We’re delighted to announce that Wol Kolade has been bestowed with the Commander of the Order of the British Empire honour in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for services to Financial Services.
Published in The Gazette, the official newspaper of the Crown, the list recognises the lifetime achievements and service of people across the UK, from all walks of life. Special attention has this year been given to those contributing to the recovery of the UK as it heals from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wol has been deeply involved in the financial services sector and private equity specifically for nearly three decades and is a vocal advocate of the industry. He assumed the role of Managing Partner at Livingbridge in 1998, building it from the ground up, and has been involved with the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) for 10 years, serving as Chairman between 2007/2008.
With SME growth vital to the UK’s economic stability and prosperity, private equity firms such as Livingbridge have played and will continue to play a vital role in the country’s recovery – creating wealth, jobs and giving back to the communities in which they operate.
Despite the tremendous challenges, Livingbridge continued to support the UK’s SMEs over 2020, completing seven realisations and eight new investments, facilitating 36 senior additions at portfolio companies, and investing a total of £292m across its assets.
An active philanthropist, Wol’s activities extend past the private equity sphere, where he gives back to the community by being involved in various government, education and charitable organisations.
He received an MBA from the University of Exeter’s Business School where he was made Honorary Graduate in 2013 and has since fostered his deep-rooted interest in education by sitting on the boards of several schools and universities. As well as serving as Governor for the Forest School in Essex, Wol has also been Governor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and is currently a member of the University of Exeter Business School’s Board of Advisors.
He also has a keen interest in healthcare, becoming personally involved in the foundation for 12 years ago when he was appointed Trustee of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation and where he has served as Chairman since 2015. Since his involvement, the Foundation has grown from circa £250m to £1bn and cemented its position as the leading healthcare foundation in the UK.
Wol is also on the board of NHS England & Improvement as a Non-Executive Director, working to strengthen it for the future whilst helping it to meet the short-term challenges engendered by the Covid.
Other work undertaken by Wol includes sitting on the advisory council of Level20, a not-for-profit organisation working to improve gender diversity in the private equity industry; serving as Board Trustee of the Somerset House Trust; and playing a central role in the development of one of the UK’s most impactful and fast-growing anti-discrimination campaigns – the 10,000 Black Interns initiative.
“It is a tremendous privilege to receive this honour from the Queen”, Wol commented. “I am incredibly grateful to all the talented, committed people who have worked and still work so tirelessly with me to make a difference, and I share this achievement with them. Without their support, none of what we have achieved would have been possible.”