Born and raised in South Africa, Ken Costa studied law and philosophy at university in Johannesburg, where he was actively involved in the student protest movement against racial segregation in education. In 1974 he moved to England to study law and theology at Cambridge University before joining the investment bank SG Warburg in the City of London.
Over the next forty years, Ken continued to work in investment banking, becoming chairman of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for UBS Investment Bank and vice chairman of the group’s investment banking business globally. Later, he took on the role of chairman for Lazard International. During this time Ken worked in mergers and acquisitions, advising global corporations on their international strategies. He has been involved in many rainmaker deals, including the sale Harrods to the Qatari royal family in 2010. Ken now runs his own consulting firm, and in 2016 he was nominated as one of the top deal advisors of the last twenty years in Europe.
Ken is passionate about people, and particularly young people as they enter the workplace. His first book God at Work, which is being republished in the USA, draws on his extensive experience to explore what it means to live each day with purpose at work. It emphasizes that whilst we are all called to different places, God will draw alongside us, energizing us and empowering us for work. On the back of God at Work, Ken has now released two film series to equip people for work, the God at Work Conversations and Strange Kingdom: Meditations on the Cross, both of which can be accessed through www.godatwork.org.uk.
Besides his commercial work, Ken has spent much of his adult life involved in the leadership of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), the largest Anglican Church in the UK, where he preaches regularly. He is dean of the HTB Leadership College London, which trains those in their twenties and thirties to be distinctive Christian leaders in their workplaces, and is chairman of Alpha International — an evangelistic course borne out of HTB, which has so far taught the basics of Christianity to an estimated 29 million people worldwide. He is also chairman of Worship Central, a movement promoting worship events and courses across the globe. It was through HTB that Ken got to know the current archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, whose reconciliation and evangelism work he now supports as chairman of the Lambeth Trust.
Given his professional experience, Ken has regularly been asked to speak on financial, ethical, and Christian issues at conferences and churches around the world. As emeritus professor of commerce at Gresham College London, he lectured on finance and ethics in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and in 2011 he led the London Connection. This was an initiative seeking to encourage dialogue between the financiers in the City of London and the Occupy protesters who took up residence outside St Paul’s Cathedral, which Ken led at the request of the Bishop of London. This experience means that Ken is frequently featured in the UK press.
Ken was a trustee of the Nelson Mandela UK Children’s Fund for over ten years, and is currently fundraising patron for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. He is married to Dr. Fiona Costa, a classical musician and research fellow at the University of Roehampton, and they have four adult children..