15 July 2020

All of us at the Business School were saddened at the news last week that our long-time colleague Nick Oliver had died suddenly.
Nick Oliver: An Appreciation

Nick was an undergraduate in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh and returned here from the University of Cambridge to head up the Business School in 2007. He led the School with enormous distinction for five years, driving the transformation of both the organisational and physical infrastructure, with the refurbishment of our building as we know it today.

He was a highly regarded professor of management, notable for his research in key sectors such as aviation and the car industry. He was regularly approached for expert commentary by the media, for example earlier this year on the subject of the emergency manufacturing of ventilators and last year during various mergers in the automotive industry.

Nick Oliver

Prior to joining us, he spent 14 years at the Judge Business School, Cambridge, seven at Cardiff Business School, and four at the Open University.

In 1992 he co-authored The Japanization of British Industry, which examined the transfer of Japanese management practices to the UK, followed in 2016 by Crisis, Resilience and Survival: Lessons from the Global Auto Industry. In recent years his research also covered stress-driven innovation, lessons from accidents in commercial aviation, team performance under uncertainty, and the safety of self-driving cars.

Not only was his research and teaching ever-relevant to an evolving society, he was a wonderful person to work alongside. We've received comments from colleagues in recent days with their memories of Nick, such as:

"A great voice, thoughtful and intellectually engaged."

"A great teacher, sounding board, MBA supporter and, above all, a really genuine human being."

"Produced research which is intellectually stimulating and with a high policy relevance."

"Nick's research on the car industry was world-leading and his work on resilience immensely impactful."

"A huge inspiration to many."

In these strange times, to lose such a clever and caring colleague feels doubly strange. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and we are ever so grateful for the time we had with him. Thank you, Nick.