I am very pleased to hear that Dawid has been awarded an CBE for services to Diversity and Inclusion as Co-founder of 10,000 Interns Foundation. Many people talk of diversity, Dawid lives it.
Where Dawid has travelled from
Dawid Konotey-Ahulu grew up in Accra, Ghana, the son of a black Ghanaian doctor and a white English nurse. Until he was 16, (1979) he was, to all intents and purposes, completely Ghanaian.
In 1979, in the middle of the revolution, his family moved to the UK where he went to school in Watford, Herts. He studied law at university and then went to Bar School and qualified as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn in 1987. He switched to a career in investment banking in 1990, where he helped corporates and financial institutions to manage risk using derivatives and other capital market instruments.
In 2003, he implemented the first full LDI derivatives transaction with a DB pension scheme and in 2006 left investment banking to co-found a new style of investment consulting firm, Redington. He is married with three children and his wife is a lawyer in the City.
Dawid as a mentor
I am one of many people who has found inspiration and happiness working with Dawid. He was an early adopter of social media and helped me use my social network on linked in and showing me how to use twitter.
When he set up Mallowstreet, he encouraged those who used it to express themselves freely within the safe haven it had created. Mallowstreet gave me the idea of setting up this blog.
Dawid as a role model
I don’t think I have ever seen Dawid lose control, but I have seen him justly angry. He effectively lobbied against the imposition of CPI indexation on many pensions whose liabilities were linked to LDI. The force of his wrath was controlled into powerful polemics on the limits on state interference on private pensions.
When Dawid, speaks, it is with great calm and considerable force. His demeanour and clear diction create great authority.
And socially , the man is simply charming – he is a role model to his staff and to his friends.
He is generous. I last spent time with him at the funeral of the late and well-remembered friend Bill Whitehead. He and colleague Rob Gardner took a day out to Kent in memory of a friend to Mallowstreet and us all.
On one occasion, when I was on my uppers, he gave me six bottles of the most wonderful red wine. On another, he gave me an Ipad. I do not to this day know how and why he did these things other than that he could. He has never asked for anything back.
Dawid as a business and social entrepreneur
Dawid’s personal accomplishments are key to his success as a businessman. I have seen him build a strong and loyal team at Redington and Mallowstreet, I am pleased that the CEO of Mallowstreet, Stuart Breyer, is on the board of 10,000 Interns Foundation.
His skills at wealth creation now enable him to give time to helping 10,000 interns get a leg up into the economy. The work is split between a project to help those with disabilities become Able Interns and those who are Black and studying become Black Interns.
It is good for all of us, whether Dawid’s friends or not, that he has been recognised in this way. The honours system helps us to aspire to be better and those honoured are the inspiration for us to do better.
Dawid is a mentor – role model , business and social entrepreneur, he is generous with his time and his money. He is a twenty-first century hero and well deserving of his CBE.
Earlier versions of this post had him down for an OBE- he is infact a Commander of the Order of the British Empire – which is an even greater honour!