Shahid Azeem, the British-Pakistani entrepreneur, who left school without a single qualification will serve in the honorary position of High Sheriff, for the county of Surrey. The affluent, predominantly white-middle class county will receive their High Sheriff in 2020.
The position is more than 1000 years old and in total only 45 people hold the title of High Sheriff every year. Mr Azeem is the first-ever male Pakistani to be appointed the title of High Sheriff.
In 1969, Mr Azeem – then just 9-years old- arrived in Britain. He faced bullying and racism throughout the education system and was expelled from school by the age of 12. A hard-working and determined Mr Azeem joined a computer systems company, worked in a fish and chip shop until he eventually built a multi-million pound IT business.
“This country is great. It’s not perfect but which other countries could you go to as a kid with no qualifications, be expelled for fighting and rightly so, and then go on to hold such a position? I’m still very proud Pakistani but incredibly grateful to a country that has given me so many opportunities.” Mr Azeem said to The News and Geo.
Speaking to The News and Geo, he went on to explain the influence of his grandfather, Captain Fazal Dad, how sports influenced and helped him transition into the mainstream and his pride for his Pakistani heritage.
In 1989, Mr Azeem set up his business after taking a loan of £5000 from a friend. Mr Azeem turned it into an IT giant and a multi-million-pound business, with five offices based around the world.
The office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political Royal appointment. The position is appointed for a single year.