John Kay is one of Britain’s leading economists. He 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. Today he is probably most widely known for his weekly column in the Financial Times, which ranges over topical issues in economics, finance and business.
He 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 is currently a visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. He was the first director of Oxford University’s Said Business School.
In 1986 he founded London Economics, a consulting business, of which he was executive chairman until 1996. During this period it grew into Britain’s largest independent economic consultancy. He has been a director of Halifax plc and remains a director of several investment companies. Now his time is principally devoted to writing.
He is the author of Foundations of Corporate Success (1993), The Truth about Markets (2003) (A US version, Culture and Prosperity, appeared in 2004), The Long and the Short of It (2009), Obliquity (2010) Other People’s Money (2015). Three collections of John’s writings have been published, The Business of Economics (1996), Everlasting Light Bulbs (2004), The Hare & the Tortoise (2006).
In July 2011 Vince Cable, Secretary to State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK government, asked him to lead a review of equity markets and long term decision making. The review produced a final report in July 2012.
He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has been awarded an honorary D.Litt by Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.