A businesswoman and media-government are to come to be the first black person to lead an Oxbridge university after being elected grasp of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Sonita Alleyne, fifty-one, additionally will become the first woman head in the history of the college, which was based in 1496 and is certainly one of Cambridge’s oldest.

The entrepreneur, who is chairwoman of the British Board of Film Classification’s management council, will take up her new role in October.

Alleyne, who examine philosophy at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, has formerly served as a BBC trustee.

Born in Bridgetown, Barbados, and taken up in Leytonstone, east London, she turned into a co-founder of the production agency Somethin’ Else, which she led as leader government from 1991 to 2009.

She becomes the university’s 42nd grasp at the fortieth anniversary of co-training, taking on from Prof Ian White, who turned into appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Bath in advance this 12 months.

Alleyne’s appointment is something of a coup for Cambridge as it aims to growth variety among its college students. Last year, it admitted a document range of black students – fifty eight out of 2,612.

In a statement, she said: “I left Cambridge 30 years ago, but it never left me. I am extremely joyful to be returning.

“It is an honour to be elected to lead Jesus College and I’m searching forward to becoming part of such an energetic and progressive network.”

Alleyne, a eager fly-fisher, as soon as defined herself as a “passionate early reader” who appreciated telling testimonies, which stimulated her to observe a profession in the media. “Stories are approximately creativity and this kind of primal intuition for human beings, and whether or not you’re doing a documentary or tune, media is all about tales. That’s what I locate thrilling,” she stated in one 2008 interview.

The hunt for Jesus College’s new grasp covered advertising the function at the business networking web page LinkedIn for the primary time. The university’s fellows then whittled down the candidates.

Alleyne began her media career in the exposure branch at Jazz FM earlier than getting into manufacturing. On being made redundant in 1991, she and two colleagues set up Somethin’ Else, a go-platform media employer that made content for the BBC and industrial radio stations. It rapidly expanded and, by using 2008, was being defined as the most important syndicator of radio programmes inside the UK, out of doors the BBC, dispensing indicates to greater than two hundred radio stations in 65 nations.

Alleyne’s severa board roles have included the National Employment Panel and the London Skills and Employment Board, chair of the Radio Sector Skills Council and non-executive director of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and club of the court docket of governors at the University of the Arts.

She has been a choose for the Precious Awards, which rejoice the entrepreneurial achievements of black women, and for the Sony Awards. She is likewise founding father of the Yes Programme, an online provider assisting school students make profession selections. She has served as an envoy for Street Kids International.


In 2000, she acquired the Award of Excellence from the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners, and changed into made an OBE for services to broadcasting in 2003.

She joined the BBC Trust, the governing body of the agency, in 2012, and changed into appointed chair of the BBFC earlier this year. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and the Radio Academy.

Prof Mary Laven, who led Jesus College’s seek committee, stated: “We’re pleased by means of the election of Sonita Alleyne, who can be an inspirational grasp. She brings to the college a wealth of enjoy and a long-lasting commitment to assisting young humans fulfil their ability.”