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News > Bradfieldian Stories > Ian Kenyon (F 75-79) recognised in the King's Birthday Honours List

Ian Kenyon (F 75-79) recognised in the King's Birthday Honours List

Many Congratulations to Ian Kenyon who has been selected for the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours list 2023. Ian found out about the nomination a couple of months ago however had to keep this information private until the King had officially approved the list. He doesn’t know when he will be called forward to receive the award, but is looking forward to finding out soon.

Ian believes that he was nominated for the award following his work on the funding and delivery of the countries nuclear deterrent which included the AUKUS trilateral security pact. This will see cooperation between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia on a range of technology and manufacturing areas with a key deliverable being the delivery to Australia of a nuclear powered submarine capability.

Ian’s career however started a long way away from international security and the public sector. Indeed, Ian read Civil Engineering at Nottingham University, a degree course that he really enjoyed but was swayed into accountancy following some interesting holiday internships during his time at university.

‘An engineering degree develops a very grounded, logical and solution-oriented way of thinking and I also learnt a great deal about management working with the different trades on site’

Unfortunately for engineering, whilst it develops skills that are clearly excellent for becoming an engineer, they are also incredibly valuable for many different careers. Having left engineering and qualified as an accountant with Price Waterhouse, Ian worked largely in the Retail Sector for some three decades, where he held senior roles in a range of businesses, including the Kingfisher Group, Carpetright, Sainsburys plc, and Carphone Warehouse. 

‘I’ve been able to help organisations adapt to changing environments, introduce new operational and financial planning and I’ve particularly enjoyed developing teams and nurturing the next generation of future leaders.’

Then, a hire by HMV where his brief was to put the company into administration, also gave him the opportunity to  re-assess his priorities and he moved into an entirely different sector.

So, since 2013, Ian has been working in the not-for-profit and public sectors. His first role in this new sector was transforming the financial planning and reporting within Cancer Research UK, one of the country’s largest charities.  He was Chief Financial Officer at Cancer Research UK for four years before he joined and established UK Research & Innovation – an organisation that brought together the multiple different strands of research commissioned and funded by the state into a single organisation - as their first CFO and Deputy CEO.

Once working within the state-funded environment he then moved to serve in the Home Office before his most recent position within the Ministry of Defence as Director of Finance & Programmes for the Defence Nuclear Organisation supporting the UK’s nuclear deterrent and the AUKUS pact.

Whilst busy with his main occupation, Ian still found time to support a wide range of charities serving as Treasurer of the University of Nottingham, Guildford Cathedral, the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London and inhis home parish at Christ Church, Guildford.  Sadly, due to a recent cancer diagnosis, Ian has had to step down from his fascinating role at the Ministry of Defence, as well as his many volunteering positions, including serving as an Occasional Preacher.

Ian is however truly thrilled to have be awarded for the CBE but also very humbled.

‘I believe that I was nominated primarily for services to the Defence Nuclear Organisation and for volunteering – I’m an accountant and for almost 40 years I’ve been helping businesses run effectively and have supported national, regional and local charities with their finances – often serving them as Treasurer”.

He cites his Bradfield education as the reason for having the ability to achieve so much and for the teachers who inspired him to work hard and to continue to learn. Ian credits his former housemaster, Morgan Laimbeer, as having the most significant influence, saying that his laid back approach provided the freedom to experiment, but you knew when you had crossed the line and letting him down was the biggest reprimand that you could have. He also acknowledges Jack Good in Chemistry, Colin Burgess in Maths, Nick Barton and his tutor Crispin Read-Wilson as positive figures in his Bradfield experience.

‘The foundation I received in Bradfield has underpinned my career – it helped shape my values. The College’s culture supports volunteering – and taught me to balance work and non-work activity.’

Ian has also retained his connection with the College as a member of the OB running club, where until recently he supported their running fixtures.

We look forward to hearing news of his visit to the Palace to receive the award.

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