Alumni

John Pritchard, CEO of Aerostructures, GKN Aerospace


My time at University defined my character more than any other period in my life, the independence and time available to explore different views from the mixture of course material and people I met has led to a fiercely entrepreneurial streak in my character that I value and has served me well

John_Pritchard400x400.jpg “I was undecided about what to do with my life during my A Levels and I thought that choosing a Business Studies degree would give me the most opportunity to keep my options open when I eventually found an area that interested me.” 


“I’m so glad I did, as my qualification was the leverage I needed to start my journey along my current career path - it really is the entry criteria for the current job I do. The diversity of the course including finance, organisational behaviour, strategy, operations, sales, marketing has been invaluable. In my current role I have to have an understanding of all parts of the business and be equally knowledgeable in each of these disciplines. My qualification has given me a high degree of flexibility.”


Even though his role takes him around the globe, John still finds time to be nostalgic about his days in South Wales as a student. “I have many, many great memories from my time at University, and a number of notable nights stand out! I will always remember the people I met, and the friendship and comradery with other students on my course, we had a great time. My time at University defined my character more than any other period in my life, the independence and time available to explore different views from the mixture of course material and people I met has led to a fiercely entrepreneurial streak in my character that I value and has served me well.” 


Since he left University in 1995, John's career has gone from strength to strength. A move to GKN Aerospace in 1998 facilitated his promotion swiftly up the ranks to his current position of CEO Aerostructures for Europe. With responsibility for a $1 billion division and 4,000 employees in a truly global business, John finds himself in the departure lounge of an airport on a regular basis!


“Working in an international industry involves an amount of travel, I travel most weeks either nationally or internationally. There is no typical day however running a successful business involves a mixture of standard and non-standard work. Most of the standard work involves achievement of on time delivery and quality, Health and Safety, reporting, financials, and other important governance issues. Non-standard type of work involves Strategy, securing new business, new technology and employee engagement.”


“I have had a fantastic career in my time since leaving University. I work in the most exciting industry in the world which constantly pushes the boundaries of technology. I have been involved in two ground breaking acquisitions, secured a number of significant new contracts, grown businesses, restructured businesses and introduced revolutionary technology and processes. However the most rewarding achievements have been in terms of developing people and seeing people grow and move on in their careers, as a leader this is what gives me the most satisfaction.”


And what advice would he give his fellow alumni wishing to follow his career path?  “This is a question I often have to answer and it is, work hard and do your best in your exams, enjoy yourself in what you do and embrace any opportunity you are given with open arms. When I look around me at others who have been successful they have taken every opportunity offered to them in life and business. Finally you will have to push yourself outside your comfort zone if you do this you will be amazed at what you can achieve.”