After taking office in October 2022, Rishi Sunak became the
United Kingdom's first prime minister of color.
Who Is Rishi Sunak?
Rishi Sunak was elected as a Conservative MP from Richmond
in 2015 after a successful early career in finance. Only five years later, he
was named Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he received praise for devising a
massive bailout package to assist struggling businesses and individuals in the
face of the spread of Covid-19. Sunak was unsuccessful in his initial bid for
the Conservative Party leadership, but he became the United Kingdom's first
prime minister of color when Liz Truss abruptly resigned in October 2022.
Rishi Sunak's Age
Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton, England on May 12,
Rishi Sunak's Parents and Nationality
Sunak's parents were born in East Africa to Indian-origin
families before moving to England in the 1960s. His father, Yashvir, joined the
National Health Service as a general practitioner, and his mother, Usha, ran a
Rishi Sunak's Early Years and Education
Sunak, the oldest of three children, developed an early
interest in cricket and a knack for business while working at the family
Despite the fact that an anticipated scholarship to
Winchester College did not materialize, Yashvir and Usha accepted the financial
burden of sending their son to the prestigious boarding school, with Sunak
contributing by working as a waiter during the holidays. He went on to become
Winchester's first "head boy" from an Indian background, editing the
school newspaper, The Wykehamist.
Sunak then enrolled at the University of Oxford's Lincoln
College, where he pursued a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He
was not active in the school's political circles, but instead became president
of the Oxford University Investment Society before graduating with honors in
Sunak later earned his MBA from Stanford University's
Graduate School of Business on a Fulbright scholarship.
Rishi Sunak's Financial Career
Sunak began his professional career as a junior analyst in
Goldman Sachs' London branch, where he specialized in American stocks in the
media and transportation sectors. Following his time at Stanford, he returned
to England to work as a partner at The Children's Investment Fund in the
thriving hedge fund industry (TCI).
Sunak returned to California in 2010 to work for a former
boss at the hedge fund ThÃ©lÃ¨me Partners after TCI splintered. From 2013 to
2015, he served as a director for his father-in-investment law's firm,
Sunak previously worked as a board member for a Boys &
Girls Club in California, as a governor of the East London Science School, and
as the director of the Policy Exchange's Black and Minority Ethnic (BME)
Rishi Sunak as a Member of Parliament
Sunak began his political career in 2015, when he ran
against long-serving Conservative MP William Hague in Richmond, North
Yorkshire. Despite concerns about how he would fare in the rural, mostly white
region, the newcomer won over residents and received more than half of the
Sunak rose quickly through the ranks, becoming a
parliamentary private secretary at the Department of Business, Energy, and
Industrial Strategy in June 2017 and then under secretary of state at the
Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government in January 2018. Along
the way, the inexperienced MP made a name for himself by opposing Prime
Minister David Cameron's decision to back Brexit.
Sunak was appointed chief secretary to the Treasury in July
2019 after supporting former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's leadership
campaign. He also stood in for Prime Minister Johnson during general election
debates later that year.
Rishi Sunak as a Chancellor of the Exchequer
Sunak became the second-youngest chancellor of the Exchequer
in February 2020, just seven months after joining the Treasury.
Sunak was initially tasked with meeting a tight budget
deadline, but quickly shifted his focus to emergency measures to support the
British economy amid the rapid spread of Covid-19. On March 17, he announced a
£350 billion business rescue package, which was quickly followed by pledges to
assist both furloughed workers and the self-employed.
While other initiatives, such as his "eat out to help
out" campaign, were largely ineffective, the chancellor's popularity
skyrocketed as a result of his demonstration of capable leadership and
willingness to defy Conservative convictions in order to continue financially
supporting struggling businesses and individuals.
Aside from pandemic management, Sunak will host the G7
Summit in June 2021 and will preside over the western powers' agreement to
establish a landmark global corporation tax. The following spring, he announced
that he had asked the Treasury to design a non-fungible token to support the
emerging cryptocurrency market (NFT).
Despite public embarrassment for violating lockdown rules,
Sunak used resentment over Johnson's scandal-plagued premiership to resign as
chancellor on July 5, 2022, triggering a wave of government resignations that
forced the prime minister to resign two days later.
Rishi Sunak as a Prime Minister
Sunak, one of 11 candidates who declared their intention to
succeed Johnson, slammed his opponents' "fairy tale" tax cuts. Sunak
emerged as an early favorite for the Conservative Party leadership as
Conservative MPs narrowed the field down to two, but he ultimately lost the final
round of voting to incumbent Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who became Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom on September 6, 2022.
Truss's premiership, however, crumbled beneath the financial
turmoil caused by her plan to cut taxes and freeze household energy bills. Truss
announced the end of her historically brief tenure as prime minister on October
20, 2022, after most of her economic proposals were overturned due to rising
Sunak became the only candidate to receive the necessary
support of 100 fellow MPs, allowing him to become the United Kingdom's first
prime minister of color on October 24, 2022.
In his acceptance speech, he stated, "When the
opportunity to serve presents itself, you cannot question the moment, only your
willingness." "So, I stand before you ready to lead our country into
the future, to prioritize your needs over politics, and to reach out and build
a government that embodies my party's best traditions. We can accomplish
incredible things if we work together."
Rishi Sunak's Wife and Family
Sunak met Akshata Murty, the daughter of Infosys founder N.
R. Narayana Murthy, while studying at Stanford. The couple had daughters
Krishna and Anoushka after their high-profile wedding in August 2009.
In April 2022, it was revealed that Akshata did not pay UK
taxes on her foreign earnings due to her "non-domicile" status. She
later renounced that position in order to avoid being a "distraction"
to her husband's political ambitions.
Rishi Sunak's Personal
Sunak, a devout Hindu, is well-known for taking his oath of
office on the Bhagavad Gita and publicly commemorating the Diwali festival.
Sunak became the richest prime minister in British history,
thanks in large part to his wife's family fortune, with a reported net worth of
£730 million as of May 2022. At the time, he owned a mansion in Kirby Sigston,
Yorkshire, two homes in west London, and a beach penthouse in Santa Monica,
Sunak, in addition to his stated interests in cricket,
football, and overall fitness, frequently mentions his love for Star Wars on
social media and reportedly owns a collection of lightsabers.