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I was educated at Shakespeare’s grammar school, King Edward VI’s, in Stratford-upon-Avon and at Merton College, Oxford. Awarded a postmaster scholarship in modern history, I won the university’s HWC Davis prize and graduated with a First in 1972. I took up a research scholarship at St John’s College, Oxford but left academia in mid-1974 to work in the City.
After five years as a banker in New York and London, including a seven-month sabbatical in the Middle East to study Arabic at the British Foreign Office school in the Lebanon, I joined the Financial Times in 1979 as a specialist writer on Arab affairs. I worked at the FT for six years, latterly working on investigative feature articles.
From 1985 to 1989 I was a consultant with McKinsey & Co in the firm’s London office. I then returned to journalism in 1989, joining The Economist as editor of its Britain section for three years before moving to New York as its US business correspondent.
Between 1994 and 2006, I worked in a variety of corporate roles: as a publisher with Penguin Books, as in-house head of communications for two FTSE-100 companies, Pearson plc and Rolls-Royce plc, and as a communications consultant with the London-based public relations agency, The Maitland Consultancy.
I live in a village at the heart of the beautiful Kentish Weald, an hour’s train journey south of London, with my second wife Morwenna who is a professional musician. As well as being Director of Music at the parish church, she also presides from our home over the many online activities of the Royal College of Organists and has her own website at www.theladyorganist.com which I promote at every opportunity. The same goes for the artistic legacy of my late wife, the painter Anne-Catherine Phillips, who died in 2014. Copies of a biography, Anne-Catherine, A Painter’s Life are available on request and an online archive of her work can be found at www.annecatherine-phillips.co.uk