WCIT MONITOR Issue 66 Dec 2015 - Page 21

THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGISTS WCIT History: The Reminiscences Series 2. WCIT Past Master Roger Graham OBE I was an early member of The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, having been appointed to the Livery as number 48 on 22nd April 1992. It was much earlier that one of the founder members, Alan Benjamin OBE, came into my office at the BIS Group Ltd in the mid-80’s and suggested that there should be an international club for IT people. The original idea he had was one agreed by Maxwell Joseph, the then CEO of Grand Metropolitan plc, which owned Le Meridian Hotel in Piccadilly. The concept was to convert the basement to a club for people in the Data Processing and Information Technology world to gather and of course have access to the bedrooms above, rather in the tradition of a London Social Club. That was not to be and through the good offices of the City of London officials, Alan then pursued the establishment of the 100th Livery Company in the City of London. That involved sharing office with our lawyers and it wasn’t until much later through the generosity of an early WCIT Master, Dame Stephanie Shirley, that we were enabled to have our own Hall, one of the very few modern companies to have one. I recall the first dinner with Barney Gibbons, the Founder Master, in the chair. In the late 80’s and early 90’s (we became Livery in 1992) I was preoccupied with building the diversified BIS business which embraced IT consulting and training, banking software, direct marketing and industrial marketing research focused on Roger Graham OBE: Past Master from 2004-2005 electronics. In 1986 we sold the business to one of the “baby belles” - Nynex, which was created as a consequence of the sale of the regional operating activities of AT&T in 1984. Two days after the deal was closed on 19th December 1986 I received a letter from St James’ Palace inviting me to receive the Queen’s Honour of an OBE. It was an exceptional period which saw me not only travelling to our many business locations across the world, but also flying to New York for Nynex meetings. I really enjoyed that period, although many who have started a business find the sale process and the post-sale involvement with the purchaser unattractive. Within WCIT I was mostly involved with the Education & Training Committee’s work in the early days, but not really actively involved until the mid-90’s after moving on from BIS and establishing a more plural life involving many start-up companies. The WCIT Company moved from strength to strength and Dame Stephanie Shirley’s gift made a