Chuka Umunna is a strategic corporate advisor to companies on business-critical issues that impact on reputation and narrative – environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters in particular.
Chuka works with the leaderships of companies to build value in the long term for investors and shareholders, in addition to delivering for other stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and society as whole.
He joined the board of leading UK software company, Advanced, as a non-executive director in June 2020. Advanced is the UK’s third largest provider of business software and services with a £254m turnover, 19,000+ customers and 2,400+ employees.
Since May 2020 Chuka has worked as an advisor to Signal AI which provides Artificial Intelligence-powered solutions to business and professional services firms. It has raised over $49.5 million in investment from four funding rounds and has over 150 employees.
In February 2020 he joined fintech firm, Digital Identity Net, and is a non-executive director of its board. DIN is a UK-based company that provides consumers with a single gateway to the validated identity data held about them by their banks and other trusted custodians of transactional and behavioural data.
He is a regular contributor to Forbes, the business magazine, and has written for most of the major UK newspapers.
A solicitor by profession, Chuka received a degree in English Law and French Law having studied at the University of Manchester from 1997. Thereafter, from 2002 until 2010 he practiced as a corporate employment lawyer for international City law firm , Herbert Smith Freehills LLP and then in London’s West End. He helped clients with their most challenging contentious, transactional (M&A etc) and advisory matters. His clients were businesses, large and small, international and domestic. His work involved providing advice across employment and employment litigation, industrial relations, remuneration and incentives, superannuation and workplace health and safety.
Following his election to Parliament as the Member of Parliament for Streatham in May 2010, Chuka served first as Shadow Minister for Small Business in HM Official Opposition and then as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for four years from October 2011.
As Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills he was a leading advocate in parliament of the responsible capitalism agenda and how businesses can create shared value in society. He led the successful campaign against the takeover of AstraZenca by Pfizer to protect the UK’s science base. He instigated the establishment of the Small Business Saturday campaign in the UK in 2013, which is now into its sixth year. He also led trade delegations for business organisations to West Africa and China whilst in post.
He left the Shadow Cabinet in September 2015 and subsequently resigned the Labour whip to sit as an independent MP in February 2019 due to policy differences with the Labour leadership over Brexit, the economy, national security, and because of anti-Jewish racism in the party.
In June 2019 Chuka joined the Liberal Democrats and was immediately appointed to become the party’s Treasury and Business spokesperson, before being appointed in August 2019 as the party’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, also leading on international trade. In this role he was an advocate of the liberal, rules-based international order established in the wake of the Second World War.
He stood as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate in the Cities of London and Westminster in the 2019 General Election, in which he was endorsed by The Economist and The Observer newspapers and by people from across the political spectrum including the former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Michael Heseltine. Though he was not elected, whilst the Conservative MP lost 6.7% of their vote in the seat, he almost trebled the Lib Dem share of the vote increasing it by 19.6%.
Chuka served on the House of Commons Treasury (2010-11) and Home Affairs (2015-17) Select Committees, and chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on EU Relations (2017-19) and on Social Integration (2016-19) during his time in the House of Commons. He was appointed by the Home Secretary to the government’s Serious Violence Taskforce in 2018.
He was a leading figure in the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign during the 2016 EU referendum, and subsequently co-founded the People’s Vote campaign. He continues to be a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
He is a patron of Crystal Palace Football Club’s Palace for Life Foundation and is a Performing Rights Society Foundation Ambassador.