Nadhim Zahawi was born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents in 1967. Under threat of persecution from Saddam Hussein’s regime, his family immigrated to the UK when he was 7. He grew up in Sussex and was educated at King’s College School in West London and University College London where he studied Chemical Engineering.
A serial entrepreneur, in 2000 he founded YouGov, a leading market research company which has since become famous for the accuracy of its political polling. Having started life in an office in Nadhim’s garden shed, YouGov now employs over 400 people on three continents.
In January 2010 he stood down from YouGov to run for election as Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon. Upon winning the seat, Nadhim was elected to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which scrutinises the impact of government policy on business.
In 2011 he co-authored Masters of Nothing with fellow MP Matt Hancock. The book is an account of the human behaviour behind the banking crash and ends with policy recommendations designed to prevent a future crisis. Several of these recommendations have since been adopted by the Coalition Government.
As an MP, Nadhim has campaigned hard on a range of issues: from fighting inappropriate development in Stratford, to reforming welfare, to strengthening UK-Kurdish relations.
In 2013 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Policy Board with special responsibility for business and the economy. A lifelong volunteer, he also advises the International Rescue Committee and is a trustee of UpRising, a social mobility charity.
Nadhim is married to Lana and has three children.