Bill Jones had led business in over 100 countries. He started in the computing side of IT in the steel industry, using one of the first commercial computers, a LEO, at the Corby steelworks. He moved to the supplier side with Plessey and then into telecommunications and networking. He is now a venture capitalist and an author. His book, Mindwealth, is the first book to attempt a holistic approach to the relationship between Intellectual Property and wealth.
Sir David Brown got hooked on electronic engineering when his father took him to a Faraday Lecture at the age of 14. His first job was with Plessey, which had sponsored him through sixth form and university. At Plessey he worked on the UK’s first digital telephone exchanges and Ptarmigan a landmark tactical mobile cryptographic telecommunications system for the British army. He is a firm believer in the power of teamwork and went on to senior roles at STC, ICL, Northern Telecom and Motorola.
More recently, Sir David has focused on non-executive roles in technologies that are “edgy and fun”, such as hydrogen fuel cells and printing sciences. As chairman of the board of trustees at Bletchley Park, home of British World War II code-breaking, he is a passionate about encouraging young people to become engineers. With four honorary doctorates, a visiting fellowship at Oxford University and a knighthood, he continues to be an eminent figure in the telecoms and electronics industries.
John Leighfield CBE was a pioneering IT user, applying the technology offered by vendors to the benefit of users, particularly in manufacturing. He started in IT with Ford in Dagenham in what would now be called systems analysis. He joined Plessey in 1965 and was on the board of Plessey as the head of IT. John moved to British Leyland in 1972, working in BL Systems, later renamed as ISTEL. It was privatised and John and others succeeded in a management buyout.