June 11, 2024

Meet Tom Ilube, first black chairman of a major sport in UK

Meet Tom Ilube, first black chairman of a major sport in UK
By Efosa Taiwo

Tom Ilube is a British-Nigerian entrepreneur and educational philanthropist who has made history by becoming the first black chairman of a major sport in England.

In 2021, Ilube was appointed as the chairman of the Rugby Football Union (RFU), replacing Andy Cosslett at Twickenham, with the aim of overseeing the restoration of grassroots rugby.

Born in Surrey to an English mother and Nigerian father, Ilube started playing rugby at the age of 10 and has been involved in the sport ever since as a supporter and a parent.

Tom Ilube and Education

Ilube was educated at Teddington School, in Richmond-upon-Thames and Edo College in Benin City, Nigeria, followed by a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Benin. He later received a master’s degree in business administration from London’s Cass Business School.

Ilube’s commitment to education led him to found the Hammersmith Academy, a state secondary school in west London known for its innovative approach to technology education.

Ilube and Entrepreneurship

In the realm of entrepreneurship, Ilube has left an indelible mark. He founded Noddle, a credit reference service, during his tenure as Managing Director of Consumer Markets at CallCredit Information Group.

Additionally, he co-founded Garlik, an online identity protection company, which was later acquired by Experian in 2011.

Ilube and Cybersecurity

Ilube’s entrepreneurial prowess extends to the realm of cybersecurity, where he currently serves as the founder and CEO of Crossword Cybersecurity plc, a company listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.

A philiantropist

Beyond his corporate achievements, Ilube is deeply committed to philanthropy, particularly in the field of education. He established the African Gifted Foundation, dedicated to transforming the lives of children in Africa, and recently inaugurated the African Science Academy (ASA) in Ghana, the continent’s first science and technology school.


Ilube’s expertise in cybersecurity and his track record of founding successful tech companies further solidify his reputation as a trailblazer in both business and social impact. His dedication to education and empowerment serves as a beacon of inspiration for future generations.

In addition to his role at the RFU, Ilube has served as a non-executive director of the BBC and FTSE100 company WPP plc, underscoring his influence and leadership across diverse sectors.

His multifaceted career exemplifies a commitment to excellence, innovation, and social responsibility, making him a true icon in British sports leadership and beyond.

Vanguard News