Former Chancellor, Sir Adrian Cadbury, passes away aged 86

Sir Adrian Cadbury

7 September 2015

It is with great sadness that we must inform you that Sir Adrian Cadbury, Aston University’s former Chancellor, died on 3 September at the age of 86.   

Sir Adrian was a remarkable man in many ways and left an indelible impression on all he met. He was educated at Eton and Kings College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, he rowed in the 1952 Boat Race and was a British Olympic rower, competing in the 1952 Helsinki Games. 

He had a long and varied career in business, joining the Cadbury firm in 1958 and becoming Chairman of Cadbury Ltd in 1965. He retired as Chairman of Cadbury Schweppes in 1989. Sir Adrian was also the Director of the Bank of England from 1970-1994 and of IBM from 1975-1994. He was a pioneer in raising awareness of and stimulating the debate on corporate governance and produced the Cadbury Report, a code of best practice which served as a basis for reform of corporate governance around the world. 

His association with Aston was a close and longstanding one. His connection with the institution began in the 1950s, when it was a College of Advanced Technology, and following the receipt of its University Charter in 1966, he joined the University Council. He succeeded Lord Nelson as Chancellor in 1979, a role he performed with much energy and passion until 2004. 

Sir Adrian regularly taught classes at Aston Business School, keeping in close touch with those studying at the University for whom he had such a high regard. His lifelong enthusiasm for sport and his concern for student wellbeing led to him being made President of the Athletic Union by the Students’ Council and he would delight in handing out its annual sporting awards. His affinity with Aston was such that he was asked to Chair the University’s Development Board in 2007, tasked with finding ways to better reach out and connect with alumni. He recently handed Chairmanship of the Board to Tony Hayward. 

Sir Adrian was the most generous philanthropist that Aston has known. Throughout the years, he helped to fund the creation of the Chancellor’s Lake, donated a sizable amount of money to the Students’ Union, contributed to the renovation of Aston Business School and gave grants towards new sports facilities. 

He was a much loved colleague and friend to many at Aston and possessed a deep commitment in the power of education to transform and embolden peoples’ lives. He will be missed. 

We will of course let you know of any arrangements for celebrating his life as soon as we are made aware of them.