Birkbeck University of London Notable Alumni

Birkbeck University of London Notable Alumni


  • Marian Bell CBE (MSc Economics, 1986): Former member of the Monetary Policy Committee
  • Nicholas Baldwin (MSc Economics, 1984): Former Chief Executive, PowerGen Plc
  • Steve Bundred (MSc Economics, 1984): Chief Executive, Audit Commission
  • Moorad Choudhry (PhD Management, 2008): Former Head of Treasury, Europe Arab Bank plc
  • Simon Morris (PhD History, 2005): Partner, CMS Cameron McKenna
  • Victor Ng (MSc Economics, 1978): Executive Chairman, London Asia Group
  • Sir Terence Heiser (BA English, 1958): Formerly Non-Executive Director of Abbey National Plc, Sainsbury’s Plc and Wessex Water Plc
  • Eric Salama (MSc Economics, 1986): Chairman and Chief Executive, the Kantar Group
  • Richard Sambrook (MSc Politics and Administration, 1984): Formerly Director of the BBC World, responsible for leading the BBC’s international news services across radio, television and new media
  • William Stanley (1829-1909) Student of technical drawing, engineering and phrenology at the London Mechanics’ Institution, later Birkbeck College: Victorian inventor, engineer and philanthropist
  • Dominic Swan (BSc Financial Economics, 1995): Managing Director Structured Investment Vehicles, HSBC
  • Seijiro Takeshita (PhD Management, 2007): Director, Mizuho International Plc
  • David Waller (MA Victorian Studies, 2004): Head of Media Relations, Man Group plc
  • Simon J Ward (MSc Finance, 1994): Chief Economist, Henderson Global Investors
  • Trevor Williams (Doctoral study, Development Studies): Chief Economist, Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets

Politics and government

  • Luciana Berger MP (Government, Policy and Politics, 2005): Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree since 2010
  • Stephen Bridges LVO (International Studies Diploma, 1996): Former Ambassador to Cambodia and Deputy High Commissioner to Bangladesh
  • David Crighton (MSc, Psychology): Deputy Chief Psychologist, Ministry of Justice
  • Mary Dalgleish (MSc Occupational Psychology, 1991): Chief Psychologist, Department of Employment
  • Ed Davey MP (MSc Economics, 1993): Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton 1997-present & Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs
  • Gloria de Piero MP (MSc Political & Social Theory, 2003): MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire since the 2010 General Election, journalist and television presenter
  • Samir El-Youssef (MA Philosophy, 2000): Writer, commentator and peace activist
  • Edward Glover CMG MVO (BA History, 1967; MPhil History, 1970): Former High Commissioner to Guyana and Ambassador to Suriname (1998-2002). Adviser on Foreign Affairs to Coalitional Provisional Authority, Iraq (2004)
  • Julia Goldsworthy (PG Certificate Economics with Mathematics, 2003): Liberal Democrat MP for Falmouth and Camborne from 2005-2010
  • Richard McKee (BA Classics, 1990): Senior Immigration Judge, Ministry of Justice
  • Denis MacShane MP (PhD International Business, 1990): Labour MP for Rotherham 1994-2012. Minister of State for Europe from 2002 – 2005
  • Leslie Morphy (MSc, Politics and Social Policy): Chief Executive, Crisis
  • Jenny Rowe (MSc Politics and Administration, 1984): Chief Executive, UK Supreme Court
  • Nick Smith MP (MSc Economic and Social Change, 1991): Labour politician, MP for Blaenau Gwent since May 2010
  • Sidney James Webb, 1st Baron Passfield (1859 –1947) Student of Law at Birkbeck: Socialist, economist, reformer, and husband of Beatrice Potter. He was one of the early members of the Fabian Society, helping turn it into the pre-eminent political-intellectual society of the day, and also founded the London School of Economics
  • Kitty Ussher (MSc Economics, 1998): Labour MP for Burnley 2005-2010. Government Minister 2007-2009. Currently Chief Economist at the Think Tank Demos
  • Sarah Weir (MA Computer Applications for History, 1999): Head of Arts and Cultural Strategy, Olympic Development Authority

Arts and media

  • Simon Bird (MA Cultural and Critical Studies, 2007): Actor, writer and stand up comedian best known for playing Will McKenzie in E4’s BAFTA winning comedy the Inbetweeners
  • Siobhan Butterworth (BA English, 2005): Former Legal Director, Guardian Newspapers Ltd
  • Alan Davey (MA Classical Civilisation, 1997): Chief Executive, Arts Council
  • Philippa Forrester (BSc Environmental Conservation, 1998): British television, radio presenter and producer, and author
  • Edward ‘Bear’ Grylls (BA Spanish and Latin American Studies, 2001): British adventurer, writer and television presenter who was one of the youngest people to scale Mount Everest at the age of 23
  • Nerina Pallot (BA English, 2009): Platinum-selling, BRIT Award-nominated singer and songwriter
  • Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934) Law alumnus: English actor and prominent dramatist and stage director
  • David Smith (MSc, Economics): Economics Editor of the Sunday Times
  • Ben Walters (MA History of Film and Visual Media, 2002): Critic of film, television and journalist


  • Felicia Adeyoyin (BA Hons English, 1968; Diploma Education, 1976): Professor at the University of Lagos
  • Patricia Brewerton (PhD English, 1998): Professor at Queen Mary, University of London
  • Moorad Choudhry (PhD Management, 2008): Professor and author. Former Head of Treasury at Europe Arab Bank
  • Alice Coleman (BA Geography, 1947): Emeritus Professor, Kings College, University of London
  • Alan Cork (MSc Entomology, 1987; PhD Entomology, 1990): Professor of Bio-Rational Pest Management at the University of Greenwich
  • Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll DBE FRSA (BA History and History of Art, 1976): Formerly Chancellor of the University of Lincoln, Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia and Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Frank Feates (BSc (Spec) Chemistry, 1954; PhD Chemistry, 1956): Professor and formerly Director of the Department of the Environment
  • Peter Gosden (PhD History, 1959): Former Professor of the History of Education, Leeds University
  • Kenneth Holmes (PhD Crystallography, 1959): During his studies Kenneth worked as a Research Assistant and Research Associate for the Department of Crystallography working on the structure of tobacco mosaic virus with Rosalind Franklin and Aaron Klug (officially supervised by JD Bernal)
  • Leonard Mandel (PhD Nuclear Physics, 1951): Physicist
  • Leslie Mayhew (BSc Geography, 1976; PhD Geography, 1979): Professor of Statistics at Cass Business School
  • Peter Mortimore (BSc Psychology, 1973): Former Director, Institute of Education
  • J Philippe Rushton (BSc Psychology, 1973): Psychology Professor at the University of Western Ontario, most widely known for his work on intelligence and racial differences
  • Bryan Sewell (PhD Crystallography, 1981): Professor at the University of Cape Town
  • Nicola Spence (MSc Microbiology, 1986): Chief Executive, Science City York
  • Jean Stubbs (PhD History, 1975): Professor of Caribbean Studies, London Metropolitan University
  • Peter Taylor-Gooby (MPhil Philosophy, 1969): Professor of Social Policy, University of Kent. Peter is also a Fellow of the British Academy and an Advisor to the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.
  • Jill Westerman CBE (MA English Literature and Language, 1982): Principal and Chief Executive of the Northern College for Residential Adult Education in South Yorkshire. Awarded a CBE in 2010 for services to adult learning.


  • Andy Saull (Currently BSc (Econ) Financial Economics): Saracens and England U21 Rugby Union player