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John Parker (businessman)

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John Parker
Parker in 2011
Born (1942-04-08) 8 April 1942 (age 82)
County Down, Northern Ireland

Sir Thomas John Parker GBE FREng (born 8 April 1942) is a British businessman. He is chairman of Laing O'Rourke and former chairman of Pennon Group, a director of Carnival Corporation & plc and lead non-executive director at the Cabinet Office.[1] He has been a director or chairman of numerous other public companies including Airbus, Anglo American plc, Babcock International, British Gas, DP World, Lattice Group, National Grid plc and Ombu Group. He is a past President of the Royal Academy of Engineering,[2] patron at the Centre for Process Innovation and a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford.

Early life[edit]

Parker was born into a farming family in County Down, Northern Ireland. He attended Belfast College of Technology (since 1991 called Belfast Metropolitan College). In 1958, at age 17, he joined Harland and Wolff as an apprentice naval architect (engineer). At Queen's University Belfast he was awarded an Honorary DSc degree in Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture.


The Parker Review[edit]

Between 2016 and 2022, Parker was Chair of the eponymous Parker Review, an independent review which considers how to improve the ethnic and cultural diversity of UK boards to better reflect their employee base and the communities they serve.[12] The first review, published in 2017, set out seven recommendations, including a "One by '21" target. Its aim was that all FTSE 100 boards should have at least one director from an ethnic minority background by December 2021.[13] This was a relative success, with 89 FTSE 100 companies and 128 FTSE 250 companies having ethnic minority representation on their boards as of 31 December 2021.[14]


He was knighted for services to defence and shipbuilding in 2001.[15][16][17] He was the Chancellor of the University of Southampton[16] from 2006 to 2011,[18] as well as being a governor of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.[16] Other appointments have included membership of the Prime Minister's Business Council for Britain[19] and non-executive director at the Bank of England.[20] He was President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects from 1996 to 1999. In 2012, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE), for services to Industry and to the voluntary sector.[21][22] He was conferred with Honorary Fellowship of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (HonFIES) in 2012.[23] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 1983.[2] He was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (HonFIET) in 2014.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Parker married Emma, a former Latin teacher and pianist, in 1967; they have two children.[citation needed] Parker is a Member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.


  1. ^ "Government job for Laing O'Rourke chairman". Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "List of Fellows". Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "From Harland and Wolff apprentice to Anglo American director: Sir John Parker's recipe for success" – via www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Vice President – Sir John Parker". The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity. 6 January 2016. Archived from the original on 27 August 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ "P&O Princess Cruises plc". Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Biography: Sir John Parker". Carnival Corporation. Archived from the original on 5 July 2017 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ a b Pagano, Margareta (17 January 2010). "Sir John Parker: 'A man you want on your side, and not one to cross'". Independent.co.uk. Archived from the original on 13 June 2022. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  8. ^ "University of Southampton". Southampton.ac.uk. 13 July 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  9. ^ DP World Archived 22 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Airbus Group". Airbus Group. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Ombu Group". Ombu Group. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Ethnic diversity of UK boards: the Parker review". GOV.UK. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  13. ^ "The Parker Review - Encouraging greater diversity of UK boards". The Parker Review. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  14. ^ "Nearly all FTSE 100 companies have met the Parker Review's 'One before 2021' target to improve ethnic diversity of FTSE 100 boards". www.ey.com. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  16. ^ a b c "Profile: Sir John Parker, National Grid chairman". London: The Daily Telegraph. 20 February 2008. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  17. ^ Stiff, Peter (25 August 2008). "Business big shot: Sir John Parker, Chairman of National Grid". The Times. London. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  18. ^ "CBI president to be next Chancellor of the University of Southampton". University of Southampton. 12 April 2011. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Business Council for Britain". UK Government. Archived from the original on 9 January 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  20. ^ "Bank of England – The Court of Directors". Bank of England. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  21. ^ THE LONDON GAZETTE SATURDAY 16 JUNE 2012 SUPPLEMENT No. 1 Archived 25 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours List 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Honorary Fellows". IES. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  24. ^ "Honorary Fellows". The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Retrieved 31 January 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Autobiography: Parker, Sir John: The View from the Bridge, Endeavour Quill (2018); ISBN 978-1-91144-579-1

External links[edit]

Board Profiles:


Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the Royal Academy of Engineering
September 2011– August 2014
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Southampton
Succeeded by
Business positions
Preceded by Chairman of Anglo American plc
Succeeded by
Incumbent (to 31 October 2017)
Preceded by Chairman of P&O
Succeeded by
Incumbent Vice President, DP World
following take over
Preceded by
James Hood Ross OBE
prior to merger with Lattice Group
Chairman of National Grid plc
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of Babcock International
Succeeded by
Gordon Arden Campbell CBE, FREng