William Brown (industrial relations expert)

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Willie Brown
Born22 April 1945
Died1 August 2019 (aged 74)
Alma materWadham College, Oxford
Known forIndustrial Relations
Scientific career
InstitutionsWolfson College, Cambridge, University of Warwick

William Arthur Brown, CBE (22 April 1945 – 1 August 2019[1]), also known as Willie Brown, was an academic specialising in the field of industrial relations,[2] who served as Master of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Education and Academic Career[edit]

Brown was born in Leeds, where his father Arthur Joseph Brown, CBE, FBA (1914-2003) was Professor of Economics (1947–1979) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (1975-1977) at the University of Leeds .[3]

After attending Leeds Grammar School and graduating from Wadham College, Oxford, Brown worked at the National Board for Prices and Incomes as an economic assistant. From there he went to the new University of Warwick, moving to the Economic and Social Research Council's Industrial Relations Research Unit when it was established at Warwick in 1970. Ten years later he became its Director.[4]

In 1985 Brown was elected as a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge[5] and also became the fourth Montague Burton Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Cambridge,[6] a position he held until 2012 when he was awarded the status of emeritus professor.[7]

In 2000 he became the Master of Darwin College, Cambridge.[8] He announced his retirement from the post of Master and was succeeded by Professor Mary Fowler in October 2012.[9]

At Cambridge University Brown served as Chair of the Faculty of Economics and Politics and was Chair of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. He was also the chairman of Board of Graduate Studies as the Vice-Chancellor's deputy.

Brown was one of the representatives of Oxford School of Industrial Relations. Brown's research was concerned with workplace bargaining, pay determination, and the effect of legal change and outside intervention on labour relations. For more than twenty years he served as an ACAS arbitrator, was a member of ACAS Council, and a member of the Low Pay Commission since it was established to manage the National Minimum Wage in 1997.[4][10]


In 2002 Brown was awarded a CBE for services to employment relations.[4]



  1. ^ "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2014. Prof William Brown, Master of Darwin College, Cambridge, 66
  2. ^ Cambridge University Faculty of Economics
  3. ^ The Independent, Obituary, Published 6 March 2003
  4. ^ a b c Darwin College:William Brown biography
  5. ^ Warwick University - Summary of Papers
  6. ^ Cambridge University database
  7. ^ List of emeritus professors at the University of Cambridge Cambridge University Reporter, 19 December 2012
  8. ^ Darwin College, Cambridge website
  9. ^ Darwin College News
  10. ^ Low Pay Commission Press Release, 18 June 1998


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Herbert Turner
Montague Burton Professor of Industrial Relations, Cambridge University
1985 - 2012
Succeeded by
Coen Teulings
Preceded by
G. E. R. Lloyd
Master of Darwin College, Cambridge
2000 - 2012
Succeeded by
Mary Fowler