Image of the graduation procession inside the Liverpool Cathedral

Tom Jenkins

Oration

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

Honorable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Tom Jenkins for the award of an Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University.  

Financial Services Consultant Tom Jenkins has for many years travelled the world on business - once going to Australia for a day. Typically, he has flown thousands of miles at very short notice and lived out of a suitcase for weeks on end, in order to advise banks, retailers and governments on the importance of focusing on the needs and wishes of customers. During this time, he conceived the idea, and managed the creation of the world's first supermarket bank, an achievement of which he is justly proud. And for many years, he has been a stalwart supporter of our university. 

Tom Jenkins was born in 1949 on a council estate in Glasgow to Jim and May Jenkins. They were a respectable and aspirational family, and imbued with the values of self-reliance and personal responsibility. They were conservative in their politics, and Tom actually became the youngest ever agent of the Scottish Conservative Party, which in those days had significant support in Scotland.  

Tom has happy memories of Hillhead High School. He did well academically, sang in the school choir, and was 'Victor Ludorum' in athletics. Impatient to make his way in the world, he left school at 16, intent on becoming a stockbroker because he'd heard that they made lots of money - early evidence of his entrepreneurial spirit. 

Finding the world of stockbroking impossible to penetrate, Tom had spells working for a bank, and for a small engineering company as a trainee management accountant. Recognising that he needed better qualifications, he studied to be a chartered secretary at the Glasgow College of Technology.  He then joined Deloitte Haskins and Sells, qualified as an accountant through part-time study, and became an Audit Partner in Glasgow.  

In 19??! he married Jess Whiteside - who is here today. 

The defining moment in Tom's career came when he moved to Liverpool in 1981 as the youngest partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers ( PwC ), a position he held until his recent early retirement. Here, he switched from audit work which is concerned with proving the past, to consulting work which is focused on influencing the future. He has lived here ever since and loves Liverpool. And it's worth noting that he is one of those Scotsmen who actually likes England to win at sport (that is, as long as they're not playing Scotland). 

During his time with PwC, Tom worked with many large banks, retailers and governments throughout the world, promoting the value of convergence of services and always bearing in mind the question: "What do customers want?". 

In 1996, mindful that research showed that customers trusted brands more than banks, and that Sainsbury's was the No 1 brand in the UK at the time, Tom designed and was responsible for the creation of Sainsbury's Bank, the world's first supermarket bank. Many others have now followed this lead. 

In the late 1990s, acting on Tom's advice, the Dept of Work and Pensions introduced a user-friendly telephone service for customers which now regularly receives plaudits for the quality of customer service offered. Tom has also assisted former Eastern Bloc regimes in restructuring their central banking services from communist to western-style operations.   

Since retiring he has taken on a number of non executive directorships, notably with the Adair Group, and he is a part-time partner with Ernst & Young. He is also nurturing plans to set up an aviation-related company in Liverpool - he holds a UK Private Pilots Licence which he has used to great advantage to explore the many parts of the World he has visited over the last 30 years.   

Despite the obvious demands of his career, he has still managed to find the time over the past 15 years to offer sustained support to Liverpool John Moores University through, for example, guest lecturing at Liverpool Business School and assisting the University's management with a number of strategic and operational reviews. 

And since 1992, as a trustee of the University, he has been actively involved in a number of our fundraising campaigns. 

"Education made me", he says, "and I am delighted to give something back to education." 

Accordingly, we honour Tom Jenkins today for his outstanding career achievements, and we are pleased to acknowledge his generous support of our University over many years.  

Thus I have pleasure in presenting Tom Jenkins, this most distinguished person and adopted son of our region, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.