Sir Peter Rigby awarded France’s highest civilian honour
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Sir Peter Rigby has become the first British born businessman to receive France’s highest honour – the Legion d’honneur – in recognition of his services to the French economy and promoting strong business relations between the UK and its nearest continental neighbour.
Only occasionally awarded to non-French nationals, Sir Peter’s elevation to the prestigious order sees him join Bill and Melinda Gates, Sir Paul McCartney, and General Dwight Eisenhower in receiving the award.
His ground-breaking appointment to the rank of Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur recognises an extraordinary journey for Rigby Group’s French business, which began with the establishment of technology division SCC – with a staff of just two – in 1998 and now sees the company employ some 3,300 people at 23 city locations across the Republic.
Most commonly awarded to members of the international military, the award praises the Rigby Group founder’s ongoing commitment to maintaining positive cross border business relations, with the French Ambassador’s citation noting: “In bestowing this decoration France recognises your important contribution to the French economy and your effort to reinforce business relations between our two countries.”
Rigby Group, which is headquartered in Stratford-upon-Avon, is one of the largest private businesses in the Midlands.
Sir Peter founded Specialist Computer Centres (SCC) in 1975 and is now chairman and chief executive of the eponymous parent group which has wide-ranging interests in technology, airports, hotels, aviation, real estate and finance.
The group operates 115 companies in 20 countries, employing more than 8,500 people.
Sir Peter, who was knighted by the Queen in 2002 for his services to technology and business, has overseen 23 years of steady growth in the group’s French businesses, building through a blend of organic growth and acquisition to create an operation that recorded revenues of €2bn Euros in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2021.
Sir Peter said: “I have always passionately believed in the importance of building positive relationships with neighbours and colleagues beyond the UK’s borders and am both grateful and deeply honoured by my appointment to the Legion d’honneur.
“It has been a great privilege to be able to see the birth of our business in France through to its present position and I’m also grateful to the many good people and the senior management who have helped to make the company what it is today. I see this great honour not simply as recognition for myself but for the company and the team
who’ve helped create and develop our business into what it has become today.”