Swraj Paul, Baron Paul, PC (born 18 February 1931) is an Indian-born, British-based business magnate and philanthropist. In 1996 he was appointed a life peer by Conservative Prime Minister John Major, and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher with the title Baron Paul, of Marylebone, in the City of Westminster. In December 2008 he was appointed deputy speaker of the Lords; in October 2009 he was appointed to the Privy Council.
According to his official biography, Swraj Paul was born in Jalandhar, Punjab in 1931. His father Pyare Lal ran a small foundry, making steel buckets and farming equipment. His mother's name was Mongvati. His home was located at Tanda Road Jalandhar, Punjab where now Apeejay School is located. Swaraj Paul completed his high school education at Labbu Ram Doaba School, Jalandhar, Punjab. Paul was educated at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Doaba College Jalandhar, Punjab and later obtained BSc, MSc and MechE degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.
After leaving MIT he worked for the family business, Apeejay Surrendra Group in India, which was founded by his father, and was, at the time, managed by his two older brothers Satya Paul and Jit Paul.
In 1966 he relocated to the United Kingdom to get medical treatment for his young daughter, who had leukaemia. He spent a year getting over her death, after which he founded Natural Gas Tubes Starting with one steel unit, he went on to acquire more. This led to his founding the Caparo Group in 1968, which became one of the UK’s largest steel conversion and distribution businesses, manufacturing an extensive range of structural steels, precision tube, spirally welded tube, special bar qualities, industrial wires, cold rolled strip and spring steel strip. Lord Paul stepped down from the management of the Caparo Group in 1996.
Up until Autumn 2015, Caparo employed over 10,000 people across North America, Europe, India and, the Middle East. In October 2015, 16 of the 20 limited companies that formed most of Caparo Group UK collapsed into administration, and on 8 November his son Angad Paul, the Group's CEO, died in an apparent suicide from his eight floor penthouse flat.
Lord Paul has held many public positions. In 2006, as part of his parliamentary work, he made a declaration of interest; he was involved with more than a dozen organisations outside his family business and foundation.
In the field of education, Lord Paul held the Pro-Chancellorship of Thames Valley University in 1997, and Chancellorship in 1998. He has been the chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton since 1998, and, through The Ambika Paul Foundation, in 2010 donated to the university to support the refurbishment of its student union centre, subsequently named "The Ambika Paul Student Union Centre"; more recently he was present at the official naming ceremony of the Ambika Paul Building at the University following a £1 million donation, the largest single gift in the University's history. l. Lord Paul is also Chancellor of University of Westminster, to which his family charity has given £300,000. He sat on MIT's Mechanical Engineering Visiting Committee between 1998 – 2001.
Lord Paul is a member of the President's Cabinet for Chapman University in Orange, California
Lord Paul has taken an interest in international relations. He was appointed by the government to act as an ambassador for British business from 1998 –2010 He was a member of the Foreign Policy Centre Advisory Council. He contested for the chairmanship of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, with an agenda to reduce the gap between the West and the East. Lord Paul was Co-Chairman of the Indo-British Roundtable from 2000–2005. He was a member of Panel 2000, an appointment by the Prime Minister to re-brand Britain.
He was the first person of Indian origin to hold the post of deputy speaker of the House of Lords, one of twelve people in that post. He was sworn of the Privy Council on 15 October 2009.
He has donated £500,000 to the Labour Party, being the largest donor to Gordon Brown's leadership campaign and offering in 2007 to give "as much as [he] can afford" in the case of an early election. He is also close to the former UK Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown, for whom he shows paternal concern
Lord Paul was involved with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London from its inception as a member of the board responsible for the Olympic bid and its submission. He travelled to Singapore in 2005 as part of the bidding team that successfully persuaded the International Olympic Committee to award the games to London. He chaired the Olympic Delivery Committee, part of the London Development Agency, with the job of obtaining the land on which to build the new venues, and delivering the land on time and on budget.
Through the Ambika Paul Foundation, which Paul set up in memory of his daughter, profits from Caparo India are channelled into charitable endeavours For example, Paul is an honorary patron of the Zoological Society of London and has funded major projects at the Regent's Park site, including the Ambika Paul children's zoo. The Foundation has established the Ambika Paul School of Technology in Jalandhar, India. Other projects that were funded by the Paul family and bear Ambika's name include the Ambika Paul Mezzanine and Study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lord Paul was chairman & Trustee of Theirworld and chairman Theirworld Projects Ltd (formerly PiggyBankKids) from 2002 to 2015.
Awards and honours
Lord Paul has received various awards and honours including 15 honorary degrees from universities in the UK, USA, India, Russia and Switzerland. In 1983 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, by Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, and the Bharat Gaurav award by the Indian Merchants' Chamber. Freedom of the City of London, 1998; Asian Business Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008; Donald C. Burnham Manufacturing Management Award, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, USA, 1995; First Asian of the Year Award, Asian Who's Who, 1987; Asian Woman Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008. PowerBrands Hall of Fame nominated him Global Indian of the Year, 2011. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Corporate Leadership Award, 1989.
He was awarded "International Indian of Decade" for his outstanding achievements in the fields of industry, education and philanthropy at the 20th anniversary of the publication of India Link International, a monthly magazine on 15 November 2013.
Most recently Lord Paul was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Black Country Asian Business Association for his "outstanding achievements in the fields of industry, education and philanthropy".
In 2014 Lord Paul received a further Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his work in promoting India-UK educational ties from the Global Skill Tree consortium,an India Based think tank, which hopes to promote India as a global hub of international education through its "Great Place to Study – India" initiative.
In July 2014 Lord Paul was given the ‘International Icon of the Decade Award’ by the World Consulting Research Corporation at its Global Indian Excellence Summit held in London, this was in recognition of "his outstanding achievements in the fields of manufacturing, education and philanthropy".
In October 2009 The Sunday Times reported that Lord Paul had been unable satisfactorily to explain claiming expenses of £38,000 for the period January 2005 to July 2006. Lord Paul immediately requested the Clerk of the Parliaments to investigate his expenses at the same time repaying, £41,982 instead of £26,988 – £15,000, more than the House of Lords would have requested at the conclusion of their investigation. The Metropolitan Police opened an investigation concerning these expense claims, but by the end of February 2010 concluded there was no case. Lord Paul appeared before various committees for Lord's Conduct with ultimately the Privileges Committee concluding that Lord Paul had not acted dishonestly or in bad faith. They did determine however that he had been negligent and acted in ignorance and that his actions did render him liable to sanction by the House." Lord Paul's suspension was for four months. Lord Paul completely disagreed with their finding, calling it "unreasonable."
Paul tendered his resignation as Deputy Speaker to the Lord Speaker on 1 November 2010. His letter, printed in The House Magazine a week later, expressed his reservations about the process, calling it "a sad saga for parliamentary democracy – an unfortunate series of events having evidently been inspired by the electoral politics of the media". He has spoken on this topic many times since the expenses scandal initially made news, and maintains that wrongdoing had occurred in his case
Lord Paul is on the Sunday Times Rich List as the 38th richest person in Britain, although he claims to take public transport in London "like everybody else". Since the 1960s he has lived in Portland Place, in central London. He and his family own a dozen flats in the block, each one worth close to a million pounds. He also has a 250-acre (1.0 km2) country estate, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.
His son Angad Paul, CEO of Caparo plc, died after falling from his Marylebone penthouse flat on 8 November 2015. A police statement stated they considered there to be no suspicious circumstances.
Styles of address
- 1931-1996: Mr Swraj Paul
- 1996-2009: The Right Honourable The Lord Paul
- 2009-: The Right Honourable The Lord Paul PC
- "TheyWorkForYou". www.theyworkforyou.com. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Beyond Boundaries: A Memoir, Penguin Books, 1998
- Indira Gandhi, Heron Press, 1984 – a biography of Indira Gandhi