City of London - Engineering Hall of Fame

Sir John Parker GBE FREng (born 1942)

Naval Architect and Mechanical Engineer who became President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, following his extensive CEO career in Shipbuilding and Engineering, serving on the Boards of over 20 quoted Companies, including Chairing six FTSE100 plc’s, and Chairing the Court of the Bank of England.

Born on a farm in Northern Ireland he obtained  a student apprenticeship  at Harland and Wolff shipyard, studying Naval Architecture and Mechanical Engineering,  ultimately joining the Ship design team. His first Managing Director appointment in 1974 was at Austin and Pickersgill shipbuilders in Sunderland  followed by serving as Dep CEO  of the newly nationalised British Shipbuilders corporation before returning to Belfast as Chairman and CEO of Harland and Wolff in 1983. He was to become a Chairman of choice in a range of major quoted plc’s including  Babcock International Group, Lattice Group,  National Grid,  P&O Group, RMC Group,  Anglo American and Pennon Group all with Engineering at their core.

P&O’s latest Cruise Ship
P&O’s latest Cruise Ship

City of London Connections

Lead non executive director of The Bank of England – Chairing the Court of the Bank;
Elder Brother  Trinity House ;
Prime Warden Worshipful Company of Shipwrights;
Honorary Freeman the Worshipful Company of Fuellers;
Honorary Freeman the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers.

National Grid power tunnel, London
National Grid power tunnel, London

Contribution to Engineering during Lifetime

  • 1974-1978  Managing Director of Austin and Pickersgill  Shipbuilders
  • 1978 -1983 Deputy CEO British Shipbuilders Corporation
  • 1983-1993 Chairman and CEO Harland and Wolff
  • 1993-2000 Chairman and CEO Babcock International plc
  • 1983-1986 Non Executive Director Industrial Development Board of Northern Ireland
  • 1986- 1993 Non Executive Director British Coal Corporation
  • 1993-2002 Non Executive Director of GKN plc
  • 1997-2000 Non Executive of British Gas plc
  • 2000-2003 Non Executive Director and Deputy Chairman P&O Princess Cruises plc
  • 2003-present Non Executive Director Carnival Corporation( USA) and Carnival plc
  • 2000-2002 Chairman Lattice Group plc
  • 2001-2003 Non Executive Director Brambles Industries ( Australia)
  • 2002-2011  Chairman National Grid plc  ( merging with Lattice to combine UK’s Gas assets  and High Voltage Grid )
  • 2002-2005 Chairman RMC Group plc
  • 2005-2007 Chairman P&O Group plc
  • 2006-2011 Chair of Development Board Royal Academy of Engineering
  • 2007–2015 Vice Chairman of DPWorld (Dubai)
  • 2007-2018 Non Executive Director Airbus Group
  • 2006-2009 Joint Chairman (with Cyril Ramaphosa) Mondi plc (South Africa)
  • 2009-2017 Chairman Anglo American plc (Minas Rio mine pictured right)
  • 2011-2014  President of the Royal Academy of Engineering
  • 2011-2014  Member of the Prime Minister’s Committee of Science and Technology
Minas Rio mine, Anglo-American
  • 2017-2019 Lead Non Executive Director Cabinet Office
  • 2017 -present Chairman Laing O’Rourke Engineering and Construction
LNG Terminal, Isle of Grain
LNG Terminal, Isle of Grain


Conducted Review of U.K. Naval Shipbuilding strategy for Ministry of Defence and  the introduction of the T31e frigate
Chair of the Government sponsored Parker Review of Ethnic Diversity in the Board Room
Chair of National Young Offenders into Work 2002-2012
Member of the Prime Minister’s Business Council for Britain
Chancellor of University of Southampton
Vice President of the Royal Navy and Marines Charity
President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects
President of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers
Governor of RNLI
Visiting Fellow University of Oxford
A range of Honorary Doctorates from Universities in U.K. and Ireland
Honorary Fellowships from the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland( IESIS), the Institute of Engineers and Technology (IET), the Institution  of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
and The City and Guilds Institute ( FCGI)

Member of Davies Committee Women on Boards
Knighted for services to Shipbuilding and Defence in 2001
Appointed  Knight Grand Cross (GBE ) for services to Industry and the Voluntary sector 2012

References and Further Reading

The Biography.  “ The View from the Bridge -an Industrial Journey”

Sir John Parker has a profound understanding of the world outside the boardroom – political, social, environmental – that is very rare among industrialists. That perspective, at once broad and deep, runs like a river through the pages of this remarkable book.

–Hon. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa.

Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals

Sir John’s lifetime of service has helped ensure the sustained economic growth of shipbuilding and other major industries and the companies he has chaired have provided employment to many. His policy leadership for government and National Academies has championed equality and diversity and youth opportunities.

SDG Targets 8.1; 8.2; 8.3; 8.6; 8.8; 8.10

All images courtesy of Sir John Parker

Year of Induction
Sponsoring Livery Company