Rakesh is a firm believer in meritocracy for all aspects race, gender, colour and religious beliefs and as a result the organisation now has their first ever ethnic minority CFO, first ever ethnic minority and first female NEDs. The organisation works on the ethos that setting the standard from the top leads to trickle down of opportunity at all levels throughout the company. Not only is Rakesh an independent member of a high immigrant Multi Academy Trust but he has also issued a policy for all of his business units to be involved with their local schools with work experience and internships. In addition, he has been heavily critical, and written to the Davies Commission, of the bias towards women on Boards when there is more discrimination towards ethnic minorities and is delighted that there is now a commission aimed towards improving equality and inclusion for the BAME community as well.
After 5 years as Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President, Sadiq was asked by the CEO to be the Chief Planning Officer of Eurowings, the fast growing low cost airline subsidiary of the Group which is the most important strategic topic for the CEO. He now manages a P&L of EUR 3 B, with a team of 20 employees. Sadiq is part of the Group Leadership Team, and sits on the Boards of Lufthansa Consulting, Sun Express Airlines and Lufthansa Innovation Hub.
When Sadiq joined Lufthansa in 2011, it was a traditional German company where 47 of 50 of the other top executives were white German men, over the age of 50 (the other 2 being female), as the only BAME member of the Group Leadership Team, he provided a visible role model from my first day there.
One of his first actions was to setup an International lunch. This created a small network of non German employees that could regularly meet and share experiences. Sadiq sponsored their first ever annual International Day, where a fair was setup in the head office with different stands showcasing different countries which are represented in the company. He has also been an advocate for ethnic diversity in Lufthansa, and successfully persuaded HR to adapt their recruitment process, including ethnic diversity as one short listing criteria, ensuring that 1 of 3 shortlisted candidates from all positions in management & administration come from a diverse background.