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Paul Judge – man of ideas

by OMFIF authors

Tue 30 May 2017

Sir Paul Judge, businessman, internationalist, academic benefactor and man of ideas, who died this month aged 68, possessed a larger-than-life taste for the unusual, the unexpected and the successful. Judge served for five years on the OMFIF advisory board, which he regarded with consideration and affection.

Judge incubated projects and gathered board memberships as butterflies breed chrysalides. He made his name relatively young at Cadbury Schweppes, the British food and drinks company, in the 1980s leading a £97m management buyout of the company's UK, Irish and French food businesses to form Premier Brands, with 6,000 employees and a turnover of £400m – an astute and profitable move. From this flowed an £8m donation in 1990 to the University of Cambridge, his alma mater, enabling the creation of the Judge Business School, now one of Europe's leaders in business education. Christoph Loch, Judge's dean, said the school would 'forever be grateful' to its founding supporter.

Judge was knighted in 1996 for his work in politics and public service. His list of jobs, paid and honorary, testified to his eclecticism in business and finance. They ranged from chairmanship of Food from Britain, the Royal Society of Arts, the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and the UK arm of the British-North American Committee, and a seat on the Milk Marketing Board and Togo's International Advisory Council, to the presidency of the Chartered Management Institute and advisory board memberships of the HEC management education institute in Paris, the Athens University of Economics and Business and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

His experience included roles as special adviser to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, chairman of Schroder Income Growth Fund, a director of mining company ENRC, deputy chairman of the American Management Association, a director of South Africa's Standard Bank and master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors. At various times he was on the main boards of Boddington brewers, the WPP advertising company and Grosvenor Development Capital. He dabbled in politics, becoming director-general of the Conservative party in 1992, joining the cabinet office as an adviser in 1995 and founding an independent political movement called the Jury Team in 2009.

Judge presided with thespian aplomb over two memorable OMFIF occasions. In 2014, in his capacity as sheriff of the City of London, one of his many City posts, he hosted a dinner at the Old Bailey to launch the first edition of the Global Public Investor publication, which has become an annual assessment of investment management trends among central banks, sovereign funds and public pension funds around the world. With relish he conducted denizens of the global sovereign wealth community on a ghoulish pre-dinner tour of the courtrooms and the notorious 'deadman's walk', reputedly taken by condemned prisoners on the way to the hangman. The guests included Jin Liqun, then heading the supervisory board of China Investment Corporation, who regaled his hosts with tales of how he was to set up for the Chinese government an infrastructure bank linking countries from around the world – which has since blossomed into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The second landmark came when Judge was prime speaker at a ribald dinner at the Reform Club in July 2015 to celebrate the 75th birthday of Meghnad Desai, chair of the OMFIF advisers network since its inception in 2010. Judge's speech, containing trademark doses of barbed understatement and merciless wit, illuminated without lionising the many-sided features of Desai's career. Departed from the stage, Judge will now engender similar tributes.

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