Tom Ilube

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Tom Ilube

Tom Ilube in 2016
Thomas Segun Ilube

July 1963 (age 60)
EducationTeddington School
Edo College
Alma materUniversity of Benin
Cass Business School
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur and educational philanthropist

Thomas Segun Ilube CBE (/ɪˈlb/ il-OO-bay;[1] born July 1963)[2] is a British entrepreneur and educational philanthropist and chair of the Rugby Football Union[3] making him the first black chair of a major sport in England.[4] He was ranked first in the Powerlist 2017, an annual listing of the UK's 100 most powerful people with African or Afro-Caribbean heritage.[5]

Early life[edit]

Ilube was educated at Teddington School, in Richmond-upon-Thames[6] and Edo College in Benin City, Nigeria, followed by a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Benin. He later received a master's degree in business administration from London's Cass Business School.[7]


Ilube was chief information officer (CIO) for the internet bank Egg.[5][8]

Ilube founded the Hammersmith Academy, a state secondary school in Hammersmith, west London, which opened in September 2011 and has become one of the UK's "most innovative technology schools".[5]

He created and launched Noddle, a credit reference service,[9] in his time as MD of consumer markets at CallCredit Information Group. In 2005 Ilube co-founded Garlik, the online identity company sold to Experian in 2011[10] He is the founder and CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity plc, which was admitted to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange in December 2018.[11]

Ilube was a non-executive director of the BBC, from April 2017,[12] stepping down in June 2021 to take up the role of chair of the Rugby Football Union (RFU),[13] and a non-executive director of FTSE100 company WPP plc,[14] the world’s largest advertising company[15] by revenue, effective October 2020.


Ilube is the chair and founder of the African Gifted Foundation,[16] a UK education charity focused on science and technology in Africa. They recently launched the African Science Academy, Africa's first all-girls science and maths academy.[17] He was chair of Ada, the National College for Digital Skills.[18] which opened in 2016 as the first brand new UK further education college in 23 years.[19]

Ilube provided the prize money for the Nommo Awards for African science fiction and speculative fiction, announced at the Ake Book Festival in 2016.[20]


He was the first recipient of the City Livery Club centenary "Root and Branch" Award in 2014, presented by The Princess Royal.[21] Ilube was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Wolverhampton in 2005.[22]

In October 2016, Ilube was named by Powerlist as the most influential black person in the UK after topping the annual list of the 100 most powerful people of African and African Caribbean heritage in Britain.[23]

Ilube received the 2017 Beacon Award for innovation in philanthropy.[24] and in the same year, New African magazine listed Ilube as one of Africa's most influential people.[25]

In 2018, Ilube was awarded an honorary doctorate by City University, London,[26] and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to Technology and Philanthropy.[27]

In 2018, Ilube was elected an advisory fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford,[28] and subsequently elected an honorary fellow in 2021.[29] In 2020 he was elected an honorary fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.[30] Ilube was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Benin in 2021,[31] the University of Portsmouth in 2022[32] and Coventry University in 2022.[33]

In October 2021, Ilube appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.[34]


  1. ^ "The Powerlist Interviews - Tom Ilube". YouTube. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Thomas Segun ILUBE". Companies House. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  3. ^ "RFU".
  4. ^ Jones, Chris (14 September 2021). "Tom Ilube: First black chairman of RFU hopes appointment inspires others".
  5. ^ a b c "Tom Ilube named the most powerful man in Britain". The Voice Online. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Entrepreneur and Philanthropist from Richmond receives award Christian Ilube Hampton School". This Is Local London. 27 November 2016.
  7. ^ Emmanuel Ogunsola (28 October 2016). "6 things you should know about Tom Ilube, Britain's most powerful black person". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  8. ^ Tom Ilube. "Tom Ilube: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  9. ^ Adams, Rachael (29 September 2011). "MM Profile: Tom Ilube - Money Marketing Money Marketing". Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Experian in deal for ID expert Garlik". The Independent. 24 December 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Crossword Cybersecurity shares start trading on AIM". Proactiveinvestors UK. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  12. ^ "BBC - BBC names Board appointments - Media Centre". 23 March 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Crossword Cybersecurity plc | Crossword CEO Tom Ilube CBE appointed as Chair of RFU". RealWire. 1 March 2021.
  14. ^ Stone, Amilia (5 October 2020). "WPP appoints Tom Ilube CBE as an independent Non-Executive Director". DirectorsTalk Interviews. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  15. ^ Sherman, Alex (24 August 2020). "'The worst is behind us,' says CEO of WPP, the world's largest advertising company". CNBC. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  16. ^ "African Science Academy | Africa's leading science and maths academy for girls". 7 August 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  17. ^ "Building Africa: Founder of Africa's first STEM school for girls named most influential black Briton - Innovation". (in German). 26 October 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  18. ^ "People - Ada. National College for Digital Skills". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  19. ^ Anna Davis (10 March 2016). "New college in north London 'will boost women in tech sector". Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  20. ^ "New awards for African authors - The Herald". 9 September 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  21. ^ "City Livery Club honours Cass alumnus". 7 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  22. ^ "2005 BCS Prize Winners | Project Prize Winners | BCS Wolverhampton Branch | UK Branches | Member groups | Membership | BCS - The Chartered Institute for IT". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Tom Ilube named the most powerful man in Britain". The Voice. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Beacon Awards 2017 honour exceptional UK philanthropists - UK Community Foundations". UK Community Foundations. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  25. ^ "New African Magazine announces its 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017". New African. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Tom Ilube receives honorary degree from City". City, University of London. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Birthday Honours 2018: the Prime Minister's list (CSV) - GOV.UK". Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  28. ^ "St Anne's College, Oxford > About the College > Emeritus, Honorary, & Supernumerary and Senior Research Fellows". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  29. ^ "St Anne's College Elects Three New Honorary Fellows: Tom Ilube CBE, Amanda Pritchard and Prof. Denis Feeney". St Anne's College, Oxford. 3 November 2021. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  30. ^ "Thomas Ilube". Jesus College. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  31. ^ "UNIBEN graduates 125 first class at combined convocation". Tribune Online. 27 November 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  32. ^ "Tom Ilube | University of Portsmouth Alumni". Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  33. ^ "Inspiring individuals set to be honoured by Coventry University". Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  34. ^ "Tom Ilube, entrepreneurs". Desert Island Discs. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 3 October 2021.