Sir Anthony Bamford, DL
Public Orator, Professor Chris Backhouse, presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Congregation held on the morning of Thursday 11 July 2002.
Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished
Guests, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen
In 1975, at what many would consider
to be the tender age of 29, Anthony Bamford assumed the twin mantles of
Chairman and Managing Director of the company with the most famous initials
in British Construction - JCB. Sir Anthony Bamford, as he is now, inherited
a hugely successful British company - he transformed into one of enormous
success to be truly one of the world's best.
Anthony Bamford was named Young Businessman
of the Year in 1979 and Top Exporter of the Year in 1995. He was knighted
in 1990 at the age of 44. His company, JCB, has won a host of accolades
for engineering, export, design, marketing, management, and for its care
of the environment. Under Sir Anthonys leadership, JCB increased
its profits from £6 million in 1976 to £100 million in 1995,
a fine celebration of his own, and the companys 50th birthdays.
Today JCB is Europe's premier manufacturer of construction equipment and
exports 72% of its products to 140 territories around the World. It has
nine subsidiary companies in Europe, the US and Singapore and nine factories
in the UK. Its famous yellow backhoe loaders and excavators have become
part of the landscape and part of the language- the name JCB is even in
both the Oxford and Collins English Dictionaries. These machines are the
world's top selling brand of their type.
Sir Anthonys father started JCB
on the day Anthony was born, and his early memories are of travelling
with his father in their pick-up truck to buy second-hand war equipment
axles, steel, wheels, chassis etc. From the age of 19 he went through
the traditional bosss son routine assembling machines, working
in the export division, and as a rep on the road in the UK
and Northern Ireland. When he took over the reins he had just spent a
year in charge of sales and finance.
Becoming chairman and managing director
at the age of 29 was a shock, he told a journalist for International Construction
magazine. Youth helped, he went on, because then you
dont think of the downside. I think the responsibility of what I
had been landed with sank home a couple of days later. I think my father
thought that if I made a mess of it he could always come back!
For those of you graduating today and
starting out on your own careers, what advice can Sir Anthony Bamford
offer you? What has been the secret of his success? The fact that
we have ploughed our own furrow, remained a private company and not ventured
into other businesses. That has been my philosophy. Ive kept it
simple. If you take a look at the company web site you will find
strong evidence of this philosophy but also much more. You will find the
concern for the arts, the environment and education are as high on the
agenda as building a successful and profitable business. The latest news
on the web site concerns a clarinet concert on the companys lakeside
at Rocester. A truly multi-faceted company.
It was 19 years to the day, at an identical
ceremony to this one, that Loughborough University had the honour to award
Sir Anthonys father, Joseph Cyril Bamford, the degree of Doctor
of Technology. Today, 19 years later, it therefore gives great pleasure
to say almost the same words again:
Chancellor, I present to you and the University, Sir Anthony Bamford, for the award of the degree of Doctor of Technology, honoris causa.
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