16 individuals aged between 20 and 40 featured on the list, including: former top spot holder Malala Yousafzai who at the age of 20 remains the youngest entry on the list; 29-year old virtual reality tech-preneur Herman Narula, whose company Improbable, received over $500 million investment from a Japanese bank and cricketer Moeen Ali.
About the Asian Media Group
With a 49-year heritage, Asian Media Group, is Britain’s biggest Asian Publishing House serving the Asian community in the UK since 1968. The company operates across three Continents: UK, USA and India, offering unrivalled expertise and understanding of the Asian community and partnering with organisations to successfully navigate them through markets to meet their primary objectives.
The Top 10 in this year’s GG2 Power List are:
- Sadiq Khan MP
- Sajid Javid MP
- Priti Patel MP
- Riz Ahmed
- Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
- Baroness Shriti Vadera
- Lakshmi and Aditya Mittal
- Alok Sharma MP
- SP & GP Hinduja
- Lord Tariq Ahmad