John Kay is one of Britain’s leading management thinkers and economists.
Kay is a distinguished academic, a successful businessman, an adviser to companies and governments around the world, and an acclaimed columnist. His work has been mostly concerned with the application of economics to the analysis of changes in industrial structure and the competitive advantage of individual firms. His interests encompass both business strategy and public policy.
Kay began his academic career when he was elected a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford at the age of 21, a position which he still holds. As research director and director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies he established it as one of Britain’s most respected think tanks. Since then he has been a professor at the London Business School and the University of Oxford, and a visiting Professor at the London School of Economics.
He was the first director of Oxford University’s Said Business School.
In 1986 Kay founded London Economics, a consulting business, of which he was executive chairman until 1996. He has been a director of Halifax plc and remains a director of several investment companies. He is the first (and still the only) Professor of Management to receive the academic distinction of Fellowship of the British Academy.
Kay contributes a weekly column to the Financial Times. He is the author of Foundations of Corporate Success (1993), and The Business of Economics (1996). His book Obliquity, was published in 2010 to wide critical acclaim and latest book Other People’s Money came out in September 2015.
Kay believes that economics holds the most powerful tools available in the social sciences today, but that an exaggerated and sometimes exclusive emphasis on rational choice models and individual corporate selfishness undermines both our understanding of economic and social life and the functioning of our economic systems. This theme is today common to much of his work, which uses economic concepts to illuminate a variety of disparate issues.