Good business ethics begin at university, says Ford boss

31 October 2002
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31 October 2002 | David Arminas

Sir Nick Scheele, chief operating officer of global vehicle maker Ford, has urged students to develop their values, judgment, ethics and fairness while at college.

"These are every bit as important to own and understand as textbook theorems and principles," Scheele said earlier this month at his investiture as the fourth chancellor of the University of Warwick.

He called on students "to emerge from university with a base for assimilating further knowledge, rather than a finished skill-set".

Students should not think the real learning only begins in the business world after graduation. The foundation for learning good business ethics and practices essential to success begins at university.

Scheele, an honorary fellow of CIPS, started his career as a buyer with Ford UK in the mid-1960s and rose to become president of Ford Mexico in 1988. As chairman and chief executive of Jaguar Cars in the mid-1990s, he improved the marque's image and doubled sales to make it a premier division of Ford.

While Scheele noted that IT and e-business are "essential elements of modern business", he praised the university's efforts to focus on manufacturing excellence, particularly through the Warwick Manufacturing Group, during the dot-com fever.

"The concept of a centre devoted to the refinement of manufacturing seemed to be antiquated. And as we worked to revitalise Jaguar, I remember thinking how short-sighted any business philosophy that failed to grasp the importance of manufacturing was."

He replaces Sir Sonny Ramphal, former secretary-general of the Commonwealth.

Scheele appeared in a video interview at this month's CIPS annual conference, where he discussed the importance of a buyer to have a "thirst for knowledge… and the ability to listen".


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