John Chisholm

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Sir John Chisholm became the Executive Chairman of QinetiQ in 2005, having become the first chief executive of its predecessor, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (renamed QinetiQ in 2001).[1]

He became non-executive Chairman of QinetiQ in October 2006. Sir John is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institute of Physics, and is a Trustee and President of the Institute of Engineering & Technology (formerly the Institution of Electrical Engineers).[2]

He is a frequent speaker on change management, technology and defence science issues. He has been President of the Electrical Engineering Association and was a founder member of the UK Government's Technology Foresight programme. Knighted in 1999, Chisholm was appointed as the Chairman of the Medical Research Council. [3]

In 1991, Chisholm was asked by the UK Ministry of Defence to organise a number of their research organisations into a single entity, which eventually became the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) - the largest science and technology organisation in the UK.[4] In July 2001, three quarters of DERA was spun off to form a new private company called QinetiQ.[5] In late 2005 Chisholm became Executive Chairman of QinetiQ, being replaced as CEO by Graham Love. According to The Sunday Times, his annual pay was £467,000 in 2004.[6]

Chisholm's £129,000 investment in the company was later worth £23m (a 17,829.5% return on his investment, almost 180 times the initial value of the investment - suggesting the company was undervalued and the taxpayer was ripped off).[7][8] Chisholm made millions when the research division of QinetiQ was privatised under the stewardship of Lewis Moonie. American private equity company Carlyle Group bought the assets for an eighth of their value. Chisholm managed to turn £129,000 into £22 million when the research arm was floated.[9] Speaking to the Guardian, Lord Gilbert, who gave evidence to the National Audit Office in relation to the matter, said:

At the time I told the defence secretary (George Robertson) that this would be a bloody scandal but the treasury under Gordon Brown insisted on selling a stake in the agency to cut the defence budget... Frankly the money made by by the leading civil servants was obscene. This is shown by the facts themselves. They did not contribute anything to the turnaround of the company.[10]

In 2008, the chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee accused Chisholm of "profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer".[11] In response, Chisholm stated that the criticisms were “grossly unfair”,[12] and that "the reshaping of Qinetiq had been the greatest achievement of my working life”.[13] At that time, his stake was worth just over £21m.[14]

Chisholm was a founding member of the British Government's Technology Foresight programme, and has been President of the Electrical Engineering Association. He was President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (2005-2006) and President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (2006). He was knighted in 1999.[15]

Appointed Chairman of the Medical Research Council by the Government, a position he took up in October 2006, he succeeded Sir Anthony Cleaver who had been in the post since 1998. Cleaver welcomed Chisholm's appointment, stating that he was a strong advocate for research. "Sir John's passion in promoting the value of research will be invaluable to the Medical Research Council as we enter a further period of change." [16]

References

  1. Jonathan Sibun, Qinetiq chairman Sir John Chisholm set to retire, The Telegraph, 7 Feb 2009, accessed 6 Apr 2010
  2. Sir John Chisholm, Brunel University website, accessed 6 Apr 2010
  3. Medical Research Council Website News and Events Last accessed November 12th 2007
  4. Biographies: Sir John Chisholm CPhys FInstP, Key Insight Business Briefing & Dinner, 10 October 2005, Institute of Physics, Homeland Security and Defence R&D in the UK, acc 6 Apr 2010
  5. Biographies: Sir John Chisholm CPhys FInstP, Key Insight Business Briefing & Dinner, 10 October 2005, Institute of Physics, Homeland Security and Defence R&D in the UK, acc 6 Apr 2010
  6. Andrew Davidson, The man who put the Q into QinetiQ, Sunday Times, 27 Mar 2005, acc 6 Apr 2010
  7. BBC Qinetiq deal 'cost UK taxpayers' 22 November 2007
  8. David Hencke, Auditors condemn rushed MoD sale that turned civil servants into multimillionaires, Guardian 21st November 2007, acc 6 Apr 2010
  9. David Hencke, Auditors condemn rushed MoD sale that turned civil servants into multimillionaires, Guardian 21st November 2007, acc 6 Apr 2010
  10. David Hencke, Auditors condemn rushed MoD sale that turned civil servants into multimillionaires, Guardian 21st November 2007, acc 6 Apr 2010
  11. Jonathan Sibun, Qinetiq chairman Sir John Chisholm set to retire, The Telegraph, 7 Feb 2009, accessed 6 Apr 2010
  12. Dominic O’Connell, £20m boss of Qinetiq set to retire, Times Online Feb 8 2009, acc 6 Apr 2010
  13. Jonathan Sibun, Qinetiq chairman Sir John Chisholm set to retire, The Telegraph, 7 Feb 2009, accessed 6 Apr 2010
  14. Dominic O’Connell, £20m boss of Qinetiq set to retire, Times Online Feb 8 2009, acc 6 Apr 2010
  15. Biographies: Sir John Chisholm CPhys FInstP, Key Insight Business Briefing & Dinner, 10 October 2005, Institute of Physics, Homeland Security and Defence R&D in the UK, acc 6 Apr 2010
  16. MRC MRC News Release 8 May 2006
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