Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea CBE DL

Ambassador for Cambridge Judge Business School

Founder, Cobra Beer

Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership

Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. In the Monde Selection, one of the most prestigious quality awards in the world for beer, the Cobra range have collectively been awarded a total of 121 Gold and Grand Gold medals since 2001, making it one of the most awarded beers in the world.

Lord Karan Bilimoria of Chelsea.

Professional experience

Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. Karan was a former Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group now Tesco (2007-2016); he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; he is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. In 2008 he was awarded the Pravasi Bharti Samman by the President of India. He is an Honorary Fellow of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge and was Chair of the Advisory Board of the University of Cambridge Judge Business School from 2015-2020 and subsequently appointed as an Honorary Ambassador. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also an alumnus through executive education of the Cranfield School of Management, London Business School and Harvard Business School. In July 2014, he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain, and he is the President of the UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA). Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford. Lord Bilimoria is an Honorary Group Captain in 601 Squadron Royal Air Force. In June 2020, he was appointed President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

News and insights

Kamal Munir.

Dr Kamal Munir joins Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea and Julia Streets in a discussion on how to change the race ratio in financial services organisations.

Cambridge Judge Business School.

At Cambridge Judge Business School, we pride ourselves in our commitment to engaging with businesses, policy-makers and civil-society organisations. We believe that knowledge can be a powerful tool to help different players to improve their practices, policies and to develop their thinking. and, in this way, to generate positive social impact. But what does it mean "to engage" for a business school? And how can we keep on engaging as we all adapt to a life with physical distancing? Undoubtedly, many of our engagement practices have changed significantly in this period. But we would like to think that the creativity required to overcome current barriers to in-person physical engagement has actually improved and strengthened our connections to our community. At every level, Cambridge Judge people have committed to stay in touch with our key stakeholders and have come up with successful engagement initiatives. Here are just some examples of the many ways in which our faculty and research centres have been able to keep on engaging with students, alumni, and organisations, even as we have been working from home and adjusting to a new normal. Dr Simon Taylor, Faculty (Professor-level) in Management Practice (Finance) has published regular posts on his…

Figure walking towards a gap in a wall.

Universities will propel the country forward after the pandemic, says Lord Karan Bilimoria. The innovation and creativity of the United Kingdom as reflected in its universities will propel the country forward despite the current coronavirus pandemic, says Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer and Chair of the Advisory Board of Cambridge Judge Business School. In a video interview with Dean Christoph Loch, Lord Bilimoria said that while people are rightly focused now on healthcare and the economy, the UK is "still a phenomenon when it comes to innovation and creativity, and our universities are the jewels of our crown." "That's what's going to propel us forward and enable us to deal with this crisis," he says in the video, part of the "CJBS Perspectives: Leadership in Unprecedented Times" series of videos organised by the Alumni & External Engagement team and Executive Education teams at Cambridge Judge. "I'm very confident that as a country, with the strength of our universities, we'll be able to go forward and harness that strength of the United Kingdom. "Business schools are perfectly placed to help businesses across the board," he added. "In any business, you have to adapt or die, you have to be flexible, you have…

Media coverage

Financial Times | 16 June 2020

New CBI president calls for cut to social-distancing rules

An interview Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder and chairman of Cobra beer and Chairman of Advisory Board at Cambridge Judge Business School’s Advisory Board. Lord Bilimoria has just been appointed president of the CBI. Lord Bilimoria thinks the government should cut the minimum distance from two meters to one as the current requirement of two meters distance “will mean that most will not be able to open.”

The Telegraph India | 30 May 2020

Huge shift

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder of Cobra Beer and Chairman of the Advisory Board at Cambridge Judge Business, says virtual technology has become commonplace in business during the coronavirus pandemic. Lord Bilimoria recently spoke at the Advanced Strategy class of the Cambridge MBA programme, led by Dr Allègre Hadida of Cambridge Judge. Lord Bilimoria gave a talk and was answering questions via Zoom, and thinks the technology is here to stay: “It’s been tremendous, absolutely tremendous.”

Financial Times | 12 July 2019

New CBI head pledges to shift focus to smaller companies

An interview with Lord Karan Bilimoria, Founder of Cobra Beer and Chairman of the Advisory Board at Cambridge Judge Business School, who was recently named a vice-president of the Confederation of British Industry. Lord Bilimoria says the CBI “needs to champion smaller, more entrepreneurial companies to shake off a reputation as ‘the voice of big British business’”.

The Director, 7 January 2019
Why everyone’s talking about the pay gap

The Guardian, 7 February 2018
‘A strong brand will get you through a crisis’: Meet the Mentors with Cobra beer’s founder