Lord Karan Bilimoria, a native of Dehradun, has been appointed as the seventh chancellor of England’s prestigious University of Birmingham. He is the first incumbent of Indian origin to have been chosen for such a high-profile post in the United Kingdom.
Lord Karan Bilimoria (extreme left) with his family at their residence in Dehradun. (HT Photo)
Bilimoria is the elder son of Yasmin and late Lt. General FN Bilimoria. His mother and younger brother Nadir are prominent residents of Dehradun, and currently live in Vasant Vihar.
An official announcement by the Birmingham University stated that the appointment of Lord Bilimoria was reflective of the university’s position as a global educational institution. In a statement, professor David Eastwood, the university’s vice-chancellor, said, “We are absolutely delighted that Lord Bilimoria will be our new chancellor. He is a highly respected global businessman and crossbench peer with a clear passion for higher education and the value it brings to the society and to the economy. He not only encapsulates the university’s commitment to internationalization, but his appointment further underlines the importance we place on forging strong, mutually beneficial partnerships between business and higher education.”
Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea CBE follow in the footsteps of six celebrated predecessors, including Right Honourables Joseph Chamberlain and Anthony Eden and the Earl of Avon, and succeeds Sir Dominic Cadbury, who had stepped down last December after 11 years in service.
In his acceptance statement, Lord Bilimoria said, “I am honoured and humbled to have been asked to be chancellor of this university. I am also delighted to have the opportunity to take on such a prominent role at the university where my mother, uncle and grandfather had studied in. It was this university which instilled the value of higher education in them, and in turn drove my own passion for learning and discovery.”
Lord Bilimoria graduated from Osmania University in Hyderabad with a major in commerce in 1981 and moved to London where he qualified as a chartered accountant. He then went on to study law at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, graduating in 1988.
He is the founder of Cobra Beer as well as the founding chairman of UK-India Business Council. In 2004, he was appointed commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and entrepreneurship.
In 2006, he was appointed an independent crossbench peer in the House of Lords, and was made Baron Bilimoria of Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, making him the first-ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.