Jacky Wright and Marcus Rashford in Top 10 most powerful black Britons

Microsoft chief digital officer heads Powerlist 2022, with Netflix vice-president and Emmy and Oscar winners also named

Jacky Wright, the businesswoman named as the UK’s most influential black person, has called for “monumental shifts” to ensure Britain is a more equal place to live.

Wright, the London-born corporate vice-president and chief digital officer at Microsoft US, was given this year’s top spot on 14 October by the Powerlist 2022, the annual list of the UK’s most powerful people of African, African-Caribbean and African American heritage.

Marcus Rashford, the footballer and campaigner, came in second place while Anne Mensah, vice-president of Content UK at Netflix, was third. The Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya is a new entrant to the list, in fourth.

Steven Bartlett, 29, founder and former CEO of Social Chain and the newly named youngest ever panellist on the BBC show Dragons’ Den, is another new entrant. He is joined by the model and social activist Munroe Bergdorf, and Rob Pierre, CEO of the digital marketing consultancy Jellyfish.

Wright welcomed the accolade but said the UK had a long way to go before it could call itself an equal society. “I am proud to be in the company of these great leaders of African and African-Caribbean heritage, but I am reminded that we still have a very long way to go,” she said. “Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that we not only showcase role models, so future generations can envision who and what they can be but, more importantly, we need to make monumental shifts to create a more equitable society.”

Wright was selected by a panel of judges led by the retired high court judge Dame Linda Dobbs, who said Wright took the top spot for the “sheer scale of the work she is doing”.

Wright was born in London but has spent much of her career in the US. She previously held roles at BP and General Electric. In 2017 she became chief digital information officer at HM Revenue and Customs, before returning to Microsoft US in 2019.

As one of the most senior black leaders in the civil service, and HMRC’s disability champion, Wright campaigned for diversity in government, including race and disability.

The Powerlist was launched in 2007 to showcase black role models across industries including business, science, technology and the arts. Entrants are judged on their “ability to change lives and alter events, as demonstrated over a protracted period of time and in a positive manner”.

Michael Eboda, CEO of Powerful Media, said: “Jacky Wright is a true professional who is totally well deserved of being recognised as the UK’s most powerful black Briton on the Powerlist 2022.

The Powerlist 2022 Top 10:

1 Jacky Wright Chief digital officer and corporate vice-president of Microsoft US

2 Marcus Rashford English and Manchester United footballer, and campaigner against child poverty and racism.

3 Anne Mensah Vice-president of Content UK at Netflix. She previously worked at Sky UK and the BBC.

4 Daniel Kaluuya (new) Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor for portrayal of the Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.

5 Prof Kevin Fenton London regional director at Public Health England, who has played a key role highlighting Covid and inequality.

6 Steven Bartlett (new) Founder and former CEO of Social Chain; Dragon on Dragons’ Den. He founded his social media company at 21 and built it into a global business with $220m (£161m) annual revenue by the age of 27.

7 Michaela Coel Actor, writer and director who made history as the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special for her show I May Destroy You.

8 Lord Simon Woolley Co-founder and director of Operation Black Vote and principal of Homerton College at Cambridge University.

9 Richard Iferenta Partner at KPMG, where he is the head of financial services indirect tax practise.

10 Jacqueline McKenzie Human rights lawyer specialising in migration, asylum and refugee law. Currently a partner at Leigh Day Solicitors.


Aamna Mohdin

The GuardianTramp

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