He was raised in Cornwall, where his father worked as a surgeon and his mother as a National Health Service (NHS) administrator, and was educated at Charterhouse School, and Queens' College, Cambridge, where he gained a first class degree in Natural Sciences. He worked at the Foreign Office for two years before moving to Reed International and then McKinsey and Co.
He was the first controller of the Audit Commission from 1983 to 1987, and was then Director General of the Confederation of British Industry from 1987 to 1992. In 1992 he became chairman of the Local Government Commission for England that led to a large-scale local government reform in England. He was knighted in 1992.
He was chairman of Tarmac from 1994 to 1999, and the chairman of Kingfisher plc from 1995 to 2001. He became the chairman of Johnson Matthey in April 2006. He has also acted as chairman of West Country Television and as a non-executive director of both National Westminster Bank and National Power.
- "Birthdays", The Independent, 22 August 1994 (Banham was 54 on this date)
- Cope, Nigel (2001) "Sir John Banham: Is this the most confident man in Britain?", The Independent, 4 June 2001, retrieved 2010-02-01
- Cope, Nigel (1995) "Sir John Banham to head Kingfisher", The Independent, 16 October 1995, retrieved 2010-02-01
- "BANHAM IN DERBYSHIRE DEAL WITH GOVERNMENT", Local Government Chronicle, 7 January 1994, retrieved 2010-02-01
- Griffiths, Katherine (2001) "Banham quits but denies Kingfisher rift", The Independent, 7 May 2001, retrieved 2010-02-01
- "John Banham", Chemistry & Industry, May 1, 2006
- "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". bath.ac.uk. University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
|Director of the Confederation of British Industry
1987 - 92
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