John Leighfield CBE

BCS President 1993/94

John Leighfield went to Magdalen College School, Oxford and then read Classics at Exeter College, Oxford. He has an MA from Oxford, Honorary Doctorates from the University of Central England in Birmingham (DUniv), from De Montford University (DTech), from Wolverhampton University (DTech) and from the University of Warwick (DLL). He is a Fellow of the RSA, RGS, CMI, IET and BCS.

Leighfield has pursued a career in IT, initially in the 1962 with the Ford Motor Company where he did pioneering work on computer systems in finance and manufacturing, Plessey (where he was Head of Management Services) and British Leyland (from the early 1970s). In 1987, he led an employee buyout of Istel Ltd, which he had established as a subsidiary of British Leyland. In 1989, the company was subsequently taken over by AT&T. He was the Executive Chairman of AT&T Istel until April 1993.

In November 1993, he joined RM (a British educational computing company) as a non-executive director and in October 1994 became the non-executive Chairman. He took RM through an IPO (onto the main market) and remained Chairman until 2012.

He has been chairman/non-executive director of a number of other IT companies and is currently a Director of Getmapping, the UK's leading supplier of aerial photography, mapping products and data hosting.

Leighfield was President of the British Computer Society (1993-4). In 2003 he received the inaugural BCS Lifetime Achievement Award. He was President of the Computing Services and Software Association (1995-6) and in 2012 received the Intellect Lifetime Achievement Award. He was President of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems (IMIS).

In 2006 he was received the Mountbatten Medal awarded by the IET for an outstanding contribution to the promotion of electronics or information technology.

He has been a member of the Council of University of Warwick, Chairman of the Advisory Board, and an honorary visiting professor at the Warwick Business School and at Warwick Manufacturing Group. He was Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council at the University of Warwick from 2002 to 2011.

He was Chairman of Governors of the WMG Academy for Young Engineers (a UTC) and Chairman of its governing Trust. He was formerly a member of the Development Committee of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

He was a founding member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and was its Master from 2005 to 2006; he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Educators from 2015 to 2016.