Karan Bilimoria
Lord Bilimoria

The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce that one of the country’s leading international entrepreneurs has been appointed as its new Chancellor reflecting the University’s position as a truly global institution that attracts the brightest and best from across the world.

Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea CBE, the India-born founder of Cobra Beer, will take up his post at an Installation Ceremony in July, making him the seventh University of Birmingham Chancellor.  He follows in the footsteps of Chancellors including the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain and the Right Honourable Anthony Eden, the Earl of Avon, and succeeds Sir Dominic Cadbury, who stepped down last December after 11 years in the role. 

Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Lord Bilimoria will be our new Chancellor.  He is a highly respected global businessman and Crossbench Peer with a clear passion for higher education and the value it brings to society and to the economy.  He not only encapsulates the University’s commitment to internationalisation but his appointment underlines further the importance we place on forging strong, mutually beneficial partnerships between business and higher education.”

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 post, Lord Bilimoria said: “I am honoured and humbled to have been asked to be Chancellor of this internationally renowned University with its vibrant, global community.  I am also delighted to have the opportunity to take on such a prominent role at the University where both my mother, my uncle and my maternal grandfather studied; the University which instilled the value of higher education in them, and in turn drove my own passion for learning and discovery.” 

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.

For more information please contact Deborah Walker on + 44 (0)121 414 9041 or +44 (0)7776 465138. Out of hours please call + 44 (0)7789 921165 or email pressoffice@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

  • Previous Chancellors of the University of Birmingham include: The Rt Hon Joseph Chamberlain, 1900-1914; The Rt Hon Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, 1918 -1944; The Rt Hon Anthony Eden,  the Earl of Avon, 1945-1973; Sir Peter Scott, 1973-1983; Sir Alex Jarratt, 1983-2002; and Sir Dominic Cadbury, 2002-2013
  • The formal responsibilities of the Chancellor are set out in the University’s Legislation. They chair the Annual Meeting of the University Court, preside at Degree Congregations and confers degrees of the University.
  • The University of Birmingham has been named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013/4. 
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries. 
  • The University is home to nearly 30,000 students. With more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK. 
  • The University plays an integral role in the economic, social and cultural growth of local and regional communities; working closely with businesses and organisations, employing approximately 6,000 staff and providing 10,000 graduates annually.