Sir Richard Needham – Business Leader, Author and Keynote Business Speaker.
Richard Needham was born in 1942 and is the 6th Earl of Kilmorey but does not use the title. Educated at Eton, he is married with two sons and a daughter. Before going into politics, his career was in industry. In 1961, he joined the Rothmans Carreras Group. After three years with an engineering company he started with three colleagues his own printing and packaging design companies which he chaired until he became a Minister.
Sir Richard was elected Member of Parliament for Chippenham (now called Wiltshire North) in May 1979. He was a member of the Public Accounts Committee, Parliament’s oldest and most prestigious Select Committee.
He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to two Cabinet Ministers; during 1983-84 to James Prior in Northern Ireland, and from 1984-85 to Patrick Jenkin at the Department of the Environment.
In September 1985 he became a Minister in Northern Ireland. He is the longest serving British Minister in the Province. During his 6 ½ years, he was Minister of Health and Social Security, Transport, Energy, Employment, Trade & Industry and Environment.
After the 1992 election the Prime Minister appointed him Minister for Trade where he was responsible for developing and implementing Britain’s export strategy as deputy to Michael Heseltine. He led Trade Missions to the Middle East, the Far East, Latin America and Africa, covering 40 countries. After ten years as a Minister, he left the Government. In 1994 he was made a Privy Counsellor and became a Knight in John Major’s Resignation Honours List.
Richard Needham is a founder member of the Anglo-Japanese 2000 Group and the Anglo-Korean Forum for the Future. He was a Council member of the British Malaysian Society. He is an honorary member of the Singapore British Business Council and is a former Governor of the British Institute of Florence. In 2004 the Japanese Government appointed him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
Between 1995-97 he was a Director of GEC PLC and Chairman of GPT Ltd. He left GEC to become Vice-Chairman of NEC Europe Ltd. He was a Director of Dyson Ltd for over 16 years, where his was referred to as Sir James Dyson’s right-hand man. Between 2007 and 2012 he was the transformational Chairman of Avon Rubber Plc. He is patron of Northern Ireland MENCAP. He is a Member of the British Council and President of the British Exporters Association. He was Chairman of The London Heart Hospital for 5 years and has recently become Chairman of an Imperial College Innovation Company.
Richard Needham is the author of two books: Honourable Member, an informative, humourous but serious book on how to become and MP, and Battling for Peace, a forthright memoir which provides a unique insight into the way Northern Ireland was governed under Direct Rule. His sports are tennis, squash, golf, fishing and shooting.
Sir Richard Needham’s broad experience in government and business will give you a fascinating and unique insight into turnarounds, risk taking and maintaining innovation in the public and private sectors both in the U.K. and abroad.