Sir Harpal Kumar
CEO, Cancer Research UK Latymerian 

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Sir Harpal Kumar (Class of  1982)

Sir Harpal Kumar, the Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, believes his life-path was shaped by his Latymer education.

Harpal  has had an extraordinary career to date, following his degree in Chemical Engineering at Cambridge University. Roles at McKinsey management consultants, the Papworth Trust and Nexan have helped lead him to his current high profile position as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK. Whilst the charity is one of the most successful in the UK, with an annual income of over £600 million a year, it is the medical research undertaken by the organisation that attracted Harpal to the job. Typically Latymerian, he thinks big – the charity’s ambition over the next two decades is that the long term survival rate be increased to three out of four people who are diagnosed with cancer.

As he points out in an interview for his school’s Annual Review, Harpal’s life-path was shaped by his Latymer education;

"I can categorically say that if I had not gone to Latymer, I would not have gone to Cambridge and if I hadn’t gone to Cambridge, I wouldn’t have gone to Harvard… and so on. Each experience builds upon the last and I couldn’t be more grateful that the whole thing began at Latymer.” 

As the first in his family to attend university, Harpal is acutely aware of the life-changing effect a good education has on a child’s prospects - a view  that is shared with Latymer and is at the heart of the School’s bursary programme.

Remembering his early impressions of Latymer, Harpal says;

“I was struck by how important it was to teachers that this was a school that embraced people from different backgrounds and that they wanted them all to succeed. There is, and always has been, a strong social conscience at Latymer and I think that has certainly stayed with me.”