Skip to main content
George Cox

Sir George Cox

PhD Candidate


Sir George Cox’s background embraces technology, design, entrepreneurship and corporate management, all on an international scale.

Having started his career as an aeronautical engineer he worked in the Flight Test department of Vickers Armstrong’s, before moving out into manufacturing management, and subsequently moving into the (then new) field of what was known as ‘computers’, later emerging as information technology.

Having worked as a management consultant and appointed head of a US-owned practice in the UK, he became co-founder of the research and consulting group, Butler Cox & Partners in 1977 and served as the company’s Chief Executive throughout its international expansion and subsequent flotation on the London Stock Exchange (as Butler Cox plc), until its sale in 1991. He was Executive Chairman of PE International plc from 1991 to 1993, and Managing Director of Unisys Europe from 1994 until 1999.

He served as Director General of the Institute of Directors from 1999 to 2004 and was Chairman of the Design Council from 2005 to 2010.

Sir George was Chair of Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Warwick from 2012 till 2017.

He has served on various corporate boards in the UK, Europe and the United States, including NYSE-Euronext (the New York Stock Exchange Group, where he was Chair-elect) and Bombardier Shorts, the aerospace manufacturer. He also chaired the humanitarian charity, Merlin (now part of Save the Children).

He also served as a Visiting Professor at the Business School of Royal Holloway University of London in the 1990s.


Papers and Publications

Sir George has spoken at conferences on innovation and business-related topics in some 23 countries around the world, including sessions at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

He has also written for the Times, Financial Times and Telegraph, and various journals, and has been a frequent contributor to radio and television news and current affairs programmes.

In 2005 he carried out the influential Cox Review (of Creativity in UK Business) commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer: the outcome of which had far-reaching effects and attracted widespread international interest. In 2012/13 he carried out an independent review for HM Opposition on Overcoming Short-termism in British Business.

He has also co-authored two books on aviation history. Facilitated by unprecedented access to aerospace company archives, these describe the complete history of the design and development of US military air transportation:

  • US Secret Projects Airlifters 1941-1961 pub. Crécy 2019
  • US Secret Projects Airlifters 1962-Present Day pub. Crécy 2020


Qualifications and Professional Recognition

Sir George has a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering from Queen Mary University of London (1962), where he was elected an Honorary Fellow in 2007. He also holds the following Honorary Doctorates:

DUniv Middlesex

DBA Wolverhampton

DDes De Montfort

DCL Northumbria

DSc Huddersfield

He was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at the University of Warwick in 2017.

He is a Companion of the Royal Aeronautical Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineering Designers, and was the President of the latter from 2005-7.

He is a Companion of the Institute of Management; an Honorary Life Fellow of the Institute of Directors; a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants; and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists. He is a Member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants and a Freeman of the City of London.

He has served on the Councils of both the Management Consultancies Association and the Institute of Management Consultants, and he was President of the Management Consultancies Association in 1991. He was elected Master of the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants in 1997 and later served on the Court of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

Sir George’s personal interests include rowing, where he represented the University of London and later became the University’s Chief Coach. He also coached two Oxford Boat Race crews and was a coach with the GB team at two World Championships. He later served as Chair of Selectors for GB men’s rowing, presiding over the selection of the teams for the 1999 World Championships and 1980 Olympic Games. He was President of Leander Club from 2008 to 2013, and President of the University of London Boat Club from 2014 to 2021.

He was knighted for his services to business in 2005.


PhD Topic

Throughout his varied career, Sir George has retained a passionate interest in aviation, its history and its impact on the world. Pursuing this interest, he applied to undertake a doctoral research programme in Department of War Studies looking at a topic that he felt had never been systematically and properly explored, namely ‘The Accuracy of the West’s Assessment of Soviet Aerospace Capability During the Cold War and the Impact this had on Defence Strategy and Western Aerospace Development.’