John Mohin OBE
Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson
Honorable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting John Mohin for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
John Mohin through his 35-year association with Wedgwood has shown great commitment to broadening the understanding and appreciation of English ceramics throughout the world, championing Wedgwood's traditional manufacturing skills in export markets.
In recent years, he has been a strong supporter of Liverpool John Moores University's Roscoe Lecture Series and plays a key role in stimulating and maintaining the strong relationship between Wedgwood and the University. There are connections between Wedgwood and Liverpool not only in the present day but also in the 18th Century.
In 1769, Josiah Wedgwood went into partnership with Liverpool merchant Thomas Bentley whose home was in Paradise Street Today, the 8th generation descendent of Josiah, Lord Wedgwood works closely with John Mohin who was brought up in Paradise Street, and Thomas Bentley had expertise in sales and marketing, as does John Mohin.
John Mohin was born in Liverpool in 1953 to a father whose family came from County Monaghan, and a Welsh mother. He was raised in The Eagle Pub on Paradise Street where his father Bill was the landlord.
As a born and bred Liverpudlian, he claims his lack of allegiance to either football team is because his father, needing custom from both reds and blues, remained neutral. Players from both teams were regular customers in the 1960s, as were the Beatles because of a family connection - Paul McCartney is John's first cousin.
He readily admits that he has no musical talent, but points out that Paul McCartney knows nothing about ceramics. By way of illustration he tells the story of Paul's purchase of a ceramic palamino horse for Linda after taking advice from him. Paul phoned to thank him for the advice and John said "Did you mention my name, you'd get a discount?!" Paul replied, "No I didn't mention you. I don't like to go around saying I'm the cousin of John Mohin".
John was educated at The Bluecoat School in Liverpool and it was here that Wedgwood captured his imagination - he still has the school project he wrote entitled "The Story of Josiah Wedgwood". He has happy memories of his school days and well remembers the annual Founder's Day Service which took place in this cathedral. After his A Levels, including one in Ceramics, John went to what is now UCLAN in Preston for Business Studies with a specialism in Marketing.
Almost inevitably, he became a management trainee at Wedgwood in 1974 and he's been with the company ever since. By 1982, he was given a massive vote of confidence when the Chairman of the company declared that "John speaks Wedgwood fluently".
From that time he has held a variety of senior positions in an expanding business,and was responsible for creating new markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Far East, and expanding established business in the Caribbean and South America.
In 1986, John survived Waterford's acquisition of Wedgwood, and was based at the head office in Waterford for 4 years before becoming Sales Director for Waterford Wedgwood UK. He became Managing Director of Waterford Wedgwood Australia between 1994 and 2002 where he skilfully used the Wedgwood heritage to create business.
He became a Patron of the Wedgwood Society and developed his expertise in ceramics collecting to the extent that he is now an acknowledged authority on Wedgwood and its history. Under his leadership, the company became associated with success and achievement in Australia through producing a series of trophies for leading sports events, and through securing a contract with the IOC for a stream of collectors' items to celebrate the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
John Mohin has been directly involved in creating many business initiatives and new products, not least the prestige pieces known as The Noble Line of Wedgwood, inspired by the successive generations of the Wedgwood family. He is a member of the Board of Trustees who secured Heritage Lottery Funding to support the building of the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, scheduled to open early next year.
Throughout 2007, John resumed his international role for the company by becoming President of Waterford Wedgwood Japan. During this time, he immersed himself in Japanese business culture, raised funds for the Museum and consolidated Wedgwood's command of the profitable Japanese market.
Now back in Staffordshire with his wife Paula and son Charlie - he has two other children, Bill and Kate who have left home - John is an executive director of Wedgwood and, following Waterford Wedgwood's purchase of Royal Doulton, he currently has the difficult task of incorporating Royal Doulton into the Wedgwood language: learning to sing the praises of a life-long competitor is not easy.
His service to the company and the communities and markets it serves has been widely recognised: His contribution to Australia was acknowledged by a commendation from Prime Minister John Howard and the award of Australian citizenship - he now holds dual nationality. He holds the Royal Warrant by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, He is a Fellow of the CIM and a Fellow of the RSA He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 2006 and He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Staffordshire in 2007.
John is proud of his Liverpool roots, proud of Wedgwood's long-standing connection with Liverpool, and proud to have his company support our prestigious Roscoe Lectures Series. We are equally proud to be associated with Wedgwood and its distinguished servant, John Mohin, who has had such an outstanding record in his 34 years with the company.
Thus I have great pleasure in presenting John Mohin, this most distinguished son of our city, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.