William Davis (journalist)

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William Davis
Born (1933-03-06) 6 March 1933 (age 84)
Hannover, Germany
Nationality British
Occupation journalist, economist, radio and television presenter

William Davis, Knight, Order of Merit of Italian Republic, (born 6 March 1933), is a journalist, broadcaster, editor, company director, and founder of the in-flight magazine High Life. In the early 1990s Davis became chairman of the British Tourist Authority and English Tourist Board. Davis remains an active commentator, broadcasting and publishing books and writing articles.

Early life[edit]

William Davis was born in Hannover, in 1933. He came to Britain aged 16 and adopted British citizenship. At age 18, he was already a journalist and specialised in commentary about economics and financial affairs.


During 1954-1959, William Davis was on the staff of the Financial Times, a British international business newspaper. Lord Beaverbrook appointed Davis the City Editor (1960–1965) of the London Evening Standard and then he went on to become Economics Editor (1965–1968) of The Guardian.[1]

During this time Davis made regular appearances on the BBC's live Budget programmes presented by Ian Trethowan.[2] Davis provided live comment and analysis of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget speech as it was delivered in the House of Commons. There were no microphones or cameras in Parliament at the time, so details were relayed to the BBC studio via a teleprinter.

Davis presented BBC North's financial programme Prospect. He took the idea of popular financial journalism to Grace Wyndham Goldie and developed the idea into The Money Programme for BBC2, which he also presented. Davis was one of the first presenters of the Radio 4 programme The World at One, a role he shared with William Hardcastle.

In 1968 William Davis was elected editor of the satirical magazine Punch and the rival publication Private Eye dubbed him "Kaiser Bill".

Davis has been a Chairman and a Director of several publishing and travel companies. He founded and was Editor-in-Chief of, the in-flight magazine High Life.[3] In the early 1990s William Davis became chairman of the British Tourist Authority and English Tourist Board.[4]

Davis appeared as a contributor on The Pound in Your Pocket a retrospective series of archive programmes shown on BBC Parliament in 2007. The programme marked forty years since the devaluation of the Pound by the British government on 18 November 1967, a subject covered by Davis in his book Three Years' Hard Labour: The Road to Devaluation.


The following are books written by William Davis:

  • Three Years' Hard Labour: The road to devaluation, 1968.
  • Merger Mania, 1970.
  • The Language of Money, 1973.
  • Have Expenses, Will Travel, 1975.
  • It's No Sin to be Rich, 1976.
  • The Best of Everything (editor), 1981.
  • The Rich, 1982.
  • Corporate Infighter's Handbook, 1984.
  • Fantasy: A Practical Guide to Escapism, 1984.
  • The Innovators, 1987.
  • Children of the Rich, 1989.
  • The Lucky Generation, 1995.
  • The Great Myths of Business, 1997.
  • The Rich: A New Study of the Species, 2006.
  • Caviar Dogs, 2008

Book: Merger Mania (1970)[edit]

The book Merger Mania by William Davis was published in 1970 by Constable, London (English language, non-fiction, ISBN 0-09-456640-2, ISBN 978-0-09-456640-8).