Grenfell Tower Inquiry Panel member and ex-housing association chief executive receives OBE

Ali Akbor after receiving his OBE at Windsor Castle

Ali Akbor, the former chief executive of Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise and now one of three members of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Panel, has received his OBE from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

The award for services to the community in Leeds was announced in the 2019 New Year Honours List but the investiture was delayed because of the pandemic.

Born in Bangladesh, Mr Akbor began his career as a Youth Opportunities Programme trainee at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council before qualifying as an accountant and later joining Salford City Council as head of finance in the Community and Social Services Directorate.

He became Unity chief executive in January 1999, holding the position for more than two decades and establishing the organisation as one of the most prominent and respected BME-led housing associations in the country.

He was appointed as a full-time member of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Panel in October 2020.

Mr Akbor was accompanied at this week’s investiture by his wife Safia.

He said: “It was a truly memorable and humbling experience to receive my OBE from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

“It has been almost two years since the honour was announced but the time that has elapsed allowed me to reflect even more on how proud I feel to be recognised in this way.

“It was wonderful to be able to share the day with my wife, Safia, and my daughters who travelled with us to Windsor Castle.

“It was an experience we will never forget.”