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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.

Rodney Hornstein

Rodney Hornstein started work as a programmer at IBM during his vacations in 1958 and worked there, off and on, until 1962. He joined LEO computers programming the LEO ranges and later selling them and becoming director of marketing. He lived through the turmoil of first the merger of English Electric and LEO (EEL), shielded by his boss from the turbulence. He was also shielded when EEL merged with Marconi Computers. The big bang was the formation of ICL in 1968. He lived through the often brutal years of the Jeff Cross era from 1972 to 1977 but lost faith and his natural optimism when ICL began to implode into confusion in 1979.

Rodney then spent seven years outside the IT industry but did encounter Sir Arnold Weinstock head of GEC. He was headhunted to run an ICL spin off, DAP, which he had re-engineered from a £30,000 production cost to about $5,000 and sold it into the US and UK markets. He ran Alphameric, as CEO for 5 years, chairman for 4 years, building a profitable company from a near wreck. By 1999 he became an angel investor often acting as chairman of the board. His normal optimism about technology is being tested about the current developments in AI, but he heads an AI start up with a different approach.

Linda Macaulay

Linda Ann Macaulay is Professor Emerita of Information System Design, University of Manchester. Professor Macaulay’s research interests are concerned with how technical system design can be informed by the needs of users and groups of users and fall into the four main areas: Human Computer Interaction; Requirements Engineering; e-Commerce and e-Business; and Facilitated Collaboration.

In 1999 she was the first female Professor to be appointed to the Department of Computation at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. She is twice holder of the prestigious IBM Faculty Award. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society. Her memoir ‘Hello Computer’ is a personal history of computers from 1967 to 2017.

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. 

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