Home Uncategorized Power List 100 Most Influential Black People in the UK (2020)

Power List 100 Most Influential Black People in the UK (2020)


First published 25th October, 2019

Powerlist 2020 is a list of the 100 most powerful people of African, African-Caribbean and African-American heritage in the UK. Information is gathered via nominations during 2019.

Grime artist Stormzy and the Duchess of Sussex were recently named among Britain’s most influential black people.

The 26-year-old rapper and Meghan, 38, join footballer Raheem Sterling on the Powerlist 2020, an annual list of the 100 most powerful people of African, African-Caribbean and African-American heritage in the UK.

Powerlist 2020 top ten

Ismail Ahmed – WorldRemit founder
Pat McGrath – Make-up artist
Michael Sherman – BT’s chief strategy and transformation officer
Jacky Wright – Microsoft’s chief digital officer
Stormzy – Grime artist
Edward Enninful – British Vogue editor-in-chief
Ebele Okobi – Facebook’s public policy director for Africa, the Middle East and Turkey
Paulette Rowe – Facebook’s global head of payments and financial services
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – artist

Ismail Ahmed

Topping the list this year is Ismail Ahmed, the founder of pioneering money transfer firm WorldRemit which he set up in 2010 using compensation from the United Nations for exposing alleged corruption.

WorldRemit is designed to help migrants send money back home to their families and friends. In 1988, Mr Ahmed left the autonomous region of Somaliland in Somalia at the start of the civil war in order to study in London.

As a student he picked strawberries to fund his education and sent some of the money back to relatives who were living in a refugee camp. He said: ‘It is a real privilege and honour to win this award.

‘When I was growing up in Somaliland, I saw how money sent back home by migrants could transform the lives of individuals and entire communities.

When asked about his business Ismail Ahmed said,

‘When I came to London to study and started to send money back home, I was frustrated by the inconvenience and cost of transferring money through traditional agents.

‘I was determined to find a better way and I set up WorldRemit in 2010 with the mission of making it easier and faster for migrants to send money home.’

Remittances are believed to make up a £545billion global market, according to the World Bank. WorldRemit currently has four million users sending money to 150 different countries.

Also on the list is Pat McGrath, who is widely viewed as the world’s most influential makeup artist after founding her eponymous cosmetics line Pat McGrath Labs which has grown into a billion-pound business.

New entrants on the Powerlist 2020 include model and activist Adwoa Aboah, Michael Sherman, chief strategy and transformation officer for BT, and Sterling, who has been outspoken on racism in the past year.

A panel chaired by retired High Court judge Dame Linda Dobbs selected the Powerlist 2020, designed to celebrate those at the top of a wide range of industries including business, science, technology and the arts.

Previous Powerlist number ones include political campaigner Gina Miller, architect Sir David Adjaye, Sir Damon Buffini, former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, philanthropist Mo Ibrahim, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, Baroness Scotland, Baroness Amos and Ric Lewis, founder and co-chair of Tristan Capital Partners.

Arts, Fashion & Design

· Adwoa Aboah Supermodel ACTIVIST and Founder, Gurls Talk

· Chi-Chi Nwanoku OBE Founder, Chineke! Foundation

· Duro Olowu Fashion Designer

· Dr Shirley J Thompson OBE Composer, Conductor & Reader in Music, University of Westminster

· Isaac Julien CBE Artist & Film-maker

· Lemn Sissay MBE Poet, Author, Broadcaster

· Matthew Morgan Founder, Afropunk Festival

· Valerie Brandes Founder & CEO, Jacaranda Books

Business, Corporate, Financiers & Entrepreneurs

· Alan Smith Global Head of Risk Strategy and Chief of Staff, Global Risk, HSBC

· Arunma Oteh Academic Scholar, University of Oxford, Former Treasurer and Vice President of the World Bank

· Bukola Adisa Head of Framework and Design, Barclays

· Camille Drummond Vice President, Global Business Services, BP

· Eric Collins CEO and Founding Member, Impact X Capital Partners

· Gary Stewart Director, Telefonica Open Future & Wayra UK

· Jason Black Co-founder of Crep Protect and Co-Owner of Crepe and Cones

· Lindelwe Lesley Ndlovu CEO, AXA Africa Specialty Risks, Lloyd’s of London

· Netsai Mangwende Head of Finance for Great Britain, Willis Towers Watson

· Pamela Hutchinson Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Bloomberg

· Patricia Lewis Managing Director & Head of European Loans and Special Situations Sales, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

· Sandra Wallace UK Managing Partner, DLA Piper

· Sharon White Chairman, John Lewis Partnership

· Tavaziva Madzinga CEO, Swiss Re (UK and Ireland)

· Tevin Tobun Founder and CEO, GV Group (Gate Ventures)

· Wol Kolade Managing Partner, Livingbridge

· Yvonne Ike Managing Director and Head of Sub Saharan Africa region, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Media, Publishing & Entertainment

· Ade Adepitan MBE TV presenter and Paralympic wheelchair basketball player

· Afua Hirsh Journalist, Author, Broadcaster

· Akala Educator, Rapper, Poet, Activist

· Anne Mensah Vice-president of Content UK, Netflix

· Amma Asante MBE Writer, Director

· Charlene White ITN News Anchor

· David Olusoga Historian; Joint Creative Director of Uplands Television Ltd

· Femi Oguns MBE Founder and CEO of Identity Theatre School

· Gary Younge Journalist; Author

· Idris Elba OBE Actor

· John Boyega Actor

· Kanya King CBE CEO/Founder, MOBO

· Lorna Clarke Head of Production, BBC (Radio 2 & 6music)

· Marcus Ryder Chief International Editor of China Global Television Network Digital

· Mo Abudu CEO/Executive Chair, Ebonylife TV

· Naomie Harris OBE Actor

· Paulette Simpson Executive, Corporate Affairs and Public Policy, Jamaica National Bank; Executive Director, The Voice Media Group

· Reggie Yates Broadcaster

· Reni Eddo-Lodge Journalist, Author

· Simon Frederick Artist, Photographer, Director

· Sir Lenny Henry Actor, Writer, Campaigner

· Vanessa Kingori MBE Publisher, British Vogue

· Yolisa Phahle CEO, General Entertainment, Naspers Ltd

Politics, Law & Religion

· Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE Peer, House of Lords; Policy Maker; Campaigner for Children’s Rights

· David Lammy MP Member of Parliament for Tottenham

· Dr Sandie Okoro Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, World Bank

· Grace Ononiwu CBE Chief Crown Prosecutor, West Midlands

· Joshua Siaw MBE Partner, White & Case

· Kathryn Nwajiaku Director, Development Results; Head of International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuild ing Secretariat, OECD

· Martin Forde QC Barrister

· Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons

· Segun Osuntokun Managing Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Public, Third Sector & Education

· Beverley De Gale & Orin Lewis Founders, ACLT

· Dr Cheron Byfield Governor and Founder of King Solomon International Business School and CEO Excell3

· Dr Dayo Olukoshi OBE Principal, Brampton Academy

· Dr Margaret Casely Hayford CBE Chair, Shakespeare’s Globe; Chancellor, Coventry University; Non-Executive Director, Co-op Group

· Marvin Rees Mayor of Bristol

· Meghan Duchess of Sussex Campaigner, Actress

· Nira Chamberlain Principal Consultant, Babcock International Group; Professional Mathematician

· Professor Funmi Olonisakin Vice-President and Vice-Principal International and Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at King’s College London

· Lord Woolley Co-founder/Director, Operation Black Vote

· Sonita Alleyne OBE Master, Jesus College, Cambridge

Science, Medicine & Engineering

· Dame Donna Kinnair CEO & General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

· Dr Emeka Okaro Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

· Dr Ian Nnatu Consultant Psychiatrist

· Dr Joy Odili Consultant Plastic Surgeon

· Dr Martin Griffiths Lead trauma surgeon, Royal London & Clinical Director for Violence Reduction, NHS

· Dr Samantha Tross Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

· Dr Sylvia Bartley Senior Global Director, Medtronic Philanthropy

· Prof. Laura Serrant OBE Head of Department and Professor of Community and Public Health Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University

· Prof. Jacqueline Dunkley Bent OBE Chief Midwifery Officer, NHS England


· Anthony Joshua OBE Boxer

· Dina Asher Smith British record-holding sprinter

· Eniola Aluko Footballer

· Lewis Hamilton MBE Formula 1 Champion

· Luol Deng Former NBA player

· Nicola Adams OBE Boxer

· Raheem Sterling Footballer


· Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE CEO and Co-Founder, STEMettes

· Baroness Oona King Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Snapchat

· Ian Greenstreet Founder and Chairman, Infinity Capital Partners; Member, Advisory Board, London Stock Ex- change

· Ije Nwokorie Senior Director, Apple

· Marieme Jamme CEO, SpotOne Global Solutions; Advisory Board Member, Data-Pop Alliance

· Martin Ijaha CBE Founder, Neyber

· Nneka Abulokwe OBE Founder and CEO, MicroMax Consulting