The new British prime minister has some Bay Area roots, getting an MBA at Stanford in 2006 where he met wife Akshata Murthy, whose massive family fortune has the U.K. press dubbing him “Rishi Rich."
I will admit I did not ever know what Rishi Sunak even looked like, until he was elected prime minister of Britain on Monday. But Britain’s first person of color prime minister is now a person to know, and in getting to know him, the Chronicle finds that the new British prime minister got his master’s degree from Stanford, and has a few other Bay Area ties vis a vis his fantastically wealthy wife.
On this historic occasion, @RishiSunak, MBA ’06, will become the 57th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. We wish the new Prime Minister, and his wife Akshata Murthy, MBA ’06, the best of luck as they embark on this new chapter. https://t.co/t6onw9KVv4— Stanford Graduate School of Business (@StanfordGSB) October 24, 2022
The 42-year-old Sunak — the youngest British PM in 200 years and possibly the wealthiest — originally got his undergraduate degree at Oxford, but won a Fulbright scholarship to do his post-grad work at Stanford, where he earned his master’s of business administration (MBA) in 2006. He went on to become a hedge funder at Goldman Sachs, and was elected to Parliament in 2015, representing Yorkshire in the 650-member House of Commons until 2019. He then served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the equivalent of our Treasury Secretary, from 2020 to 2022.
But back to Stanford. While getting his master’s there, he met his now-wife Akshata Murthy. And she’s quite a catch, considering her father N.R. Narayana Murthy is the billionaire founder of Infosys, and has a net worth of about $4.5 billion. Per the Chronicle, “After graduating with a business degree alongside her husband in 2006, Akshata Murthy lived in San Francisco, working in marketing and finance, before dedicating herself to her fashion brand in late 2009.”
Rishi Sunak lists the 'history of coca cola' as one of his interests on his Stanford alumnus page pic.twitter.com/Xd1xqnsJ5x— insane moments in british politics (@PoliticsMoments) October 25, 2022
As CNN points out, Sunak and Murthy are wealthier than the Royal Family. The New York Times conservatively estimates the couple’s worth at “more than $800 million,” though Bloomberg has them as billionaires based on wife Murthy’ Infosys stock holdings. That stock earned the two a scandal thanks to a tax dodge she was using, by claiming “non-domicile status” in the U.K., which saved her millions in taxes every year. Sunak earned further embarrassment over his riches at a March “man of the people” photo-op where it was clear he did not know how to use his credit card to make a retail purchase.
Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty head the first billionaire family atop British politics https://t.co/kpYkLtA69L— Bloomberg Wealth (@wealth) October 25, 2022
That kind of thing will be a liability, as he’s expected to call for Britons to make austere, belt-tightening measures, while himself enjoying stratospheric wealth. Add to that how his software heiress wife dodged millions in taxes. So Sunak and Murthy will sort of be poster children for income inequality, which I guess is another way they will represent the Bay Area brand.
Image: LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak makes a statement after taking office outside Number 10 in Downing Street on October 25, 2022 in London, England. Rishi Sunak will take office as the UK's 57th Prime Minister today after he was appointed as Conservative leader yesterday. He was the only candidate to garner 100-plus votes from Conservative MPs in the contest for the top job. He said his aim was to unite his party and the country. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)