Born in April 1980 in Hubli, a small town 250 miles north of Bangalore, Akshata Murthy was raised by her paternal grandparents in India. This gave room for her parents to build the software firm Infosys. Her father, Nagvara Murthy, was Chief Executive of Infosys from 1981 to 2002. By 2019, Infosys’ revenues had grown to $11.8 Billion and turned Akshata’s father into an Indian billionaire. Akshata reportedly owns a share in Infosys, one which has been estimated to make her richer than the Queen.
Akshata is married to the United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, with whom she has two daughters. The British politician has been widely tipped as a possible future British Prime Minister.
Rishi Sunak’s Wife
With swathes of Britain slightly infatuated with ‘Dishy Rishi’ Sunak, you will no doubt be disappointed to discover that the Chancellor is already taken. Akshata Murthy first met Sunak when the couple studied at Stanford University in America. Sunak was studying for an MBA at Stanford on a Fulbright scholarship. Murthy was described, at the time, as ‘an artistic and fashion-loving student’.
Murthy and Sunak were married at a two-day traditional wedding ceremony in 2009, in Bangalore.
Initially basing themselves in California, the couple now live with their two children in Yorkshire and London. Although, according to The Times, Rishi and Akshata own ‘at least four properties’.
Allegra Stratton, the new Downing Street Press Secretary is an old-friend of Sunak’s husband and the godparent of the family’s two children.
Murthy runs a fashion label called ‘Akshata Designs’. Murthy loved clothes as a child which baffled her ‘no-nonsense software engineer mother’, Sudha Murthy.
Akshata Murthy has previously been shot by Vogue magazine, and declared in an interview with the magazine in 2011 that, ‘I’m about the story behind a particular garment, its authenticity, craftsmanship and protecting a rich heritage’. Murthy has previously described fashion as her passion and claimed that she couldn’t imagine being engaged in anything else.
Akshata Murthy is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, the Infosys co founder of Bangalore IT company Infosys. Following Infosys’ founding in 1981, Narayana Murthy has been dubbed ‘the Bill Gates of India’. Akshata Murthy’s father was listed in 2012 by Fortune magazine as one of the world’s 12 most successful entrepreneurs.
Alongside owning her fashion label, Murthy’s daughter reportedly owns 0.91% of the shares in Infosys. Given the market value of Infosys in late 2020, it was suggested that Akshata Murthy’s financial holdings in the company at that time equated to a wealth of around £430 million. The Murthy family are also reported to have a holding in Amazon India.
Soon after his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020, Rishi Sunak was thrust into the national spotlight because of his role in managing the British economy through the Coronavirus pandemic. Crucially, Mr Sunak was known for fronting the UK government’s Furlough scheme that aimed to provide financial support for struggling companies.
It has been reported that Infosys took part in this scheme and used it to furlough approximately 3% of its UK staff during parts of 2020. Akshata Murthy’s luxury clothing store in London was also said to have legitimately used the scheme to cover 80% of some staff’s salaries during the period.
In the face of claims that Chancellor Rishi Sunak did not appropriately declare his wife’s interests before he unveiled the furlough plans, the Treasury responded to the media focus on his family’s financial wealth, saying Sunak ‘followed the ministerial code to the letter’.