Kené Umeasiegbu, Campaigns Director at Tesco, has been named this year’s Business Person of the Year at the 2022 Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards).
Kené joined Tesco in 2013 and has led critical public and stakeholder engagement on health, climate and diet. His twenty-year career in sustainability spans not-for-profit, consulting and corporations across continents.
Kené, also a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was crowned at the ninth annual Black British Business Awards ceremony in central London on September 29. His advice on the night for young Black professionals wanting to succeed was, “it is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, that true discipline will help”.
He added: “We can always find stories of when things did not work, and we had negative experiences, but we can also find stories where we had peers, allies and sponsors supporting us. We need to tell more of those stories – that encourages the next generation more.”
The ninth annual BBBAwards Ceremony recognised the achievements of 36 Rising Stars and Senior Leaders across six industry sectors: Arts and Media, Consumer and Luxury, Entrepreneurs, Financial Services, Professional Services, and STEM. The recipients are professionals and business owners working to drive equitable change and champion Black excellence in business.
Sophie Chandauka MBE, Chair of the BBBAwards and Head of Americas Risk Management and Intelligence at Meta, said: “This group of BBBAwards finalists is extraordinary because of the pandemic, geo-political and socio-economic circumstances surrounding their accomplishments.
“We celebrate this breathtaking group of professionals and entrepreneurs who are competing on the global stage, representing the very best Britain has to offer. They remind us of the importance of self-belief despite the odds, the merit of striving for excellence, and the requirement of perseverance.
“We are also thrilled that, for the third year running, J.P. Morgan is Key Partner of the BBBAwards and will retain this role going into the BBBAwards’ 10th anniversary next year.”
Cecil Peters, EMEA Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Advancing Black Pathways at J.P. Morgan, said: “J.P. Morgan is proud of our long-standing association with the Black British Business Awards. We are continuously inspired by the stories that emerge during the process and the vision of entrepreneurs and professionals.
“The Awards shine a light on a remarkable group of people who are striving to innovate and drive meaningful change. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Kené Umeasiegbuand celebrate the success of all this year’s BBBAwards finalists.”
The Black British Business Awards also celebrated two individual honorary awards. The first award, Influencer of the Year, recognises a person of African or Caribbean heritage who has shaped British public opinion, industry, vocation or culture. The second, Ally of the Year Award, celebrates the work of senior Allies of the Black community who continue to strive for diversity and equality in business.
The Influencer of the Year Award went to Professor Shirley Thompson OBE, a renowned classical composer and musician. The Ally of the Year Award recipient was Brian Corr, Head of Market Intervention, Retail Banking Financial Conduct Authority.
The winners of the 2022 BBBAwards are as follows:
Black British Business Person of the Year
Kené Umeasiegbu, Campaigns Director, Tesco
Arts and Media Rising Star
Yinka Ilori, Founder and Creative Director, Yinka Ilori Studio
Arts and Media Senior Leader of the Year
Suzann McLean, CEO and Artistic Director, Theatre Peckham
Consumer and Luxury Rising Star
Prince Chakanyuka, E-commerce Customer Supply Chain Manager, P&G
Consumer and Luxury Senior Leader of the Year
Patrice Gordon, Director, Commercial Strategy Development, Virgin Atlantic
Entrepreneur Rising Star
Troy Johnson, Founder, Juici Jerk Ltd
Entrepreneur Senior Leader of the Year
Connie Barrett, Owner & Director, Kids in Charge
Financial Services Rising Star
Natalie Ojevah MBE, Eagle Labs Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Barclays
Financial Services Senior Leader of the Year
Sean Alleyne, Chief Operating Officer, Credit Suisse International
Professional Services Rising Star
Vincent Egunlae, Strategic Leadership Team, Assistant Manager, Grant Thornton UK LLP
Professional Services Senior Leader of the Year
John McCalla-Leacy, Partner & UK Head of ESG, KPMG UK
STEM Rising Star
Ivan Kayima, CEO, Spiela
STEM Senior Leader of the Year
Ike Olowoye, Senior Director, Late Oncology Global Portfolio and Project Management, AstraZeneca