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Dr Jason Wouhra OBE Named Chancellor of Aston University​

Published - 20th June 2024

Dr Jason Wouhra O.B.E

Aston University has appointed esteemed Birmingham entrepreneur and business leader Dr Jason Wouhra OBE as its new Chancellor. 

Dr Wouhra, who was awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution to entrepreneurship and business development by the university in 2014, is the fifth Chancellor to be appointed to Aston University since its inception. Not only is he the first Chancellor of Asian heritage to stand, but he is also the youngest.  

A highly experienced company director and successful entrepreneur, Dr Wouhra has been involved with businesses in the West Midlands for many years and has contributed widely across the UK and internationally through his work on various boards, as well as significant civic and philanthropic roles.

Chief Executive of Lioncroft Wholesale, one of the UK’s leading independent wholesale businesses, Dr Wouhra was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in 2017 for services to business and international trade. 

Prior to Lioncroft Wholesale, Dr Wouhra was a director of his family business East End Foods plc, one of Europe’s most successful Asian food ingredients businesses, manufacturing and processing ingredients as well as wholesaling branded food and drink products. East End Foods was sold in 2019 to private equity. In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, he bought back the wholesale arm of the business and since then, has transformed it into one of the most successful independent wholesale businesses in the UK, supplying more than 10,000 independent retail and hospitality businesses. 

Dr Wouhra has a degree and masters in commercial law and is an Institute of Directors chartered director. In 2013, he became the youngest and first BAME chairman of the Institute of Directors in the West Midlands.

He was appointed to Aston University’s governing body, University Council, in June 2020 and has held several other prominent positions including non-executive director of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. He has held past and present chairmanships of the West Midlands India Partnership, Library of Birmingham Advisory Board, Asian Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Child Poverty Commission, Aston University Development Board and was vice chair of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and board member of European Structural and Investment Fund.

He takes great pride in mentorship and advisory roles and is also involved in philanthropic work in the city and the wider region, including his patronage of Acorns Children’s Hospice charity since 2018. In 2023, the Lioncroft Foundation was launched to support good causes locally and across the world, including funding a brand new fellowship into neuroblastoma. He is also a founding patron of the Cancer Platform, and actively supports charities such as Macmillan, Disasters Emergency Committee, Ronald McDonald House, British Heart Foundation, ITV Text Santa, Cure Leukaemia, The Lord Mayor’s Charity (Birmingham) and WellChild. 

“Taking on this role is both a privilege and an honour,” said Dr Wouhra. “My connection with Aston University runs deep and I have long respected its commitment to delivering a truly outstanding education while creating and nurturing a community rich in diversity, heart and soul for its students, people, businesses and the wider local area. 

“Aston’s core values of inclusivity, entrepreneurialism and transformation align perfectly with my own and I am looking forward to working alongside its dedicated, talented staff and students to help propel the university towards its 2030 strategic goals of becoming a leading university of science, technology and enterprise. 

“As Chancellor, I will endeavour to champion and support the university to achieve its mission and vision, while living its values, and build on its formidable legacy for the future.”

Professor Aleks Subic, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Aston University, announced the appointment of Dr Wouhra to the role of Chancellor at the University Charter Dinner on Wednesday 19 June. Dr Wouhra succeeds Sir John Sunderland, who held the role of University Chancellor from 2011.

Professor Subic said: “Dr Jason Wouhra has been a strong supporter of the University for many years.

“He has a deep personal commitment to the role that education can play in opening opportunities for young people of all backgrounds and an understanding of the wider contribution universities make to the economy and society as a whole.  

“As an accomplished entrepreneur and business leader of Asian heritage, he has demonstrated what inclusive growth success looks like in Birmingham and the Midlands. I know he will be an outstanding ambassador for Aston University in his role as Chancellor.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Sir John Sunderland who has served in office with such distinction for the past 13 years.”

Dr Wouhra OBE will take up the role of Chancellor with immediate effect. 

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