Announcing National Zakat Foundation’s New Chief Executive, Chair and Trustee

Thursday 4th November 2021

Iqbal Nasim MBE, who has led NZF as Chief Executive since its inception in 2011, is stepping down after ten years of service. He will be succeeded by Dr Sohail Hanif.

Azim Kidwai, NZF’s Chair since 2014, will continue to serve on the Board of Trustees and will pass on the position of Chair to long-standing Trustee Sultan Choudhury. The Board is also pleased to welcome Anisa Hanif as a new Trustee.

The team at NZF offers their heartfelt thanks to both Iqbal and Azim, who have led NZF from humble beginnings to being a recognised and trusted service for tens of thousands of Zakat givers and recipients nationwide.

New Chief Executive: Dr Sohail Hanif

The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive, Dr Sohail Hanif. Dr Sohail brings to the role expertise in Islamic law, having studied extensively with traditional scholars, and holds a PhD from Oxford University. In his professional capacity, he most recently held the position of BA Manager and Lecturer at Cambridge Muslim College. He was previously NZF’s Head of Research and Development.

“I am honoured to serve the Muslim community in my new role. I am proud and grateful for what NZF has achieved under Iqbal Nasim. NZF has been a lifeline for thousands of Muslims in the UK. I plan to work closely with grassroots initiatives to ensure that support reaches those who deserve it but do not know where to turn, and Zakat givers can see the good that Zakat is doing in their communities.”

Dr Sohail joined NZF in August 2021 as Deputy Chief Executive and will transition into the role of Chief Executive at the end of November 2021.

Iqbal is supporting the transition and is delighted by the appointment of Dr Sohail: “It has been an amazing privilege to have led the development of NZF over the last decade. And it’s an equivalent honour to be succeeded by someone as capable and visionary as Sohail. I have full confidence that he is the right person to lead the organisation into its next phase. I worked closely with Sohail at NZF during his tenure as Head of Research and Development, and I am committed to supporting him and sharing my experience with him during this period of transition. I know he will be well served by NZF’s experienced and highly capable Senior Leadership Team: Lucy Bushill-Matthews (Director of Operations), Rizwan Yusoof (Director of Services) and Nazia Hassan (Director of Communications).”

New Chair: Sultan Choudhury OBE

Sultan Choudhury who has been a trustee of NZF since it was formed as a Charity, will become the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. He has over 27 years’ experience within the professional and financial sector and is most prominently known for his leading work within the Islamic Finance sector, founding the UK’s first Islamic Bank, (Al Rayan Bank) where he served as CEO and Director for 9 years until 2019. Sultan currently holds a number of non-executive and Chairman roles in the Islamic finance and not-for-profit sector.

In his role as Chair of Trustees, Sultan will lead the Board: “After many years as a Trustee of NZF, I am thrilled to be able to contribute further as Chair. It is a great privilege to work with someone so passionate about the great mission of Zakat as Azim, and I look forward to continue working with him. Iqbal Nasim has been an inspirational CEO for the organisation, who has established NZF as a unique and remarkable UK Charity. All of us at NZF are so appreciative and grateful for his leadership and commitment over the last decade. In terms of the future, the need for support within Britain’s Muslim community continues to grow, and NZF will remain and also thrive in meeting those challenges through providing best-in-class Zakat services in the UK.”

Azim Kidwai, our previous Chair, will continue to support Sultan and serve on the Board as a Trustee: “It has been a great honour working with the Board and Iqbal to get NZF where it has got to so far. NZF has huge potential, and I have full confidence that Sultan and Sohail will provide the right combination of professionalism, scholarly expertise and vision, to help NZF achieve significant success, God willing.”

New Trustee: Anisa Hanif

We are also pleased to announce that Anisa Hanif (not related to Dr Sohail), who has been an advisor to the Board for the last five months, is now becoming a Trustee. Anisa is a corporate lawyer with ten years’ experience advising clients in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors. “NZF has contributed significantly to poverty alleviation in the UK for over a decade. To be able to support NZF to continue doing that – and think strategically about its growth and potential for even greater social impact – is a huge privilege.”

The Board currently comprises Sultan Choudhury (Chair), Anisa Hanif, Muhammad Yesilhark and Azim Kidwai. It is supported by Dr Shorful Islam as a technology and marketing advisor, as well as Councillor Saima Ashraf, whose expertise is in serving local communities. Shiraz Hussain also supports the board in his capacity as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee.

We are grateful to all our supporters as we enter our next decade with a renewed commitment to serving Zakat givers and recipients across the country.

We thank our Lord for all His blessings and ask for His continued guidance and grace long into the future.