John was the Firm's non-solicitor Chairman for 23 years. In 2014, he retired and became Chairman Emeritus.
John's career has embraced the engineering, pharmaceuticals/fine chemicals, biotechnology, hotels, property, racing, mining, retail and media industries. Since 1980, he has served on the boards of a number of companies including as Chairman of Hilton Group (1994 - 2001); Deputy Chairman of BHP Billiton from its creation as a dual-listed company until November 2002; Chairman of Celltech Group (1987-2003); Chairman of Wyndeham Press Group (1990-2003); Chairman of Instore - formerly Brown & Jackson plc - (1992-2013); and Chairman of Oxford Technology VCT plc (1997-2014). He was a director of WPP Group (1993-2004) and currently he is a member of the its Advisory Board. He was also a director of openDemocracy (2000-2014).
John studied law at Cambridge University where he held the law faculty's Squire Scholarship from 1949 to 1953. He was called to the Bar in 1954 but has never practised the law professionally. His early career was spent working for Philips UK, becoming a Board Director in 1966 and continuing in this capacity until 1994. His private business activities included the rescue of the magazine, "History Today" of which he became one of three owners in 1981. He is also an author and publisher.
Articles and Publications
John chaired the committee that produced the "Changing Work" report published by the Fabian Society in 1996. He has written numerous articles on constitutional matters for openDemocracy. He is also an author having written a book about rural self-sufficiency titled 'A Little Piece of England'; a book based on stories from India and Nepal titled 'Tales for Great Grandchildren' and a book about Hindu mythology titled 'Brahma Dreaming' all published by JJ Books.