A Nigerian, Tom Ilube, has been selected by Powerlist as the most powerful black man in the United Kingdom, UK. Ilube, who is also a British citizen, was unveiled by the publication which selects 100 of the most powerful people of African and African Caribbean heritage.An independent panel of judges led by a former High Court judge, Dame Linda Dobbs, and a publisher, Michael Eboda, recommended him, after which he was announced for the position.
Powerlist explained that competitors for the honour were judged on their “ability to change lives and alter events, as demonstrated over a protracted period of time and in a positive manner.”
The 53-year-old Ilube, who was born in Isleworth, west London, to a Nigerian father, schooled at the University of Benin, Edo State, where he bagged a B.Sc Physics. He later obtained an MBA at Cass Business School in London.
Several efforts made by him to get a job after graduation all ended in frustration. He was even rejected for a graduate trainee scheme at McDonald’s “for not being good enough.”
But he didn’t give up as he sent applications to every company whose name started with the letter A and was turned down again and again, so he started working through the Bs and ended up working for British Airways as a programmer. He later worked at the London Stock Exchange in the 1980s, where he was one of few black professionals. He was able to work his way to the top.
Ilube is renowned for his outstanding work in education. He founded Hammersmith Academy, which opened in September 2011 and has gone on to become one of the UK’s most innovative technology schools. As a philanthropist, he set up African Gifted Foundation, to help transform the lives of hundreds of children on the continent.
Speaking on his latest recognition, he said: “I’m incredibly proud of all of our Powerlistees this year and over the past 10 years in which we’ve published the magazine. Tom isn’t a household name, but quietly behind the scenes, he has had an incredible effect on the lives of so many people across the world.”
Ilube was the managing director at Callcredit Limited and Consumer Markets at Callcredit Information Group Limited. He also founded Garlik Ltd and served as its chief executive officer. Ilube co-founded Lost Wax in 1996 and served as its chief executive officer, where he took an active role in the business development.
He served as chief information officer of Egg plc. He has over 25 years of commercial systems delivery experience with a range of blue chip organizations, including Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, London Stock Exchange, British Airways and Cap Gemini. He served as Overall programme manager for the initial launch of Egg financial services.
The most powerful black man in the UK is a highly regarded board level adviser and inspirational speaker on e-commerce issues and technology trends.
He currently serves as a director of Crossword Cybersecurity Plc and Callcredit Limited.