Issue date: 12 November 2003

ISSUE DATE: 12/11/03

The University of the West of England will award the honorary degree of Doctor of Education to John Christopher Savage this week. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of the Built Environment on Thursday 13 November at 2.45pm at Bristol Cathedral.

John Savage was educated at St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School, London. He originally saw himself as destined for the Anglican priesthood, but family circumstances led to a different path and sixteen years of general management within the food production industry. This was followed by a period of five years running his own international distribution company and a fleet of over sixty heavy goods vehicles. He was then asked by the Associated Newspaper Group (ANG) to carry out specialist consultancy work within their subsidiary companies and, as Managing Director of a group of six ANG businesses, gained a further wide range of experience.

Since 1989, John Savage has been the Chief Executive of The Bristol Initiative and, from February 1993, Chief Executive of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative, following the merger of those two bodies. Assisted by a group of senior public and private sector leaders, he leads an organisation dedicated to promoting partnership between local government, industry and commerce in order to advance a vision of Bristol as a leading European city in the twenty-first century. Most recently the Bristol, Gloucestershire and Bath Chambers of Commerce have merged with Business Link West to form Business West, under John Savage’s executive leadership.

The theme of raising educational standards is central to John Savage’s sense of mission and his related roles are many and various, including: West of England Learning and Skills Council - Chairman; West of England Learning Consortium - Chairman; Bristol 14 to 19 Education Campus - Chairman; Bristol Education Partnership Board - Board Member; and, Christchurch Pre School Group - Treasurer.

As well as championing education, John Savage also plays a key role in advancing the economic, charitable, and cultural interests of Bristol and its region. He is, amongst many other things: West of England Strategic Partnership - Chief Executive; Future West - Chairman; Broadmead Board Limited - Joint Chairman; Bristol Tourism and Conference Bureau - Joint Chairman; Bristol Harbourside Sponsors Group - Chairman; Business Link West - Board Member; Bristol Cultural Development Partnership Limited - Board Member; Bristol Old Vic – former trustee; West of England Connexions - Board Member; Enuresis Resource & Information Centre - Financial Director; Bristol Community Sport Limited - Company Secretary; South Bristol Community Construction Company - Patron; Bristol Choral Society - Patron and Vice-President; Bristol City Football Club Study Support Centre - Patron.

John Savage lists his leisure activities as ocean sailing, cycling, climbing and walking, music and the arts. He has one son.

The Honorary Degree is awarded in recognition of John Savage’s outstanding contribution to the City of Bristol and to the West of England as reflected in his many roles including Chief Executive of the former Chamber of Commerce and Initiative; Joint Chief Executive of Business West; Chair of the West of England Learning and Skills Council; and, most recently, as High Sheriff of Bristol.


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