Rishton read economics at Nottingham University.
He joined Ford Motor Company and worked with the company for 15 years, qualifying as an accountant and later becoming finance director of the company's Portuguese and Spanish operations. He joined British Airways in 1994 as the head of finance for the United States division. He became its chief finance officer in 2001. When the September 11 attacks took place, he was recognized for encouraging a program to re-structure the company and reduce its debt. He left BA in September 2005. Rishton joined Ahold in January 2006 as finance director and in November 2007 became head of the retailer replacing Anders Moberg. In March 2011, he was appointed Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce.
Rishton has three children. Eldest born in 1993, his middle 1995, and his youngest 1997, they are all boys, currently attending Royal Holloway university, Loughborough university and Bradfield College.
- Jones, Rhys; Potter, Mark (30 September 2010). "Rolls-Royce CEO to retire". Reuters. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- Moore, James (15 November 2011). "The business on: John Rishton, chief executive, Rolls-Royce". London: Independent. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- King, Ian (19 November 2009). "Business big shot: John Rishton, chief executive of Ahold". The Times.
- "profile". businessweek. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
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