The Powerlist 2023 honours Dame Sharon White as the UK’s most influential Black person in its annual list of the most influential movers and shakers in the business world.
Dame Sharon White, Chair of retail giant John Lewis, was ranked number one by an independent panel of judges and celebrated at the Powerlist Black Excellence Awards ceremony on 28 October at The Savoy hotel in London.
The Powerlist is open to Black Britons wherever they live in the world. Originally launched in 2007 to showcase Black role models to young people, today The Powerlist is regarded as ‘the leading authority on issues of Black influence’.
Previous Powerlist number ones include architect Sir David Adjaye; former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman OBE; President WPP UK and CEO, Group M UK, and Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, Karen Blackett OBE and seven-time Formula One World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton to name a few.
Joining Dame Sharon White on the Powerlist 2023 Top 10 are historian David Olusoga, Anne Mensah, VP of content at Netflix and Dean Forbes CEO of Forterro and Partner at Corten Capital. Other well-known names on the list include Stormzy, Idris Elba and broadcaster Charlene White.
“It is an incredible honour to have been chosen to receive this year’s Powerlist Award…”
This honour recognises Dame Sharon White’s impressive career, which sees her currently taking space as the first ever female chair of John Lewis. Since her appointment in 2020, in the wake of Covid-19, Dame Sharon has taken the retail company through a huge period of change which includes combining the management teams from the John Lewis and Waitrose chains.
Before joining John Lewis, she was previously chief executive at Ofcom, where from 2015 she managed the UK communications regulator through a period of similarly intense change.
Raised in Leyton, east London, Dame Sharon is a visiting fellow of Nuffield College, University of Oxford. She was awarded a Damehood in the 2020 New Year’s Honours, for public service.
“I applaud the great work she is doing.”
Commenting on receiving the award, Dame Sharon said: “It is an incredible honour to have been chosen to receive this year’s Powerlist Award – particularly given the outstanding contributions of the other nominees.
“My hope is that we can take the serendipity out of social mobility – everyone should have the chance to be who they want to be in life, with their background as a source of pride, not a disadvantage.”
Founder of The Powerlist and CEO of Powerful Media, Michael Eboda, had this to say about this year’s honourees.
“I would like to hugely congratulate each and every one on the list. Dame Sharon White totally deserves to be recognised as the UK’s most powerful Black Briton on the Powerlist 2023. She is an example of true excellence, and this is evident throughout her valuable input and work as chair of John Lewis and her academic and professional journey to date.
“She has been able to have a huge impact in one of the top retail companies in the UK which is truly remarkable. I applaud the great work she is doing.”
Who are the influential Black Britons honoured in Powerlist 2019?
The full Powerlist 2023 Top 10 is as follows:
- Dame Sharon White Chair, John Lewis Partnership
- Dean Forbes CEO, Forterro, Partner at Corten Capital
- Anne Mensah Vice-President of Content UK, Netflix
- Tunde Olanrewaju Senior Partner, McKinsey and Company
- Steven Bartlett Entrepreneur and Dragon, Dragon’s Den
- David Olusoga Historian; Joint Creative Director of Uplands Television Ltd
- Lord Simon Woolley Co-Founder/Director, Operation Black Vote & Principal, Homerton College, Cambridge University
- Paulette Simpson CBE Executive, Corporate Affairs and Public Policy, Jamaica National Bank; Executive Director, The Voice Media Group
- Richard Iferenta Partner, Vice Chair, KPMG
- Dr Sandie Okoro Group General Counsel, Standard Chartered Bank