Shriti Vadera

Businesswoman and Chair of the Royal Shakespeare Company

Shriti Vadera grew up in Uganda before her family fled to India and later to the UK. She came to Somerville in in 1981 to study PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics).

After graduation, Vadera worked for investment bank UBS Warburg for over 14 years. Her work included advising governments of developing countries. From 1999 to 2006, she was on the Council of Economic Advisers at the UK Treasury. In 2007, Vadera was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for International Development in Gordon Brown’s government. She was created a life peer in 2007 as Baroness Vadera of Holland Park. She moved from International Development to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and in 2008 she also beame a Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office. From 2015 to 2020, Vadera was chairwoman of Santander, becoming the first woman to head a major British bank. In 2021, she was appointed Chair of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is the first woman and the first person of colour to chair the RSC. Vadera is an Honorary Fellow of Somerville.

Did you know? In 2018, in a conversation at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, Shriti Vadera said ‘I’m not a great fan of leaning in. You’ve got to own the talent you have… The single most important thing is to be comfortable with who you are and not have to be somebody else.’

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