Sir Harpal Kumar

CEO, Cancer Research UK


Harpal S Kumar MA MEng MBA DSc
Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Research UK

Harpal Kumar gained a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Manchester in October 2011. After a brief period working as a research scientist with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Harpal worked for four years in the London office of McKinsey and Co, specialising in advising pharmaceutical clients on strategic issues. He then became CEO of The Papworth Trust, which focuses on pioneering rehabilitation and housing services for people with acquired and congenital disabilities.

Harpal left Papworth in 1997 to become founding CEO of Nexan Group, a venture capital-backed medical device company, creating and marketing novel cardio-respiratory monitoring technologies for clinical trials and to reduce premature mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.

Harpal joined Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK) as Chief Executive in October 2002 to drive forward the charity’s technology transfer and early drug discovery activities. In addition to his role with CRT, he became Chief Operating Officer of Cancer Research UK in July 2004, before becoming Chief Executive in April 2007.

Harpal is a Trustee of the Institute for Cancer Research and the Francis Crick Institute, both in London. He is the Chairman of the Board of the National Cancer Research Institute. He chairs the Cancer Outcomes Strategy Advisory Group in England and co-chairs the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative.

Harpal was awarded a knighthood in the January 2016 New Year’s Honours for services to Cancer Research.

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