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Queen honours Fellow and former Visiting Professor

Posted on 06/01/2011
Sir Alec Reed

Sir Alec Reed

The School of Management is delighted to hear that Professor Alec Reed CBE, FCMA, FCIM, FIPD, and founder of Reed, a UK-based, family-owned and run group of employment-focused companies, was awarded a knighthood for services to business and to charity in the New Year’s Honours.

Sir Alec has had a long standing connection to Royal Holloway and the School of Management. He was a Council member from 1979-85, and Chair of the Finance Committee from 1982-88. He played a key role in establishing Royal Holloway Business Partnership, which eventually became Research and Enterprise. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1988. He was active in supporting the development of the School of Management and for many years he taught a popular 3rd year undergraduate course entitled Leadership Innovation and Enterprise. He has given several generous donations to support research in the School. When I joined the School in January 1998 it was as the Reed Professor in Organisation Studies with support from an endowment from Sir Alec. More recently Sir Alec has been connected to the Entrepreneurship Initiative in the College, and assessing projects by students on the new MSc in Entrepreneurship in the School of Management.

Sir Alec established Reed in 1960 and has had an active interest in promoting education, charity and socially and environmentally sustainable business. From its inception Sir Alec has ensured that an ethos of involvement in charitable and social initiatives has been integral to the company's mission and aims. The School of Management puts an emphasis on understanding the role of business within society and for society – seeing business as a diverse social actor across different country contexts, and in broader terms than those of narrow economic calculation.

Some of the initiatives include the Reed Foundation, which is a charitable foundation set up by Sir Alec, with funds supporting charitable projects and one-off donations. TheBigGive is a Reed initiative that aims to introduce donors to charitable projects in their field of interest. The website holds details of over 7,000 charities working all over the world. Reed established Give As You Earn scheme allowing employees to give to charities of their choice in a tax efficient manner. The scheme is one of the most successful in the UK and Reed was highly commended in the National Pay Awards. In September 2009, Reed launched a Short Film Competition with a top prize of £10,000 – Sign Language was a recent winner (you can watch Sign Language at www.virginmediashorts.co.uk).

People have been central to Sir Alec’s conception of good business practice and in 2001 the CIPD published Innovation in Human Resource –Tooling up for the Talent Wars; and in 2003 McGraw Hill published, Capitalism is Dead, Peoplism Rules, his philosophical statement on the centrality of human labour to the modern business organisation. An overview of his thesis was given at the Millennium Reed Lecture, ‘Peoplism: The New Economy’ which formed part of a series of high profile lectures sponsored by Sir Alec at Royal Holloway.

Sir Alec demonstrates the best elements of business leadership, showing that management involves theory, values and a social grounding in a societal context, but that at the same time it is a practical activity that creates economic value and transforms lives.

Professor Chris Smith
Head of School, School of Management, RHUL


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