Graduates and University staff outside the Liverpool Cathedral

Tim Johnston

Oration

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

Honourable Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Tim Johnston for the award of an Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University.  

Tim Johnston is a Partner/Director of Liverpool-based independent consultancy, AMION Consulting, leading its business planning team, focusing on financial and business planning and regeneration advisory services.

He is being honoured today for his outstanding contribution to the regeneration of Liverpool.   

Timothy K. Johnston was born with his identical twin, Trevor, in 1952 in Ormskirk, Lancashire. His parents divorced when he was young and his mother, Ethel, raised the twins and two other children on her own. 

Life was tough for the family but Tim believes that the inevitable competition between the twins raised their games, helping them to fulfil their potential. Both did well at Bootle Grammar School and Trevor is now a senior corporate lawyer in Manchester. Tim excelled in economics and went on to study economics at Aberystwyth University.   

After graduation in 1973, Tim joined what was to become KPMG in Liverpool, and by 1976, he had qualified as a chartered accountant. In 1985 he was seconded to KPMG's London office which involved him gaining experience in venture capital. He was appointed a Partner in KPMG that year. 

In the late 1980s he was appointed for various consultancy assignments by The Merseyside Development Corporation which was established by the Government to regenerate the docks of Liverpool, Bootle, Wallasey and Birkenhead, and undertook projects such as the opening of the Liverpool International Garden Festival in 1984, the redevelopment of the Albert Dock complex, and the regeneration of New Brighton. Tim Johnston was heavily involved in a range of projects with MDC and, as a result, developed a passionate and enduring interest in regeneration.   

Promotion within KPMG saw Tim in 1996 being appointed to the firm's UK Management Team as national head of the Infrastructure and Government Practice, about 10% of KPMG's UK business. But the high status job was significantly London-based whereas Tim and family were firmly settled in Merseyside. So a concern for quality of life together with a need for new challenges led Tim Johnston, along with KPMG senior colleague Graham Russell, to establish AMION Consulting in 2000. 

Based in Liverpool, Tim and Graham set about using their considerable experience to advise clients on all aspects of economic development and regeneration in the UK. AMION Consulting now has 20 staff, including associates in the Midlands and the South, with a wide client portfolio which includes government departments, until recently the Regional Development Agencies (now abolished), and local authorities, as well as private sector developers and other agencies. The firm acts for Peel Holdings which keeps them quite busy, given the scope of their activities.   

Tim leads the Business Planning Team and has been centrally involved in many important regeneration consultancy projects including the Liverpool Science Park feasibility study, the masterplan for the renewal of LJMU's campus, the regeneration of Ellesmere Port, the redevelopment of Old Trafford Cricket Ground, and funding negotiations for the restoration of the St Mary and the Angels church in West Everton as a rehearsal and education centre for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. He has also recently worked on some of Peel's largest projects including the expansion of the Port of Liverpool.

Tim's expertise in regeneration has led to several other appointments: he is a non-executive Director of Langtree Group, a growing commercial property developer specialising in brownfield development and increasingly recognised for its commitment to promoting the sustainable development agenda.

One of their projects, the regeneration of the Garden Festival site in South Liverpool, is of special interest to Tim, given his work with MDC when the site was first opened 26 years ago. The re-opening of the Gardens took place last month.

Tim is also a Board member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Chairs its Capital Development Sub-Committee. In addition, he is an Expert Independent Member of the Board of the North West Urban Investment Holding Fund under the JESSICA Programme, JESSICA being the acronym for the Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas.

Less pressured work but equally important to Tim is his role as Parochial Church Council treasurer of St Nicholas Church, Blundellsands, a position he has held for 26 years. With his expertise available to the PCC, it is no surprise that the listed church was recently awarded a substantial restoration grant from the English Heritage Lottery Fund.

Despite his impressive achievements, Tim Johnston easily manages to keep his feet firmly on the ground. His success has nothing to do with artifice or self-promotion but everything to do with a quiet and reassuring competence, and with interpersonal skills which inspire confidence and trust. Tim's personal qualities and achievements are praiseworthy and we are delighted to honour him today.

Thus I have pleasure in presenting Tim Johnston, this most distinguished son of our region, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.