Express & Star

Diamond day for JCB chairman

JCB chairman Anthony Bamford celebrates an unprecedented milestone with the family firm this weekend – 60 years’ service.

Lord Bamford with JCB directors

Lord Bamford completed an engineering apprenticeship with Massey Ferguson in France and first walked through the doors of the Staffordshire digger company’s Rocester factory as an employee on February 24, 1964 aged just 18 and started work on the shop floor.

At the age of 78 he is leading a £100 million project to develop hydrogen combustion engines to power the JCB machines of the future.

Lord Bamford was presented with his long service award at the JCB world headquarters by JCB chief executive Graeme Macdonald. He also received a gift of an oak tree from company directors.

Lord Bamford said: “It is hard to imagine that I have been here that long, but I really haven’t known anything else. As a family company, I was introduced to the business at a very young age and have been involved in it ever since. In fact, my earliest memory was going with my mother to take tea and sandwiches to a handful of men who were working for my father when the business was based in stables at Crakemarsh Hall, near Uttoxeter.

"So much has happened over the past 60 years. When I first worked at JCB, we had one factory. Now there are 22 all over the world employing more than 19,000 people. We were also making around 3,000 machines a year in 1964 and today we manufacture well over 100,000 every year. JCB’s success is very much down to the whole team around the world and, while it’s nice to reflect on the achievements of the past, my focus is very much on what our team can achieve in the future.”

Mr Macdonald said: “The whole JCB team sends its congratulations to Lord Bamford on what is a momentous milestone. Such an achievement is unprecedented at JCB and almost certainly unmatched in British industry. Lord Bamford’s contribution to JCB and the business world over the past 60 years has been truly remarkable.”

Lord Bamford’s personal career highlights include the establishment of JCB’s first overseas subsidiary in France in 1969. In 1979, four years after taking over as chairman from his father, the late Joseph Cyril Bamford, he established JCB’s business in India, which has since grown into the company’s biggest single market for construction equipment.

Under Lord Bamford’s leadership, JCB has grown to into one of the world’s largest and most successful construction equipment manufacturers with 11 factories in the UK, and others in India, North America, Brazil, and China. When Lord Bamford joined JCB in 1964, the company’s turnover was £8.9 million; in 2022 it had risen to £5.7 billion.

Lord Bamford was also instrumental in setting up The JCB Academy in Rocester, which opened in September 2010, a £22 million school for 13 to 18-year-old students aspiring to become the engineers and business leaders of the future.

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