Who Is Rishi Sunak, The New Chancellor Taking Over From Sajid Javid?

Sunak takes the helm at the Treasury after Javid’s shock resignation from Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

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Sajid Javid’s shock resignation as chancellor left Boris Johnson a huge gap he needed to fill fast or risk a sense of chaos enveloping the government.

And he wasted no time in turning to Javid’s 39-year-old deputy Rishi Sunak, capping a meteoric rise for the softly spoken and highly intelligent former chief secretary to the Treasury.

Like Javid, Britain’s first chancellor from a Muslim background, Sunak’s appointment breaks boundaries as he becomes the first Hindu to take charge at the Treasury.

A former banker, Sunak entered parliament less than five years ago, stepping into the considerable hole left by William Hague in Richmond, North Yorkshire, and taking his oath in the Commons on the Bhagavad Gita.

He was a Leaver but largely kept a low profile during the 2016 referendum – an approach he replicated on the backbenches and in an 18-month stint as a junior local government minister.

But long earmarked as a rising star, there were few surprises when Johnson catapulted him to the cabinet as chief secretary to the Treasury on taking office as PM in July 2019.

Sunak was soon thrust into the limelight, gaining No.10′s confidence with solid performances filling in for Johnson in election TV debates and defending the Tories in media interviews. He did, however, admit that a doctored video of Keir Starmer tweeted by the party – showing the shadow Brexit secretary apparently unable to answer a question that he had, in fact, answered – had taken things “a bit too far”.

Rishi Sunak arrives at Downing Street on cabinet reshuffle day
Rishi Sunak arrives at Downing Street on cabinet reshuffle day

Sunak is married to Akshata Murthy, the daughter of billionaire Indian outsourcing mogul Narayana Murthy.

The pair met while Sunak was studying for an MBA as a Fulbright scholar at Stanford University in the US, and they now have two daughters – Krishna and Anoushka.

Sunak is the son of second generation British Indian parents – his father was a GP and his mother a pharmacist. Sunak credits his parents for helping him enjoy a stellar education.

Born in Southampton, he was head boy at the private Winchester College before getting a first in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.

After graduating, he went to Stanford and then worked at investment bank Goldman Sachs, before becoming a partner at hedge fund managers The Children’s Investment Fund.

He left to co-found Theleme Partners, a hedge fund that worked with companies from Silicon Valley to Bangalore as well as helping small British businesses.

He was selected as the candidate for the Tory safe seat Richmond in October 2014 and was elected in the following May’s general election.

“In my spare time I enjoy keeping fit, cricket, football and movies,” Sunak writes on his website.

With the budget less than a month away, there will not be much time for that.


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