Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer
Lord Faridoon Billmoria CBE, DL
Karan Faridoon Bilimoria, is an entrepreneur and a life peer. He is best known as the founder and chairman of Cobra Beer.
Bilimoria was born in Hyderabad, India of Parsi Zoroastrian descent. He received the Bachelor of Commerce degree from Osmania University; (Indian Institute of Management and Commerce, Hyderabad) in 1981. After working as a chartered accountant for Ernst & Young, he studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. He is an alumnus of London Metropolitan University and honorary graduate.
He founded Cobra Beer in 1989, aiming to create a less gassy lager more suitable for drinking with curry and other foods. In 1999, the company diversified into wine. As of 2006 Cobra Beer has a turnover of £126 million, is sold in nearly 6,000 Indian restaurants, and is available to more than 6,000 bars, pubs and clubs and in supermarkets and off-licences across the UK. He received the CBE in 2004 for services to business.
Karan Bilimoria is a proponent of socially responsible business, which he says must run right though the company to have any effect. In 2007, he said: "When you talk about the triple bottom line, it is about how you look after your staff. You create an environment where people flourish. You respect them, and you treat your customers and your suppliers equally. A lot of companies worship their customers and bully their suppliers and employees — and make massive profits. Well, I'm sorry that's not my way."
Karan is the deputy president of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he is also the representative deputy lieutenant for the London Borough of Hounslow. In 2003, Karan was appointed as the UK chairman of the Indo British Partnership (IBP), by the British Government, and serves as founding chairman of the UK India British Council (UKIBC). In 2005, he became chancellor of university, the United Kingdom's youngest university chancellor at the time.
In 2006, he was chosen as a cross-bench life peer with the title Baron Bilimoria, of Chelsea in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, becoming the first-ever Parsi in the House of Lords. In 2008 he was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the president of India.
In 2008 he delivered the keynote address to the Make Your Mark Challenge schools competing at London Metropolitan Business School.