Story of Powerful British Finance Minister With Kenyan Roots

  • Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 3, 2021.
    Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 3, 2021.
    Reuters
  • Over the past days, pressure has mounted on British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to resign for attending parties during the recent lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The 57-year-old PM has been under pressure from the opposition as well as his own party, Conservative Party, ever since he acknowledged hosting and attending a party despite strict protocols laid out by the government to mitigate the effects of the virus.

    The name of Rishi Sunak, the British Finance Minister with Kenyan roots, has been tipped among the favorites to succeed Johnson.

    A file image of President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and British Prime Minister Borris Johnson.
    A file image of President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and British Prime Minister Borris Johnson.
    PSCU

    The 41-year-old is the son of a pharmacist mother and a father who worked as a General Practitioner (GP). His father was born in Kenya and his mother in Tanzania in the 1960s. They then migrated with their children to the UK.

    Sunak attended Winchester College - a boys public boarding school and later Lincoln College in Oxford where he pursued Philosophy, Politics and Economics. After graduating with a First Class, he joined Stanford University where he obtained an MBA. 

    He worked as an analyst for Goldman Sachs - an investment bank, from 2001 to 2004. He jumped ship and worked for hedge fund management firm, The Children's Investment Fund Management, where he became a partner in 2006.

    The politician left the company in 2006 to join a new hedge fund firm. At the time, he was also a director of investment firm, Catamaran Ventures.

    Sunak was selected to become a Member of Parliament for Yorkshire for the Conservative Party in 2015. He quickly rose the party ranks and was among the politicians to back the move for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

    He was elected with a majority of 19,550 votes. Further, he was re-elected as MP in the 2017 General Election with an increased popularity. He supported Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election and was a strong force during the campaign.

    Sunak was also re-elected in the 2019 General Election. 

    Though he keeps his family life private, Sunak is married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy. She owns Catamaran Ventures. The couple has two young daughters Krishna and Anoushka. 

    An image of Boris Johnson
    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at the Conservative Party's headquarters in central London on Tuesday 23rd July 2019.
    NPR