THE HONORARY GRADUAND: MR DOUGLAS CLAISSE

Issue date: 06 December 2000


Douglas Claisse is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of Bristol’s commercial interests and of his charitable activities in the city and its region.

Douglas Claisse was born and brought up in West Sussex. He was educated at Steyning Grammar School. He then worked with the Beecham Group in their research laboratories outside Dorking. He planned to read Chemistry, but doubtful of his capacity to achieve success in pure research changed career direction and joined an insurance company in Brighton. This was the start of a career which would provide Douglas Claisse with considerable challenge and satisfaction during the remainder of his working life.

First, Douglas Claisse worked for the Clerical Medical and General Life Assurance Society as an Inspector. He was quickly promoted and moved through the ranks of Pensions Representative, and Pensions Development Manager to Joint Agency Manager. By 1983 he was Assistant General Manager and in 1985 he joined the Board of the Company. He became Director of Marketing and Operations and then Deputy Chief Executive and Chairman of Clerical Medical International. He retired in 1997 after an outstandingly successful career.

As regards Bristol, Douglas Claisse moved to the city in 1991 having previously lived in Sussex and worked in London. From 1995 until earlier this year Douglas was Chair of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative and subsequently President. The University and the Chamber of Commerce are closely related in a number of partnerships, including those concerned with promoting sports and cultural activity. Douglas Claisse has given valued and longstanding support to the University of the West of England, and its Bristol Business School in particular
Since retiring Douglas Claisse has remained active in the financial services sector through directorships of British United Provident Association, I FA Promotion Limited, Phillips and Drew Life Limited, and The Momentum Group. He is currently Chair of the South West Chambers of Commerce and of Business Link West. He is also a director of the Western Training and Enterprise Council.

Through out his career Douglas Claisse has involved himself in charitable activities. He was a trustee of the Greater Bristol Foundation and is a member of The Bristol Society and The Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol. The Bristol Business School regards Douglas Claisse as a role model exemplifying the way in which businessmen can make a wider public service contribution to society. He shares and promotes the values of the University.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the awards ceremony of Bristol Business School in Bristol Cathedral on Wednesday 22 November at 11.30am.

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