New Year’s honours for Shaw Trust Group Chairman
Ken Olisa, Shaw Trust Group’s Chairman, has been named a Knight Bachelor for services to business and philanthropy in this year’s New Year’s honours. Ken, who holds a number of roles alongside his work with Shaw Trust was awarded an OBE for his work with Thames Reach, a charity working to shelter and resettle the homeless in London, in 2010.
Many colleagues who heard Roy O’Shaughnessy speak at the recent roadshows, will know Ken grew up in a single-parent family achieving a place at Cambridge University where his books were stolen before term. One of Ken’s tutors helped him replace his losses and in turn Ken repaid his debt recently by donating £1 million to the university.
Ken’s knowledge and experience working for technology giants IBM and Wang before founding Interregnum, the technology merchant bank – and his willingness to speak his mind – makes him a much-demanded public speaker who believes successful commerce is the fuel of public service. A Freeman of the City of London; Ken is Deputy Master of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists; a Director of the Thomson Reuters Foundation; Chairman of Thames Reach; a Vice President of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT; a past member of the Government’s Women’s Enterprise Taskforce and was an inaugural Postal Services Commissioner from 2001 to 2004 and a member of IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standard Authority) until 2013. Ken was named 2009 Sunday Times UK Not for Profit Non Executive Director of the year and one of the Top 50 most influential people in UK IT in 2011.
Speaking to The Guardian about his knighthood, Ken commented: “I feel ecstatic followed by being humbled,” adding that the honour was “such an important statement about the country we live in, the way the country works and accessibility for everyone in the country.
“I landed in a place where people said those of single parentage, black people are disadvantaged, can’t get along, and people who are poor can’t get opportunities. I think it’s bunkum. I’ve devoted a lot of my life ... to what I call social inclusion, trying to help people who believe that kind of bunkum to realise it isn’t true.”
The Prospects Group joined the Shaw Trust Group in November 2017.