The Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering has announced its decision to nominate Sir John Parker FREng, Chairman of National Grid and Anglo American plc, as the Academy’s next President, to serve for a three year term from July 2011. 

The Council also nominated Sir William Wakeham KB FREng, Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton, to serve as the Academy’s Senior Vice President.  In this role, which also runs for a three year term, he will act as the President’s deputy.

Both appointments require ratification at the Academy’s annual general meeting on 11 July 2011.

The Academy’s current President Lord Browne of Madingley said:  “The Council is delighted to recommend to the Fellowship such an outstanding engineer to lead the Academy through the next stage of its development. As the Academy enters its 35th year, John Parker’s experience will help us to build new partnerships with engineering industry in our mission to make the UK a place where innovation and entrepreneurship can flourish.

”Together with Bill Wakeham as Senior Vice President with his wealth of experience in academia and public policy, the Academy will have a powerful team in place to lead it into the new decade.”

Notes for editors

  1. Sir John Parker studied Naval Architecture and Mechanical Engineering at the College of Technology and Queens University, Belfast and joined the ship design team at Harland and Wolff in 1964. After extensive ship design and research experience he held a number of senior management positions in technical, production and ship sales.

    He was appointed Managing Director of Austin and Pickersgill (Shipbuilders) Sunderland in 1974. Following nationalisation of the shipbuilding industry, he was appointed to the Board of the British Shipbuilders Corporation in 1978, later becoming Deputy Chief Executive. He returned to Harland & Wolff (1983–93) as Chairman and Chief Executive. 

    Sir John joined Babcock International plc as CEO in 1993, becoming Chairman and CEO in 1994. In 1997, he became a Non-executive Director of British Gas, which led to his becoming Chairman of the Lattice Group on its demerger from BG Group in 2000. Lattice merged with National Grid in 2002, with Sir John becoming Chairman of the combined company, National Grid Transco.

    Sir John is currently Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Making things better Campaign Board. He has been Non-executive Director of the Industrial Development Board of Northern Ireland (1983-1986), British Coal Corporation (1986-1993), GKN plc (1993-2002), BG plc (1997-2000) and Brambles Industries plc (2001-2003). He was Chairman of Firth Rixson plc (1999-2003) and Non-executive Director and subsequently Deputy Chairman of P&O Princess Cruises plc (2000-2003). He was Chairman RMC Group from 2002 and led the Group’s transformation and agreed sale to Cemex of Mexico in 2005. He was appointed Deputy Chairman of P&O in February 2005 and Chairman May 2005. He led the Group’s agreed sale to DP World (Dubai) in early 2006.
  2. Professor Sir William Wakeham retired as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton in September 2009 after 8 years in that position.  He began his career with a training in Physics at Exeter University at both undergraduate and doctoral level.
  3. In 1971, after a postdoctoral period in USA at Brown University, he took up a lectureship in the Chemical Engineering Department at Imperial College London and became Head of Department in 1988. By 1999 he was Pro-Rector (Research), Deputy Rector and Pro-Rector (Resources) at Imperial College. He oversaw the College's merger with a series of medical schools and stimulated its entrepreneurial activities.

    Since 2009 he has been Vice President and Honorary International Secretary of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is a Council Member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Chair of its Audit Committee.  He has, until this year been Chair of the University and Colleges Employers Association and the Employers Pensions Forum. In 2008 he chaired a Review of Physics as a discipline in the UK for Research Councils UK and in 2010, undertook a Review for RCUK of the effectiveness of Full Economic Costing of Research.
  4. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  5. Former Presidents of the Academy include some of the UK’s top industrialists and academics, see for details:

    2006-2011             Lord Browne of Madingley Kt FREng FRS
    2001-2006             Lord Broers FREng HonFMedSci FRS
    1996-2001             Sir David Davies CBE FREng FRS
    1991-1996             Sir William Barlow FREng
    1986-1991             Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng
    1981-1986             Viscount Caldecote KBE DSC DL FREng
    1976-1981             Lord Hinton of Bankside OM KBE FREng FRS 

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0636; email: Jane Sutton