New Delhi: Rishi Sunak, Infosys founder Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law, was Thursday appointed Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position equivalent to a finance minister. The appointment was confirmed on 10 Downing Street’s Twitter handle.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) February 13, 2020
The 39-year-old was appointed after former finance minister Sajid Javid resigned the same day, which comes a month before he was supposed to present the annual budget.
According to reports, UK PM Boris Johnson wanted Javid to fire his entire team of advisers. Javid apparently refused and instead resigned.
Considered the quintessential overachiever, Sunak had a successful career in business before joining politics — he worked at Goldman Sachs, a hedge fund, and also co-founded a billion-pound global investment firm.
Overachieving student & banker
Sunak has often been called the ‘picture-perfect PIO’ (Person of Indian origin).
He was born in 1980 to a family which emigrated to West Africa from Punjab, and later to Britain. Sunak’s father was a general practitioner at the National Health Service and his mother a pharmacist.
The eldest of three children, Sunak went to Winchester College for his schooling where he was the first Indian-origin head boy. He next went to Oxford University where he studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He also went to Stanford for his MBA on a Fulbright Scholarship, where he met his wife Akshata Murthy. The couple have two daughters — Krishna and Anoushka.
His career began as an analyst at the investment bank Goldman Sachs. He then moved to The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI), a hedge fund, where he was made partner when he was just 26-years-old.
He later co-founded a large investment firm, working with companies from Silicon Valley to Bengaluru.
When Sunak was asked whether he would have fitted into the Murthy family if he wasn’t an overachiever, he replied, “Yes I would have, because that’s not what matters. The most important thing to my in-laws is — Is their daughter happy?”
The only thing the family is competitive about is cricket, he added.
Politics & religion
Sunak got in to politics by contesting the Richmond constituency in Yorkshire, previously held by William Hague, as a Conservative party candidate.
At the time, father-in-law Narayana Murthy said that he was positive that Sunak would do well as an MP. “I am very happy that Rishi has won convincingly in Richmond-Yorks with such a majority. He and Akshata worked very hard, beat the pavement and communicated his merit, integrity and his vision for his constituency,” Murthy said.
Sunak is also someone who has been very vocal about his religion and has always been open about being a Hindu. Though he considers himself thoroughly British, his culture and religion is Indian, he said.
In the 2016 referendum, Sunak voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) and even co-authored an article highlighting benefits of Brexit, talking about new trade deals, improving regulation and being free of the EU state aid rules.
In January 2018, he was appointed as the Minister for Local Government in the Theresa May government and in July 2019, was made the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Boris Johnson’s cabinet. Sunak took his oath as the member of parliament on the Bhagvad Gita.
Earlier in this year, he was called “the next prime minister” on the ConservativeHome website.
Disclosure: Co-founder of Infosys N.R. Narayana Murthy, Tata Group’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Managing Director Uday Kotak are among the distinguished founder-investors of ThePrint. Please click here for details on investors.
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