Ambition was something that Alec Reed’s schoolteachers told him he lacked, criticism that seems ridiculous given his award of a knighthood in the Queen’s New Years Honours List for services to business and charity.
Sir Alec has had an active relationship with Royal Holloway with added attention to the School of Management. He was a council member between 1979 and 1985 and later chaired the Finance Committee between 1982 and 1988, the year in which Reed was made an honorary fellow of the college. Further on-campus achievements include playing a key role in the establishment of the RHUL Business partnership (later becoming Research and Enterprise) and having taught a popular undergraduate course entitled Leadership Innovation and Enterprise.
Now in his late 70s, Sir Alec founded Reed specialist recruitment in 1960 ,at 26 years of age, with a single branch in Hounslow. The company now boasts over 400 UK branches and Europe’s largest commercial jobsite, Reed.co.uk, with Reed and his family worth over £60 million in 2009 and focused on promoting education, charity and environmentally and socially friendly business.
However, this outstanding achievement goes hand in hand with Reed’s determination to give something back to the world in which he’s been so successful. The Reed Foundation runs charitable schemes such as The Big Give; an initiative that aims to introduce potential donors to charitable projects within their field of interest, holding details of over 7,000 charities and £1.3 billion worth of projects all over the world. Reed also runs a “Give as You Earn” scheme in which employees can donate to a charity of their choice in a tax efficient manner.
Royal Holloway’s School of Management emphasises the role of business within society and for society. This ideal seems to have been integral to Sir Alec’s career in business, as his ethical and generous sentiments combined with his ambition and obvious business skill have thrust him to the forefront of British business and onto the New Years honours list.