With a Chinese degree from Oxford and experience as a shop-steward for building-site labourers David spent time teaching in Mao’s China then took an MBA at Harvard and joined Tullis Russell, the family papermaking business. As chairman from 1985, he introduced systematic communication, consultation, involvement, profit sharing and share distribution. This culminated in a 1994 all-employee buyout. Since then the company has outperformed the whole industry.
Seeing its success, David has since then promoted employee ownership: in the 1990s chairman of Baxi Ltd, the gas boiler company then employee-owned; from 2001 to 2007 MD of Baxi Partnership Ltd, which structures and funds all-employee buyouts; during the 1990s he advised on employee ownership in privatisations in Slovenia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, China, and other eastern European countries. He is currently a non-exec director of Baxi Partnership and chairman of the employee trust of ChildBase, the UK’s most successful provider of childcare nurseries, which is majority employee-owned. He is also Chancellor’s Assessor on the Court of the University of St Andrews.
In 2000 he received a PhD in The psychology of sharing, an evolutionary approach.
Beyond the Corporation: Humanity Working (The Bodley Head Ltd, 2011)
'Privacy is Dead. Long Live Privacy?'
"The Battle of Ideas is where we can step out boldly where the angels – or should that be demons – of conventionality fear to tread."
Nicky Charlish, participant, 2009