A reluctant English graduate turned IT professional, Geoff’s career began as a trainee at NCR in London in the early 1960s. His role as a programmer / analyst was followed in 1966 by a period at CEIR, where he met his wife Moira and then created systems for Babcock and Wilcox as an analyst. His next big move was to UNIVAC (1968) to support their DMS 1100 database system - which took him from Hemel Hempstead to Spain for two years, eventually returning to the UK and a job as Director of Support for UNIVAC-UK.
A move to Shell followed in 1974, where Geoff headed up their software support team in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester. He found the culture congenial and stayed until a health scare and semi-retirement in 1993. Consultancy roles followed, including as Chairman of UKERNA, which was a quango running JANET(UK) and heading up the University of London Computer Centre. He was then director of ULCC (2003-5) and president of the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (2005-7). Geoff also analysed the success of large publicly funded projects, as high-risk team leader for Gateway reviews, instigated by the Cabinet Office (2006-10).
Throughout his long and varied career, Geoff was a great advocate of BCS, paying his three guineas a year to join in 1966. He was active in a couple of specialist groups in the 1970s, but his main connection with BCS started in 1981. As part of a group in Shell, who were tasked with developing a skills framework for career development within IT, he decided to adopt the Professional Development Scheme - a BCS product. This led to Geoff becoming more involved with BCS and being vice President for Professional Formation for eight years from 1994.
Geoff’s tenure as president at BCS was devoted to promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities - and, more importantly, making computing more accessible - a legacy the charity is still committed to today. He also introduced the hugely successful ECDL to BCS and as President, he initiated the change to a smaller trustee board.
In 2010, Geoff was awarded the Outstanding Contribution of IT Award and was also awarded an honorary D.Tech by the University of Wolverhampton. His mantra for success in IT was:
‘Whatever you choose to do, whatever you think you might do in the long term, you’ve got to build your career on a bedrock of competence in some field. It doesn’t matter what field, but you have to be really good at something before you start moving off. You need to remember that in computing and IT, just as in any other field, you need to tell the truth, and do what you promise. You’ve got to be ethical.’
Geoff is survived by his wife, Moira, four children Dan, Clare, Isabel and Helen and six grandchildren, Daniel, Joseph, Thomas, William, Freddy and Esmé.