Ian Ritchie (entrepreneur)
In 1984, Ritchie founded the software company, Office Workstations Limited (OWL) in Edinburgh, after leaving ICL when they closed their Scottish Development Centre at Dalkeith Palace the previous year.
In late 1990, Ritchie met Tim Berners-Lee at a computer fair in Paris. It was there that Berners-Lee told him about a system he was developing to enable users of networked computers to access hypertext documents via URLs contained in document hyperlinks - the system was referred to as the World Wide Web. Thinking this sounded a bit pretentious and was a mouthful to pronounce, Ritchie was not convinced it would come to much and duly rejected the idea as a viable business proposition.
From 1997 onwards, Ritchie became involved in venture capital and was the founding chairman of several Scottish IT companies, including Voxar, VIS Entertainment, Orbital Software Group, and Digital Bridges. He has also been on the board of Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council, and Channel Four Television Corporation.
He was a founding director and chairman of the Scottish Software Federation from 1988 to 1990, and served as President of the British Computer Society from 1998 to 1999.
In the New Year Honours 2003, Ritchie was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to enterprise and education. Ritchie also holds Honorary Doctorates from four Scottish universities.
As of 2008, Ritchie is Chairman of Computer Application Services, Blipfoto Limited, Scapa Technologies and Caspian Learning and a Director of iomart Group plc. Outside of the business world, he is Vice-President for Business of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an Honorary Professor of Heriot-Watt University, a board member of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, a trustee of the National Museums of Scotland, a member of the board of Our Dynamic Earth, and a trustee of the Bletchley Park Trust.
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