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Warren East: oration

Read Professor Catherine Mitchell's oration on Warren East for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering in July 2018.


Warren East
Warren East

Vice-Chancellor, I have great pleasure in proposing Mr Warren East for the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering. Warren East is the Chief Executive Officer of Rolls Royce Holdings plc, the British multinational engineering company. When anyone mentions UK Engineering, one of the first companies that they will think of is Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce stands for world-class. The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘the Rolls Royce of’ to mean ‘the best of.’ Rolls Royce is a term used to denote the benchmark that we aspire to reach.

Warren East studied Engineering at the University of Oxford and later did a Masters in Business Administration at Cranfield University. The early part of his career was spent with the American company Texas Instruments, a company which is famous for its innovative technology in electronics.

Warren left Texas Instruments in 1994 to join ARM Holdings, the British microprocessor design and software company co-founded by University of Bath alumnus Jamie Urquhart. At ARM, Warren established the company’s consulting business and later he became Vice-President of business operations. Within three years, Warren was appointed to the board as Chief Operating Officer and he was appointed CEO of ARM Holdings in October 2001. During the next twelve years, Warren took the company from a small Cambridge-based business with a single product line to a FTSE 100 company and the world’s leading designer of electronic chips, supplying almost all the world’s smartphone chips and a large share of the chips for mobile computers, consumer electronic goods, like televisions, and digital cameras, and a host of other applications.

In 2014, Warren became a non-executive director of the British multinational company Rolls-Royce Holdings plc and chair of the board’s technology committee. In April 2015, Rolls-Royce announced that Warren would be named CEO of the company. Rolls Royce Holdings has a large impact internationally, nationally and locally. The company has an annual sales revenue of over £15 billion, employs over 50,000 people around the world and is a major engineering employer for our region.

Rolls-Royce is an important industrial collaborator for the University of Bath. It has supported the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s Laboratory for Integrated Metrology Applications and is involved in The Light Controlled Factory, which explores the use of lasers and optical methods for measurement and the control of machines. Rolls-Royce is also highly valued in recognition of its support of the University’s outreach efforts and, in particular, the SouthWest Big Bang Fair, which promotes STEM subjects to children. The company has taken dozens of Bath students on placement over the last three years and continues to be a top employer of University alumni, with more than 150 graduates currently employed.

In 2016, Japan’s SoftBank announced that it would purchase ARM Holdings. Warren, CEO of Rolls Royce but still with an existing stake in ARM, announced with his wife that half of his share would be placed in their charitable foundation to provide underprivileged students with a better opportunity to study engineering and science. Warren has also led an initiative at his alma mater, Wadham College Oxford, in order to increase diversity in the educational environment. In speaking about the initiative, he emphasised that breadth of perspective and experience can be a valuable asset in the classroom and the boardroom and in business generally.

We recognize Warren East for his distinguished career encompassing senior roles with ARM and with Rolls-Royce. Due to his commitment to responsible business practices and innovation as well as his passion for providing STEM education for students who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity, Warren embodies the values of the University of Bath.

Vice-Chancellor, I present to you Mr Warren East who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.

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