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John McLean Fox - following the award of an Outstanding Service Medal - addresses the Members' Reception - 20 September 2018...

...fuelling the desire to become a full Livery Company that would enhance the reputation of the management consultancy profession through its charitable activities...


I would like to thank the Master, Wardens and Court Assistants for their generous recognition of my service to the Company in past years. It is quite something to receive such an Award at my stage in life – I’m now 84 – and it is a pleasant reminder that I was once quite active.

It is perhaps difficult to imagine today what it was like when we were a newly formed Guild. We had a name and a collection of members but not much else. We had no defined purpose other than desiring to become a full Livery Company that would enhance the reputation of the management consultancy profession through its charitable activities. This in turn would require us to raise a sum of £300,000 for a Charitable Fund to qualify. So in 1994 the Founder Master, David Miller, set up a small Committee, called the Fundraising Committee, to address these key issues. I was representing the Charities activity, which Mike Jeans and I had started up. Firstly we had to decide what we wanted to achieve, and then how to raise the vast sum required! It was a daunting task, but there was an incentive – lunch at the Caledonian Club in Knightsbridge, just round the corner from where I used to have an office in Grosvenor Crescent! Many are the lunches I enjoyed with David, whilst grappling with intractable Guild issues.

I will try to highlight briefly what happened then. We were building up a recognised service in pro bono consultancy, and later in mentoring with the help of Gordon Stoker and Bill Penney in the early 2000s, which we felt was an asset on which we could build. We wanted to create a vehicle which would make a significant and lasting impact in the charity field (similar to Haberdashers’ Schools in education). The seeds were sown when our good friend Allan Williams introduced me in 1996 to Professor Ian Bruce, who was CE of RNIB at the time. Ian ran an annual series of sponsored Charity Talks, giving impressive case studies from notable charities on each occasion. He had also introduced a Voluntary Sector Masters Degree course at City University Business School, and gradually we felt that this was something we could jointly build on. Consequently Ian and I had to persuade our two organisations that the vision of an expanded Charity Centre was achievable; this proved to be very difficult however. I remember being told at a Court of Wardens meeting that the project was too ambitious, too expensive, we wouldn’t be able raise the money, and the Business School didn’t really want it. Ian had the same reactions at the Business School. Fortunately, though, it was a team effort and with the help of William Barnard, Gareth Rees and others the Guild eventually agreed to back it. Ian scored a coup by persuading Professors Paul Palmer and Jenny Harrow to move from South Bank to the new Unit at the Business School. Much blood, sweat and tears was expended by several colleagues in raising sufficient money to enable us to start work, and a new joint Company, The City Centre for Charity Effectiveness Ltd, was registered in 2003, and the Centre launched publicly in 2004.

I am extremely grateful to the Company for having given me the opportunity in my retirement, my Third Age, to use my skills, such as they were, operating in a field that I enjoyed and felt to be worthwhile. It was just at the right time in my life (I was on the Court from age 60 to 70) and I found the charitable work very fulfilling. The Head of the Management Faculty at Cass, George Selim, once told me that the Guild was certainly punching above its weight, which I found very gratifying. And that is what I hope for the future – that the Company will continue to do amazing things and punch above its weight in the years to come!

Thank you very much!

John McLean Fox                                                                                                                                                                                20th September 2018


John McLean Fox Citation for Outstanding Service Medal


It is my great delight to award the first Outstanding Service Medal Award to John McLean Fox.

The award has been developed to recognise significant and sustained contribution to the Company.  It is not an award that we expect to be given often or regularly but there is no one else within the Company who has been deemed more worthy to be its first recipient.  

John’s immensely significant contribution has been to develop a culture of charitable service within our Company.  With quiet leadership during the early days of our Guild, he developed the pro bono consultancy and mentoring services which today underpin our charitable works.  Now over 20 years later our pro bono services are seen as exemplars within the livery movement and have impacted on thousands of charities and individuals not only within the City of London but also throughout the world.

John also supported our dear departed colleague Professor Allan Williams in his determination to found the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School.  It wasn’t an initiative which had huge popularity at the start either within the Company or the Business School but from his experiences as Chairman of a charity he strongly believed that the sector would benefit from management guidance.  The centre is now the leading non-profit academic centre in the UK and one of the leading centres worldwide. 

John is a man of strong Christian faith and has been involved with many organisations which seek to understand how the principles of one’s faith can be held up in a business environment. 

John is someone whom people respect and trust.  They are values which shine through his words and actions.  Sometimes you are not sure where John is leading you, but you are prepared to trust him that you should follow.  And he undertakes his work with great humility.  Many of our Members may be unaware of the hero in our midst but will know his works. 

His legacy within our Company is not only in the services that we deliver but in the way that we are.  His sustained contribution over so many years has gone several furlongs beyond the extra mile.  He is truly deserving of the Outstanding Service Medal Award.







David Johnson

Master 2017 -2018                          Date of Presentation 20th September 2018