Harpal Singh Kumar, 50, chief executive officer of Cancer Research UK, received a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his “influential” work in the annual New Year’s Honours list that also has other Indian origin individuals listed.
Kumar was born to Sikh parents in Pakistan who had to flee the country during partition and later shifted to Britain, where his father was employed sweeping factory floors, before eventually starting his own grocery store.
The citation accompanying his knighthood said that he “has been hugely influential in promoting research into the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and cancer care. CRUK’s income and research spend are at an all-time high. Under his leadership, it has been instrumental in pushing the Government to take further measures to reduce smoking and to ban sun-beds for under-18s. He also chaired the Independent Cancer Taskforce and authored the NHS Cancer Strategy Achieving World Class Cancer Outcomes. A Strategy for England 2015-20, published in July 2015”.
Mr. Kumar is a trustee of the Francis Crick Institute which is a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation. He graduated as a chemical Engineer then went on to work as a health care consultant with McKinsey in 1992 and went on to hold senior positions in the field.
Mr. Kumar leads this year’s honours list of Indian-origin names, covering entrepreneurship, financial services, and community service. The other prominent Indian-origin individuals honoured with civilian awards such as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) and Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) include Raminder Singh Ranger; chairman of Sun Mark Ltd., awarded for these services to business and community cohesion. The London-based Samir Desai has been honoured for services to financial services, while Raj Nayyar is included in the list for services to the tax policy. Kala Patel, managing director of Kiddycare Ltd. was awarded for services to childcare business. Other awardees include Prathibha Ramsingh (for services to job seekers and employer engagement in London), Gurmukh Singh of Khalsa Aid (community cohesion and charity), Meena Upadhyaya (medical genetics and the Welsh Asian community), Ayesha Hazarika, chief of staff to Labour party’s deputy leader (for political service), Jayshree Mehta, president, Bharat Hindu Samaj, the Hindu Temple and chair, Sangam Indian Women’s Association (for services to the community and community cohesion in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire).