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.
Ron Weeden spent over 30 years working in the IT industry on calculator and desktop computer technology. He got into the calculator business when they were mechanical devices and computers were in their infancy and ended his formal career at HP in the late 90s, by then a global leader in PC’s and workstations.
Tech was only part of his life story though which started in 1932 when Tunbridge Wells was a traffic free haven and a boy could fill his leisure time on long cycle trips around Kent; the only entertainment available in a penniless upbringing. Ron describes himself as a loner, intensely curious and a polymath: which contributed to his many achievements and on which he touches (as well as the evolution of computing) in this snapshot of a fascinating life.
Grammar school saw him into an early career as a civil servant aged 16, followed by an unusual National Service experience, and a few short-term jobs in the 50s while pursuing his varied intellectual interests. In 1961 Ron found his way to Muldivo, a supplier of calculators, which led him to be employee Number 1 in Wang UK, and thence on to the rapidly developing HP in 1969. Ron has been a member of the BCS and ACM since 1968 and continues to be active in the profession.
This interview only scratches the surface and Ron’s full biography would be entertaining and engaging on many levels.
David Clarke spent nearly thirty years involved with IT systems, firstly in the supply side and then from 1995 to 2002 as a Chief Executive in the Virgin group of companies, and then Trinity Mirror plc, both companies being highly reliant on the use of IT based systems for their success. David became Group Chief Executive of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, in May 2002 and was widely acknowledged as having transformed BCS into the customer-service oriented professional institute for the IT and Communications profession that it became. David was awarded an MBE for services to the IT Industry in the 2011 New Years Honours.