Sir Roderick Ian Eddington
(born 2 January 1950, Perth
Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the fourth most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000....
, Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...
) is an Australian businessman. He is currently chair of the government body Infrastructure Australia
Infrastructure Australia is a statutory authority of the Commonwealth Government. Its role is to plan and co-ordinate infrastructure projects across Australia, particularly where the works cross state borders. It was established in 2008....
, a director of News Corporation
News Corporation or News Corp. is an American multinational media conglomerate. It is the world's second-largest media conglomerate as of 2011 in terms of revenue, and the world's third largest in entertainment as of 2009, although the BBC remains the world's largest broadcaster...
, continuing his long association with that company, and has served in other senior positions including as former CEO of British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...
Education and career
Eddington graduated from the University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia was established by an Act of the Western Australian Parliament in February 1911, and began teaching students for the first time in 1913. It is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia and the only university in the state to be a member of the...
with first class BEng
The Bachelor of Engineering is an undergraduate academic degree awarded to a student after three to five years of studying engineering at universities in Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland , Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Korea,...
Honours in 1972 followed by a MEng Sci
A Master of Engineering or Master of Technology or Master of Science in Engineering A Master of Engineering (Magister in Ingeniaria) (abbreviated M.Eng., ME or MEng) or Master of Technology (abbreviated M.Tech. or MTech) or Master of Science in Engineering A Master of Engineering (Magister in...
. Being the 1974 Rhodes Scholar
The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. It was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as...
from Western Australia, he completed his DPhil in the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford University and played eight first-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...
matches for Oxford in 1975 and 1976. He was President
of Vincent's Club
Vincent's Club is a sports club predominantly but not exclusively for Oxford Blues at Oxford University.The club was founded in 1863 by the oarsman Walter Bradford Woodgate of Brasenose College, Oxford, and he was the first president of the club...
Eddington joined the Swire Group
The Swire Group is a transnational corporation headquartered in the Swire House in the City of Westminster, London, England. It controls a range of wholly owned businesses, including deep-sea shipping, cold storage, road transport, and agricultural activities. The current chairman is James...
in 1979, working for its subsidiary Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport, although the airline's registered office is on the 33rd floor of One Pacific Place...
, before being appointed Managing Director in 1992. Continuing his association with the airline industry; News Limited, subsidiary of News Corporation, appointed Eddington Chairman of Ansett Australia in January 1997, four years before the airline failed. News Corp had taken control of the airline with TNT in 1979. Eddington was appointed Deputy Chairman of News Limited in September 1998. He was further promoted to the News Corporation board in September 1999. In a timely manoeuvre, News Corp sold off Ansett; the airline eventually became insolvent in 2001. Eddington managed to escape blame for the poor financial state of the airline, apparently aided by his board membership of News Corporation, as others were loath to criticise him publicly. The blame for the collapse has tended to be worn by the Air New Zealand management, who bought the airline from News Corporation in 2000. Prior to Ansett's placement into Administration by the Air New Zealand Management, Eddington had successfully met most targets to turn Ansett's misfortune around and some critics believe the airline was not technically insolvent after all.
British Airways CEO
Eddington replaced former BA CEO Bob Ayling on 2 May 2000. Early tests of his leadership were the abandonment of Ayling's corporate relaunch in early 2001, the ethnic-art tailfins
In 1997 British Airways adopted a new livery. One part of this was a newly stylised version of the British Airways "Speedbird" logo, but the major change was the introduction of tail-fin art. Also known as the Utopia or world image tailfins, they used art and designs from international artists and...
, and the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
and Washington D.C. which proved disastrous for many airlines.
Following a loss of £200m in 2002, Eddington's "Future Size and Shape"
cost-cutting programme allowed BA to report a profit of £135m in 2003, despite a decrease in turnover. Eddington declared: "These are good results in one of the toughest years in living memory"
, and while this can be expected from a CEO trying to reassure investors, it was against a climate of the Iraq War
The decision to permanently retire the British Airways Concorde in 2003 was made by Eddington, and his action remains highly controversial.
Eddington stood down as Chief Executive Officer of British Airways on 30 September 2005, after more than five years in the position. He then returned to Australia to take up a position as the head of the Victorian Major Events Association, succeeding Steve Vizard
Stephen William Vizard, born 6 March 1956 in Richmond, Victoria, is an Australian media personality, comedian, businessman and writer.-Early life:...
Eddington was replaced by Willie Walsh in October 2005 after he had followed a six month shadow position.
Eddington received a knighthood in 2005 for services to the aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...
industry. As an Australian he is entitled to use the prefix "Sir", as Australia is a Commonwealth Realm
A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. The sixteen current realms have a combined land area of 18.8 million km² , and a population of 134 million, of which all, except about two million, live in the six...
Career as a company director
As of February 2006, Eddington was a non-executive board member of:
- JPMorgan - Non-Executive Chairman For Australia And New Zealand
- News Corporation - non-executive director of publicly listed Delaware, United States, based company
- John Swire & Sons Pty Ltd. - non-executive director of Australian proprietary subsidiary of Hong Kong based privately held company, John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd.
- Rio Tinto Group
The Rio Tinto Group is a diversified, British-Australian, multinational mining and resources group with headquarters in London and Melbourne. The company was founded in 1873, when a multinational consortium of investors purchased a mine complex on the Rio Tinto river, in Huelva, Spain from the...
- non-executive director of both publicly listed companies in the group
Eddington also served on the board of Allco Finance Group
Allco Financial Group was a fully integrated global financial services business, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and head-quartered in Sydney, Australia. Major services provided are structured asset finance, funds management and debt and equity funding. Allco has over A$4.3 billion in...
, where he was one of three non-executive directors to approve Allco's ill fated acquisition of Rubicon Holdings.
A previously-announced plan for Eddington to become Chairman of ANZ Banking Group of Australia and New Zealand was first delayed from February 2009 to February 2010; then finally scuttled on 9 August 2009. It is possible that his Directorship of scandal-plagued Rio Tinto Group made such a position for him at ANZ untenable, as corporate espionage by Rio Tinto against the Chinese Government is at issue.
Transport Study in Britain
On 1 December 2006, Eddington published a UK government-sponsored report into the future of Britain's transport infrastructure
The Eddington Transport Study is an examination, by Sir Rod Eddington, of the impact of transport decisions on the economy and the environment of the United Kingdom, with recommendations on how the transport network should be modernised...
. The Eddington Transport Study set out the case for action to improve road and rail networks, as a "crucial enabler of sustained productivity and competitiveness". The report's main conclusions were that Britain has transport networks that provide the right connections, in the right places, to support the journeys that matter to economic performance. But roads in particular were in serious danger of becoming so congested, the economy would suffer.
At the launch of the report Eddington told journalists and transport industry representatives introducing road pricing
Road pricing is an economic concept regarding the various direct charges applied for the use of roads. The road charges includes fuel taxes, licence fees, parking taxes, tolls, and congestion charges, including those which may vary by time of day, by the specific road, or by the specific vehicle...
to encourage drivers to drive less was an "economic no-brainer". There was, he said "no attractive alternative". It would cut congestion by half by 2025, and bring benefits to the British economy totalling £28b.
The report also called for a programme of improvements to existing road and rail networks, the expansion of key airports, and adoption of the general principle that travellers should pay for the external costs of the pollution and congestion their journeys cause.
Transport Study in Victoria, Australia
Eddington has since delivered a report to the Victorian Government of Australia, the East West Link Needs Assessment report, which was met with mixed reactions. Economic commentators criticized the cost-benefit ratios of Eddington's proposals, which on Eddington's own analysis were marginal at best. The proposed East-West freeway tunnel linking the Eastern and Tullamarine Freeways, to cost $9 billion, in particular was met with opposition.
In 1994 he married Young Sook Park, and they have a son and daughter, James and Michelle.