Black History Month: Influential British Figures Today I Oxford Open Learning

    Jacky Wright

    Black History Month: Influential British Figures Today

    Jacky Wright

    The Powerlist 2022 lists the most influential Black Britons of the year. Jacky Wright is number one on that list so let’s take a look at what has made her such an important public figure.

    Jacky Wright is the Chief Digital Officer and Corporate Vice President of Microsoft US. Before that, she worked at BP, General Electric and Anderson Consulting. Between 2017 and 2019, Wright took a two-year secondment from Microsoft to work as Chief Digital and Information Officer at HM Revenue and Customs where she oversaw the organisation’s new digital procedures in an effort to make tax collection simpler.


    Whilst she was born in London, Jacky Wright has spent much of her career in the USA. Her father was born in Jamaica and, after serving in the Royal Air Force in World War II, settled in England after the war. His experience of racism during the 1960s (fuelled by the rhetoric of Enoch Powell) prompted a move to the USA where Jacky attended the City University of New York.

    Highlighting A Lack Of Diversity In UK Business Leadership

    In an interview with CNN Business, Wright commented that, as a Black woman, she felt “There are more opportunities in the US than there are in the UK” as she explained why she chose to pursue a career in America rather than return. In the same interview, Wright goes on to say that she’s “not sure I would be Chief Digital Officer at Microsoft had I not been in the US” and that the prominence of women of colour in top corporate positions in America gave her the confidence to pursue similar roles, something that is severely lacking in UK businesses. According to the executive recruitment firm Green Park, the percentage of Black directors in the FTSE 100 sits at 1.1% whilst in the USA 11.4% of board seats at Fortune 100 companies are occupied by Black leaders (Deloitte, 2020). Throughout her career, Wright has advocated for more diversity within the technology industry, sitting on the board of the Women’s Innovation Council, an organisation that aims to encourage and support women to pursue careers in science and technology.

    To read more of Jacky Wright’s interview with CNN Business, click on this link.. You can read about another on The Powerlist 2022, Daniel Kaluuya, in another Oxford Open Learning blog post this month or by visiting Top 10 Most Powerful Black Persons In The UK of 2022.



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