The Chancellor

Chancellor, Rt. Hon Professor Lord Ajay Kakkar KBE PC

The Rt. Hon Professor Lord Ajay Kakkar KBE PC, the distinguished surgeon, scientist, and crossbench member of the House of Lords, was installed as Chancellor of the 51app in September 2023, replacing Lord Victor Adebowale CBE who held the role for almost 15 years. 

Lord Kakkar is Emeritus Professor of Surgery at University College London and an independent crossbench member of the House of Lords, having been created a life peer in 2010. He is Chairman of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre. He was appointed as Chairman of the House of Lords Appointments Commission from 2013 to 2018 and, at the same time, was UK Business Ambassador for Healthcare and Life Sciences. From 2016 to 2022 he served as Chair of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Lord Kakkar completed his medical degree at King’s College London and received his PhD from Imperial College London and has been a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons since 1992.    

In 2008 he was appointed Director of the Thrombosis Research Institute in London. His research interests include prevention and treatment of venous and arterial thromboembolic disease, and cancer-associated thrombosis; and development of novel anticoagulant drugs.

He served as Chairman of UCLPartners Academic Health Science Partnership between 2014 – 2021.

In 2020 he became Chairman of The King’s Fund, and Chairman of the board of trustees of UK Biobank. He was appointed Chairman of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research in 2021 and was recently appointed as Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. 

Pro Chancellors

The Chancellor is assisted in his ceremonial duties by two Pro Chancellors, Ms Diane Lees CBE, and the immediate past Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Haydn Biddle, who preside over the University’s graduation ceremonies. 

Ms Diane Lees CBE is the current Chair of the Board of Governors. She is Director-General of Imperial War Museums and is a Trustee of 14-18NOW, the Centenary’s Cultural Programme, as well as acting as a Trustee of the IWM Development Trust, the Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Trust, and the Army Museums Ogilby Trust. She is a member of the Women Leaders in Museums Network (WLMN), and also serves as Vice President of the American Air Museum in Britain.

Mr Haydn Biddle chaired the University governing body from 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2018. He is currently Chairman of George Bateman & Son Ltd, brewers and retailers, having previously been Chief Executive.