Jonathan Kestenbaum

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Jonathan Kestenbaum is a former Chief Executive of NESTA, The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. He joined the House of Lords as a Labour peer on the 24 January 2011.

Previously Jonathan worked as Chief of Staff to Sir Ronald Cohen, the Chairman of Apax Partners. Together with Sir Ronald, Jonathan also built The Portland Trust, which most recently closed a $500 million fund for small and medium sized businesses in the Middle East.

Born in Japan to American parents and brought up in the UK, Jonathan graduated from the LSE and Cambridge. He completed an MBA with distinction from the Cass Business School.

Before becoming active in business, Jonathan started his career in education, building an international training programme for promising young educators. He also completed an MA in Education with distinction.

He subsequently helped establish and build a large family commodity trading business, which was a ring dealing member of the London Metal Exchange. The company was successfully sold in a management buy-out.

Jonathan then moved to public service, becoming Chief Executive of the Office of the Chief Rabbi, Professor Jonathan Sacks. Together, they worked on a number of prize winning publications, including the 1990 BBC Reith Lectures, The Persistence of Faith.

In 1996 he was appointed Chief Executive of the UJIA, one of the largest voluntary organisations in the UK.

Jonathan is a trustee of a number of foundations; is on the Board of the Design Council; is a Board member of Enterprise Insight; a tutor at the Cass Business School MBA programme; and on the planning group of the World Economic Forum. He is a graduate of the Cabinet Office Top Management Programme and is Non-Executive Chairman of Quest, a large financial services business.[1]

He was also on the board of directors of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) between 19 Sept 2003 - 9 Dec 2010.[2]




  1. Nesta Biography
  2. BICOM Appointments 13 June 2012, Companies House via Powerbase.
  3. Jewish Community Centre About Us Accessed 21st August 2008
  4. Lord Kestenbaum Parliament.UK, accessed 19 December 2014