The Chancellor acts as the ceremonial figurehead of the University, with formal responsibilities that are set out in the University’s Legislation. The Chancellor chairs the Annual Meeting of the University Court, presides at Degree Congregations and confers degrees of the University.
The Chancellor also has an important ambassadorial role for the University, working with the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor to represent the University in the external community. The Chancellor is an advocate of the University working to raise the University’s profile and advance its interests nationally and internationally.
Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea CBE, DL
Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, CBE, DL was installed as the University’s seventh Chancellor on 17 July 2014. He 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. Lord Bilimoria is also the founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council and was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2004 for services to business and entrepreneurship. He was appointed an Independent Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords in 2006 and was made Baron Bilimoria of Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords.
The University has had seven Chancellors since it received its Royal Charter in 1900:
Sir Dominic Cadbury (2002 - 2013)
Sir Dominic was made Chancellor of the University on 2 May 2002. He is currently a Senior Adviser to the Financial Services Authority. He was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 1997. He was Chairman of Cadbury Schweppes where he spent his career. For six years he was Chairman of the Wellcome Trust, and he was also Chairman of The Economist and of Misys plc. He has been involved in many aspects of education through the CBI where he was Chairman of its Education & Training Committee and was Deputy Chairman of the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority. He is Vice-President of Edgbaston High School for Girls; he was a Fellow of Eton College and a Trustee of the Teaching Awards Trust which honours outstanding teachers at an annual “Oscar” ceremony shown every year on BBC TV.
Sir Alex Jarratt (1983 - 2002)
He is a businessman and former senior civil servant. As Chancellor of the University he chaired a Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals studying higher education policy; the committee's influential report became known as the Jarratt Report.
Sir Peter Scott (1973 - 1983)
He was an ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer and sportsman. Scott was knighted in 1973 for his contribution to the conservation of wild animals. He had been a founder of the World Wildlife Fund.
The Rt Hon Anthony Eden, Earl of Avon (1945 - 1973)
He was a Conservative politician, and Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957. He was also Foreign Secretary for three periods between 1935 and 1955, including during the Second World War.
The Rt Hon Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood (1918 - 1944)
Lord Robert's career brought him many honours. He was created first Viscount of Chelwood in 1923, was elected Chancellor of Birmingham University (1918-1944), and was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937.
The Rt Hon Joseph Chamberlain (1900 - 1914)
He was one of the main proponents of the founding of the University of Birmingham and was its first Chancellor. His papers can be found in the Cadbury Research Library. He is also commemorated by a memorial in Chamberlain Square in central Birmingham.