Krishnamurthy Rajagopal

I enjoyed living and working in Manchester as a city. I was also fortunate to work with some excellent academics who were leaders in their respective fields and inspired me to believe in myself.

Non-Executive Director, WS Atkins PLC

Starting out

After completing my MSc in 1975, I spent three years gaining extensive practical experience at GEC Turbine Generators, making large steam turbines. These years gave me significant knowledge and self confidence that underpinned much of my future career.

I went on to do a Total Technology PhD working with BOC plc in Skelmersdale, which I completed in 1980 before joining BOC in their Edwards Vacuum Technology business as a temporary post doc researcher. My main contribution to Edwards in my first decade with the company was to transform their manufacturing capability into a significant source of competitive advantage over their Japanese and German competitors, combining flexibility and responsiveness with an absolute focus on effectiveness. My understanding of manufacturing, developed largely during my PhD, was very helpful in this endeavour.

Career highs

I became Managing Director of the Edwards business in 1993 and over the next three years we grew the business threefold with highly profitable sales of over £300m. We built on our manufacturing capability to gain market share in the fast growing semiconductor industry located mainly in the US and Asia and then invested in certain other sectors with new products and focussed marketing to win business.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to build BOC Edwards into a technologically advanced world leader, from £100million when I started, to sales over £1billion, employing 4500 people worldwide including 1500 in the UK over a period of ten years. The UK does not have many world leading high technology businesses of this scale and this is the achievement I am most pleased with.

Life at Manchester

I enjoyed living and working in Manchester as a city.

I was also fortunate to work with some excellent academics who were leaders in their respective fields and inspired me to believe in myself.

Manchester is without a doubt a very pleasant place to study and live. Several faculties are world class and offer the opportunity to associate with leading academics who can inspire students to great achievements.

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