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Professor Sir Iain Gray

Professor Sir Iain Gray was appointed Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University in 2015. In this role he draws on his 30 years in the aerospace manufacturing and engineering sector, ultimately leading Airbus in the UK.

Sir Iain also spent seven years as Chief Executive of UK Innovate, previously known as the Technology Strategy Board. The post included responsibility for an annual budget of £500m and interacting with some 5,000 large and small businesses across all sectors.

Sir Bill Thomas

Sir Bill Thomas spent 25 years working in diverse roles in Systems Designers, SD-Scicon and their acquirer, Electronic Data Systems. The British companies merged into and, some would say, transformed the US giant, EDS, and Bill eventually ran the EMEA operation and then oversaw its transition into Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services.  Bill was determined in his youth to study Mathematics and work in Defence, inspired by his father’s service career.  He combined an active passion for sport with doing enough at school to get started on his career plan and had early roles in mathematical modelling and signal processing, first in Marconi and then SD. 

Within EDS, Bill applied his skills to business management and achieved a notable success in a ground-breaking transformation deal with Rolls Royce.  Building on that success he was involved in developing the EDS business model, then managing a large part of the company, becoming the first British member of the Executive Committee.  Since 2009 Bill has pursued a portfolio career as chair and NED in tech and other businesses and charitable bodies.  He was an advisor to the Labour party in opposition on defence procurement and small businesses.  He was knighted in the 2020 New Year Honours list. 

John Poulter

John Poulter is a well known figure of the IT industry who has had an important influence through his participation in the industry bodies and his knowledge of the issues, people, organisations and technology. John’s career CV demonstrates a diversity of experience, from teacher to taxi driver, of which IT is just a part, perhaps giving him the perspective for his roles as observer and historian of the industry. John is a chartered engineer, a professional member of the British Computer Society, and a Chartered IT Professional. During his professional career he worked as system analyst and Management and Systems Consultant.

John is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and was the archivist of the WCIT from 2009 to 2021. He received the Mercury Special Recognition Award from the WCIT in May 2022. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and contributed to the foundation of the Archives of IT. John shares some fascinating lessons from life and insights into the industry.

Professor Peter Dobson OBE

Prof Peter Dobson OBE was born during WWII in Liskeard,  Cornwall and led a “net zero carbon existence” for his first 14 years without mains electricity or water. 

After Grammar school, he chose a GPO (General Post Office, now BT) scholarship to take him to university and worked alongside Tommy Flowers.  His broad career has covered a wide range of disciplines from physics and chemistry to materials science and engineering and bridged industry (Philips) and academia (Imperial College and Oxford).  Peter was responsible for creating and building The Begbroke Science Park for Oxford University.

Peter has successfully spun-off numerous companies. His latest, Oxford NanoSystems was formed in 2012. He is currently on the advisory board of several companies involved in nano-materials, healthcare and energy. He was awarded the OBE in 2013 in recognition of his contributions to science and engineering.

Dr Martin Read CBE

Dr Martin Read CBE is credited with the transformation of Logica, from the archetypal British 20th century software house with a headcount of 3,000 largely centred in the UK, to a 21st century dynamic enterprise with a headcount in excess of 40,000 based in over 40 countries. Martin followed the familiar path from grammar-school boy in Basingstoke to Oxford DPhil in Physics via Cambridge. He then deviated from a classic scientific career path and commenced his employment in shipping container logistics, where he applied his intellect to operations and strategic planning and worked abroad.

After a spell in the marine business of International Paint, his commercial and management skills were honed working for Lord Weinstock at GEC, before he was headhunted to Logica. After 14 years in the software industry, Dr Read again switched track and has been in high demand for a diverse portfolio of chair, non-executive director and senior advisory roles in industry and Government. His advice to the next generation is to begin their careers in well-managed organisations and to gain early experience in sales and working abroad .

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