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“The test of leadership is in the bad times” Lord Bilimoria, President, CBI; Founder and Chairman, Cobra Beer

About This Episode

Joining Michael for this episode of Change Makers is the next President of the CBI, Lord Bilimoria. In this interview, the Cobra Beer founder talks about his experience having and beating COVID-19, the phenomenal response of communities in supporting one another during lockdown, and striking the right balance between the health of people and the health of the economy.

Lord Bilimoria CBE DL

In parliament he’s a peer of the realm, in business he provides beer for the nation, Lord Bilimoria is the founder of one the UK’s most iconic brands, Cobra Beer. The Cobra taste is described as impossibly smooth, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better description for its founder. As a campaigning member of the House of Lords, chancellor of the University of Birmingham and now president of the CBI, his is a career of achievement and navigating change.

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Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

The Brothers: Rise and Rise of Saatchi & Saatchi by Ivan Fallon 1988 – I read this before I started my business and before my brother had started his own advertising business in Hyderabad, India.

What are you watching in lockdown?

The Last Dance

What is your lockdown soundtrack?

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now; Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild; Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird; Carmen – George Bizet; Rolling Stones – Start Me Up

In one sentence, describe your new normal.

Zoom – personifying one of my mantra’s: “Adapt or Die!”

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My father, Lt. Fariddon Bilimoria who taught me so much I know about leadership and my great grandfather D.D. Italia who was an entrepreneur, and public servant, philanthropist, member of the House of Lords in India and who looked after his whole family. I have followed his footsteps, four generations later!

What is your best tip for life?

Aspire and achieve against all odds with integrity.

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