Lord Bilimoria installed as Chancellor of the University of Birmingham (July 2014)

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The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce that Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL, has been installed as the University’s seventh Chancellor.

The India-born founder of Cobra Beer was installed during an official ceremony held at the University on Thursday evening (17 July 2014). 

Lord Bilimoria follows a long line of distinguished University of Birmingham Chancellors who include the Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain, the Right Honorable Anthony Eden, Earl of Avon, and Sir Dominic Cadbury, who stepped down last December after 11 years in the role.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “I am delighted that Lord Bilimoria has agreed to become Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. He embodies the character, spirit, and ethos of the University. We know that, like those Chancellors before him, Lord Bilimoria will make a powerful and lasting contribution to this University. It is my very great pleasure to welcome him to our vibrant global community.”

The Chancellor acts as the ceremonial figurehead of the University and has an important ambassadorial role, working with the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor to raise the University’s profile and advance its interests nationally and internationally.

On accepting the role, Lord Bilimoria said: “The University of Birmingham is a wonderful institution with such an illustrious history dating back to its foundation by Joseph Chamberlain in 1900. It is also the University where my mother, my uncle and my maternal grandfather studied. I am delighted to have the opportunity to take on such a prominent role at the University that has not only been named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013–14, but is genuinely going from strength to strength. I believe that there is enormous potential in continuing to build mutually beneficial links between business, industry and the University. I am looking forward enormously to the role.”

Lord Bilimoria is already a member of the University of Birmingham Business School Advisory Board.

Lord Bilimoria received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India in 1981 and then moved to London where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant.  He then went on to read Law at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, graduating in 1988.

Lord Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited and of Molson Coors Cobra India, both joint ventures with the global brewing company, Molson Coors. He is also the founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council.  In 2004 he was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and entrepreneurship, and in 2006 he was appointed an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords and was made Baron Bilimoria of Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.  

In Parliament, Lord Bilimoria is active in a wide range of matters including commerce, entrepreneurship, education, diplomacy, minorities’ contributions, and academia. In his frequent speeches in the House, he has spoken of the need to reform immigration policy to allow the brightest and best to come to the United Kingdom to develop their skills and business plans. He has been acknowledged as an ambassador for Britain, India and the Parsi Community. In 2013, he established the Zoroastrian All-Party Parliamentary Group, which is intended to provide an official forum for parliamentarians to increase their awareness of this ancient religion.

An alumnus of Birmingham, Professor Pritam B. Sharma is the founder Vice Chancellor of Delhi Technological University, and Founder Vice Chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi Technology University, Bhopal. In 1978, Professor Sharma received a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Birmingham. Professor Sharma has made distinguished contributions in the areas of Green Energy Technologies and Knowledge and Innovation Management.