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BRE Non-Executive Chairman awarded OBE in New Year Honours List

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An Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal has been awarded to the BRE Group’s Non-executive Chairman Chris Earnshaw, in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2015.

The award recognises Chris’s sustained leadership and commitment to engineering and technology across a wide range of sectors and includes advising the UK Government on policy matters relating to the digital economy.

Chris was appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999 and is currently involved in a number of the Academy’s programmes that encourage excellence and innovation in the profession.

He was a Trustee of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Europe’s largest professional engineering institution, for eight years and served as President from 2008-9.

Throughout his career Chris has actively promoted collaboration between industry and academia. In recognition of this work he was elected Honorary Fellow of University College London and received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Ernst Weber Medal for Global Leadership in 2001.

Chris’s recent achievements follow on from a successful corporate career in the telecommunications sector where one of his principal achievements was leading British Telecom’s 10-year, £28 billion transformation of the UK telecoms network from analogue to digital. The system forms the backbone of much of the UK’s current digital infrastructure.

He said ‘I am surprised and very honoured to receive this award, I’ve been privileged to work on some great projects throughout my career which are testament to the positive influence that engineering and technology have for  improving people’s lives’.

In addition to chairing BRE Group also chairs Cranfield Aerospace and Cranfield Ventures which oversees the university’s technology licensing and commercial spin out activities.

For further information please contact Linda McKeown, BRE, tel 01923 664569, email [email protected]


Chris graduated from Sheffield University in 1976 with a degree in Special Physics and began his career as a systems design engineer in Post Office Telecommunications. He progressed through different senior management roles and was appointed to the British Telecom (BT) UK Management Board in 1989.

In the mid 1990s, Chris was US-based as founding CEO of a joint venture company that built and operated a global telecoms network, serving many of the Fortune 500 global companies.

During the later 1990s, he introduced new technologies and network services for BT, paving the way for today’s Broadband.

Chris served on BT’s Executive Management Board for over 10 years with responsibility for Networks and Systems and was chairman of the company’s Corporate Enterprise Venturing Board. He was also champion for BT’s environmental performance programmes, and was a member of the Prince of Wales’ Business in the Community Environmental Leadership Team.

Subsequent to moving from BT in 2002, he has provided advice on the development of the information economy  and the convergence of telecoms and broadcasting to the UK government. He was non-executive chairman of the UK Police IT Organisation (2004-07).

Chris was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999, served as President of the IET from 2008-9 and received the IEEE’s Ernst Weber Medal in 2001 for his global leadership in telecoms.

A long time active promoter of closer industry-academia working, he was a director of the Chicago-based International Engineering Consortium for over 10 years and holds an Honorary Fellowship of University College, London, in recognition of his work in this area.