Bob Tricker

Professor R.I. (Bob) Tricker was educated at King Henry VIII Grammar School in Coventry, and studied at Harvard and Oxford Universities. His doctorate was awarded by the Council for National Academic Awards for his work on information systems and corporate strategy. He left school in 1950, at the age of 16, with both School Certificate and Higher School Certificate and was articled to a local chartered accountant, gaining experience of many types of business, from fish and chip shops to public companies, and qualifying at 21.

Two years National Service followed as a sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy, appointed first as assistant secretary to Captain Sir John Walsham, the captain of HMS Thunderer, and then as cash officer in HMS Maidstone, a submarine depot ship, which was then the flag ship of the British Home Fleet, sailing around Europe, the Atlantic, and the West Indies.

On leaving the Royal Navy, he decided that auditing and life in a professional accountant’s office were not for him, and he was appointed financial controller of a company with the unlikely name of the Unbrako Socket Screw Company, the British subsidiary of Standard Pressed Steel Company of America. From 1958 to 1964, he learned the practical aspects of management accounting, finance, and the management of people.

He then joined Ashorne Hill, the British Iron and Steel Federation’s Management College, as a member of its directing staff. This led to a scholarship at the Harvard Business School’s International Teachers’ Program (ITP) 1965 – 1966, where he took MBA classes and courses on case writing and teaching. Returning from Harvard, he was appointed P.D. Leake Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Management Studies and published his first book, The Accountant in Management. Barclays Bank Professor of Management Information Systems followed at the new University of Warwick, and four years later he was invited back to Oxford as Director of the Oxford Centre for Management Studies, which subsequently became Templeton College, before becoming part of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. He was the founder editor of the research journal Corporate Governance: An International Review in 1993.

The divisive clashes between college heads and businessmen, political cliques and power plays, and incredible interpersonal relations on the Management Centre’s Council led him to realise that governance was not management. Ultimately, the Chairman of the Centre’s Council, a businessman, decided that Tricker’s strategy of working with top management was wrong; the Centre should focus on middle management. Tricker was offered a Research Fellowship at Nuffield College (1979 – 1984), where he undertook research into what became known as corporate governance. He served on the Councils of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants.

After five years at Nuffield, he was invited to set up a management development centre for the Hong Kong Government’s Vocational Training Council, which was a stepping-stone to fourteen years in Asia-Pacific as Professor of Finance at the prestigious University of Hong Kong. In the process, he lectured in Australia, China (in the early days of its economic rejuvenation), Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sarawak, Taiwan, and Vietnam (before it had officially opened up to the West). He had a hand in the development of Hong Kong’s corporate governance code, and the governance rules developed by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) in Beijing. He has held professorships at eight universities.

Returning to the UK, he ran courses for the Institutes of Directors in both London and Sydney, taught courses on corporate governance and business ethics for Hong Kong Baptist University, and wrote a distance learning programme on corporate governance for the Hong Kong Open University. He also took part for five years in a corporate governance program for Russian academics sponsored by the Canadian Government at the Schulich Business School in Toronto. In retirement, he writes on corporate governance and business ethics. He has also been Chairman of the town’s renovation company in Brixham, a fishing town in Devon, a shareholder of two heritage sailing fishing trawlers, and deputy launch authority for the Torbay lifeboat.

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