William R. Miller (businessman)

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William Robert Miller CBE (born 1928), sometimes known as Bill Miller, is a British-born businessman who was Vice-Chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb until 1990. Subsequently, he has become a philanthropist and supporter of scientific, artistic, educational and ecclesiastical causes.

Miller was born in 1928 in Paddington, West London,[1] one of three brothers.[2] In 1939 he was evacuated from the war with his mother and brothers to Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, whilst his father stayed behind. After a year at a state school, he won a scholarship to Culford School, which he attended until 1946 before winning a further scholarship to read PPE at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Three years of National Service in the RAF intervened once the family moved back to London, and he took up his place at Oxford in 1949, graduating in 1952.

Upon leaving university, Miller began a career in the pharmaceuticals industry with Pfizer, rising to become Area Manager for Central Europe and Africa, before moving to US-based Bristol Laboratories in 1964 as Resident Overseas Manager for Europe (Bristol became Bristol-Myers Squibb, or BMS, in 1989). In 1985 he became Vice-Chairman of the company with worldwide responsibility for the pharmaceutical and nutritional businesses, including research. He retired in 1990.

With his second wife, Irene Diaman Miller, who had graduated from the Stern School of Business in 1954, Miller settled in New York City with three children from his first marriage to Rita (Ian Miller, Jane Tierney, Judy Miller) and two from Irene’s.[3] Together, they established the Miller Family Foundation, through which they have made sizeable bequests to institutions such as the Manhattan School of Music and Bill Miller's former school and university.

Miller was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2000 for services to British Charities in the US and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to UK/US relations in business, and for philanthropy.[4]

Directorships and interests[edit]

Miller’s portfolio of Board directorships since retiring from BMS is extensive, the following of which is a selection:

In addition Bill Miller and the Miller Family Foundation have been involved as directors, benefactors or supporters of educational, artistic and charitable institutions, of which the following are a cross-section:


  1. ^ Ref. to Bill Miller birth date [1] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  2. ^ Biographical details contained in article on philanthropic donation in The Telegraph 19/06/01 [2] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  3. ^ Biographical details contained in Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory newsletter [3] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  4. ^ "No. 59808". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 June 2011. p. 23. 
  5. ^ Manhattan School of Music - details of Miller Hall [4] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  6. ^ Metropolitan Opera Association Directors [5] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  7. ^ St Edmund Hall, Oxford list of Honorary Fellows [6] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  8. ^ Culford School scholarships [7] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  9. ^ St George’s Society of New York [8] Retrieved on 2010-01-03
  10. ^ Biographical details contained in interview for St Pauls Cathedral Foundation 07/02/09 [9] Retrieved on 2010-01-03