Huddersfield graduate and business leader appointed university’s new Chancellor

Photo: © 2018 David Levenson
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Huddersfield graduate and former 3M CEO Sir George Buckley has been appointed as the University of Huddersfield’s new Chancellor

One of the world’s most respected business figures, Buckley, is to be the new Chancellor of the university, where he was himself a student before launching a career that would see him rise to the top of leading multi-national companies, succeeding the Duke of York who stood down earlier this year.

The former chairman and CEO of giant US-based technology company 3M, Buckley was knighted in 2011. He currently holds posts that include the chairmanship of UK manufacturer and technology innovator Smiths Group and Stanley Black & Decker, who are the world’s largest makers of hand and power tools. He is also a member of the board of Hitachi, the Japanese industrial conglomerate, and is recently retired from the board of Pepsico, the US food and drink giant.

He is the son of a Sheffield steelworker and raised by foster parents. He had always harboured an ambition to become an electrical engineer and attended a school for physically disabled children before leaving at the age of 15.

He eventually went on to gain a BSc in electrical and electronic engineering in 1972 before acquiring a PhD in engineering in 1976

A varied career followed, in the steel industry and working for the Central Electricity Generating Board, before he was recruited by General Motors and moved to the USA. In 2000 he became chairman of the Brunswick Corporation and in 2005 was appointed chairman, president and CEO of 3M, whose portfolio of iconic brands includes Scotch Tape and Post-it notes.

The business leader has often stated that his success was based on the scientific and technical training he received at Huddersfield, and he has maintained close ties with the institution, receiving an honorary doctorate in 2003. He has since given his name in 2009 to a state-of-the-art lecture theatre and in 2013 the University’s new business and innovation centre – which provides facilities for enterprises that range from student start-ups to established firms – the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.

“My memories of Huddersfield are very positive,” Buckley. “I had a superb education here, and I will be forever grateful for that. We had some excellent teachers and Huddersfield set me off on the right path towards the future.”

The Chair of the University of Huddersfield Council, Jonathan Thornton, is delighted that Sir George is to take on the Chancellorship, a post that has also been occupied by the famed actor Sir Patrick Stewart.

“Sir George Buckley is probably the best example I can think of as a person who has used education – alongside his capacity for hard work and his visionary qualities – as the stepping stone for a truly exceptional career. He will be an enormous inspiration to our students, showing them what is possible,” said Thornton.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan said: “Sir George has been tremendously generous in his support for the University over the years and he has been a regular visitor, giving numerous presentations to both students and staff.

“He is a truly inspirational individual that ran one of the most innovative companies in the world, and his advice is highly sought after by both Governments and major corporations. Sir George is a proud Huddersfield graduate and a fantastic role model for our students, and I do not doubt that he will be an amazing Chancellor.”

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