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Matthew Bullock

Matthew Bullock

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Mr Matthew Bullock MA is Master of St Edmund's College, Cambridge. He has a long connection with Cambridge University, where he read History at Peterhouse and with the East Anglian Region, where he worked as a banker. Whilst working at Barclays in Cambridge he was heavily involved in the Cambridge Phenomenon and was for six years thereafter the Head of the High Technology Financing Team. He later became the Risk Management Director for the bank and a Managing Director of BZW and Barclays Capital. He then became Chief Executive for 12 years of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society. In the University, he was a founding member of the Judge Business School Advisory Board and its longest serving member (1985-2002), and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the ESRC Centre for Business Research. He served as a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Audit and Business Development Committees of the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke's). In 2013, Matthew was appointed Chairman of The Pathology Partnership, a joint venture between six NHS trusts in East Anglia to combine their pathology services into a single organisation. His experience in the technology sector also resulted in his appointment as Chairman of TAP Biosystems plc (1999-2012). Matthew is a 1596 Foundation Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and a Trustee of Cambridge Past, Present and Future. For his services to the region, he was awarded an Honorary Degree by Anglia Ruskin University in 2005.


The Senate of Anglia Ruskin University is pleased to confer the award of Honorary Doctorate of the University to Matthew Bullock for his contributions to the evolution of the financial services industry; to the development of universities as engines of technological innovation in industry; and to business regeneration.

Matthew Bullock was born in 1949 into one of the most eminent academic families of the generation. His father was Alan Bullock (Lord Bullock), Founding Master of St. Catherine's College, Oxford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford and author of the definitive biographies of Hitler and Stalin. Not surprisingly, he himself graduated with a degree in history but from Peterhouse, Cambridge. His earlier years in an academic hothouse of a family, as he says, were instrumental in providing him with intellectual confidence; comfortability in the company of very bright people (some of whom were academics!); some very broad perspectives on the analysis of various and complex phenomena; and a sense of big directions and movements in the development of policy.

On leaving university, he was deeply interested in an engineering career, but his first appointment at the Confederation of British Industry (1970-74) was as Personal Executive Assistant to the then Director General of CBI, Sir Campbell Adamson and as Secretary to the CBI Financial Policy Committee. These were definitive days in the evolution of British economic policy. There was Edward Heath's determination to enter Europe, and the consequent urgent need for the formulation of CBI policy in this regard. These were the days of prices and incomes policy with such renowned union combatants as Jack Jones, Hugh Scanlon and Len Murray, and though CBI attempted to take the moral high ground through a voluntary incomes policy of its members this was not reciprocated by the TUC. Nonetheless, this experience of policy development at the highest levels greatly strengthened his interests and expertise in painting the "big picture", but also his belief that strategic issues can be fruitfully approached by a collegiate and facilitative style of managerial behaviour - together with periods of quiet reflection induced by the smoking of a pipe!

In 1974, he commenced his twenty-four year career at Barclays in various incarnations and in different organisational settings. Though not an accountant himself, Barclays' policy was to recruit bright people, train them and let them ascend - which is precisely what he did. His first Barclays' assignment was 1974-88 in the Corporate Banking Division, where he became one of the pioneers in the financing and promoting of high technology "spinouts" from Cambridge University and other local electronics firms in what came to be known as the "Cambridge Phenomenon" - one of the outstanding global examples of university-industry synergy. This career thread led to a Transatlantic Banking Fellowship and his appointment as Corporate Finance Director with responsibility for High Technology Financing Strategy.

In 1989 he moved to Leeds as Barclays Regional Director for the retail and commercial bank network, where he presided over a major financial turnaround, restructuring and downsizing without compulsory redundancies. However, a principal interest was the survival and strengthening of the ailing wool industry in Yorkshire, which, though technically sound, was not in good business shape. Here, his priorities, as a commercial banker were to assist the industry to address foreign competition by various strategies such as the adoption of foreign perspectives and practices; the protection of patents and intellectual property; the improvement of the quality of management in the industry; by focussing attention on the value chain and by engendering a sense of common endeavour in a very fragmented and suspicious industry in which companies had no tradition of talking to each other. His successes in these endeavours were accompanied by a resumption of his interests in the university-industry-banking triangle by involving Leeds University's Textile Intelligence Centre in this particular industrial regeneration and he also served as a member of the Governing Body of Leeds University (as he also did in Imperial College and London University).

Further assignments followed with Barclays. In 1993-94, he became Group Senior Executive and Director of Risk Management in the Banking Division - a major trouble shooting and policy development role in sorting out substantial credit risk problems, and creating new methodologies for lending policies and credit risk management, which were swiftly copied by other banks and now form the basis of the international code in these domains. In 1994-99, he became Managing Director of Treasury Relationship Management of BZW/Barclays Capital and developed extensive expertise in multi-disciplinary investment banking and brokering, culminating in his appointment as Group Project Leader which involved the resolution of strategic boundary disputes within the Barclay empire, and resolving issues connected with the new PEPs and ISAs.

In 1999, he moved into the building society world as Chief Executive of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society - a large regional independent building society, where the various strands of his previous incarnations came together in an exciting synergy - policy development and innovation; regional service; problem-solving; and organisational revitalisation, coupled with a strong conviction that the differing needs of young long-term savers and those in later years approaching retirement were not being properly looked after either by traditional building societies or banks whose principal agendas lay elsewhere. As a consequence, he has thus pioneered the concept of the "evolving mutual", and has set about reforming the governance of "mutuality", through the development of new taxonomies and paradigms, which he believes will counter the slow decline of building societies.

As has been mentioned, he has a commitment to the concept of academic entrepreneurship, manifest in research and technology transfer, in other different contexts. This has also been expressed in his membership of university governing bodies; of Cambridge University's ESRC Advisory Board for Business Research; the Advisory Board of the Judge Management Institute and its Chinese Big Business Programme; and chairmanship of the Eastern Regional i10 project and Financial Business Services Sector Group of East of England Development Agency. Nationally, he has also been a member of the Cabinet Advisory Committee on the Application of R and D; and various influential committees of DTI and Engineering Employers' Federation.

Unlike one of our other Honorary Doctorates this year, Sir John Harvey-Jones, formally of CBI, who cites sleeping as a pastime, Matthew Bullock cites the rather more active pursuits of serious long-distance walking and gardening (still, there is thirty years between them)!

Thus, we see in Matthew Bullock one who has played a key role in repositioning a rather large number of organisations (business and academic) through the exercise of formidable skills of strategic policy formation and trouble-shooting, but above all, through a sense of vision regarding the realisation of complex opportunities in a very people-centred manner.

On behalf of Senate I exercise the authority of Senate and confer the award of Honorary Doctorate of the University, honoris causa, upon Matthew Bullock and ask the Vice Chancellor to confer this award."