British-born Nigerian Mr. Tom Ilube remains a personification of brilliance and excellence for many across and within Africa and for Nigerians particularly in the diaspora as a whole. Tom Ilube was educated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Uganda. He studied Applied Physics at the University of Benin, in Nigeria and moved on the obtained an MBA in Finance at Cass Business School, in London.
Mr. Tom Ilube is not only an advocate for educational brilliance but also a conveyor of good and best practices in view of overall business and personal progress, as reflected in all his works, personal, business and charity.
Tom is Chief Executive of Crossword Cybersecurity plc, a stock market quoted technology company. A tech transfer firm focused on cybersecurity. The company engages with universities to understand what cyber researches they are doing and then transfer it out of the university, turns it into a product, and take that product to market. The company’s focus is on growing, while working extensively with universities to create amazing products for markets and to align with the future generation with regards to what is going on in cyber. The company was created on a blank sheet of paper by Tom and now floats on the London Stock exchange, providing investors the chance to put their funds into it and hence creating opportunities for the company’s teams to realise the fruit of their innovative efforts.
The company’s team of expert cyber-security consultants leverage years of experience in national security, defence, and commercial cyber intelligence and operations. Their advice is always bespoke and tailored to your business needs and ambitions, providing a finely judged balance between security controls and enabling function for your information technology systems.
Previously Tom was the Managing Director of Callcredit Consumer Markets, a private equity-backed information business, and was also founder of Garlik, the online identity protection company with offices in London and New York. The company was also selected as a World Economic Forum, Davos 2008 Technology Pioneer.
According to various wiki inputs, he was the first recipient of the City Livery Club centenary “Root and Branch” Award in 2014, presented by The Princess Royal and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Wolverhampton.
In October 2016, The Nigerian Mr Tom Ilube was named by Powerlist as the most influential black person in the United Kingdom after topping the annual list of the 100 most powerful people of African and African Caribbean heritage in Britain. A recognition that goes beyond creditable outstanding measures. He also received the Beacon Award for innovation in philanthropy in 2017 and in the same year, The New African magazine listed Tom as one of Africa’s most influential people and was also sighted as the most powerful African in Britain by Voice Online.
In 2018, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by City University of London and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to Technology and Philanthropy. Mr Ilube was also elected an advisory fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford, and in 2020 an honorary fellow of Jesus College, Oxford.
As one of the non-exec directors on the BBC Board, Mr Ilube is responsible for upholding and protecting the independence of the BBC by acting in the public interest and exercising independent judgment. He is also responsible for ensuring that the BBC fulfills its mission to inform, educate and entertain and promotes its public purposes and helps ensure that the Board’s decision-making is in the public interest, informed by the best interests of the audience and with appropriate regard to the impact of decisions on the wider media market in the UK. Non-executive directors play a key role in ensuring that the BBC maintains the highest standards of corporate governance, particularly with respect to financial reporting, internal control, and risk management.
When interviewed by saxbam.com Mr Ilube gave a brilliant candid response to Africa and the current position in view of progress
In 2016 you set up the African Science Academy in Ghana. Can you share your aspirations in establishing this?
“I was born and brought up in London. My father being a Nigerian and my mother English. Whilst most of my upbringing was in England, I did move to Uganda for three years with my parents when I was eight. I came back to the UK and then moved again, aged 14, to live with my father in Nigeria to complete my education.
With the first 20 years of my career focused in London, I started to think about what I could do from a charitable perspective and specifically in Africa. What I was particularly interested in was really, seriously bright people who happen to have been born in a village or township and what happens to them.
I founded and set up the African Gifted Foundation to look for exceptionally gifted young people from across Africa and bring them into educational environments where that intellectual ability and knowledge could be leveraged.
This led to the establishment of a unique and interesting school called the African Science Academy, which we decided for various reasons to base in Ghana. We chose for this to be specifically for girls who are passionate about maths, engineering and physics, are exceptionally bright and come from very disadvantaged backgrounds. We bring them into school after their GCSEs (or equivalent) and they come and do their A-levels at our school. Because they are exceptionally bright, they are able to do them in 12 months.
Last year, 90 percent of the girls attending the school received fully-funded scholarships at universities across Africa, in the UK, and the US. It is hard work, but I would say that amongst all the varied things I have undertaken through my life this is the one thing that makes me really feel that what we have done is pretty good”.
You are a founder of the Nommo Awards for African Speculative Fiction. Why is it particularly important from your perspective to encourage and celebrate this particular literary approach in today’s society?
“To give you a bit of background, a few years ago I was asked if I wanted to create a coat of arms in the City of London. At the bottom of the coat of arms there is a motto underneath that you have to choose. It really got me thinking as these coats of arms will be around for many hundreds of years.
My brother and I were doing it together and we went back to an African proverb which said: ‘Until lions have their own story tellers, tales of the hunt will always favour the hunter’. It is my favourite proverb and particularly the imagery it conjures up. We distilled that down to a motto of: ‘Tell your story’ or ‘Indica tua fabula’ in Latin for the coat of arms.
There were two exhortations in that choice. Firstly, if you are going to tell your story, then make sure you live a life worth telling stories about. And secondly, if you do something worth telling stories about then make sure you tell your story because it really matters.
From that I started thinking about the future and story of Africa, which today is almost always told from that of a negative or victim perspective, for example with natural disasters, corruption or famine.
That story gets told a lot. I really believe that Africa needs to tell its own stories, about its future, about what Africa will be like in 50 or 100 years’ time. What it could be like when artificial intelligence is driving its economy, or what it will be like when it has solved some of the huge disease challenges and exported those solutions and cures all over the world.
I wanted to do something that would encourage African writers and authors to tell their stories. It was out of that belief and wish that the Nommo Awards were born to encourage writers of science fiction and African fiction to write more of their own stories about the nation”.
Many individuals who have been rightfully recognised for their values and service to our country while living abroad are normally categorized by their ability to give back to humanity and also buy their mentoring prowess and business agility in view of responding to change. Mr. Thomas Ilube falls into this category and practically leads the pack when it comes to his overall services and works he has engaged on, chaired, and managed for Africa, Nigeria, and our overall diaspora consciousness.
Tom has a huge passion for science and has been an innovator in the technology industry for over 20 years and he is constantly pushing these technological innovative boundaries in view of making cyber a safer and better environment for online functions for the world. Tom once said, “The Giants we are searching for are the brilliant young female scientists hidden away amongst the billion people on the African continent”.