Originally published 8 March 2002
The University of Warwick has appointed Sir Nicholas Scheele, the Chief Operating Officer and President of Automotive Operations - Ford Motor Company, as its new Chancellor. The University of Warwick's previous Chancellor, Sir Shridath Ramphal, retired from the post at the end of January this year after 13 years of service.
Like the University’s first Chancellor-Designate, Lord Rootes, Sir Nick’s career has been spent in the motor industry. His career at Ford began in 1966, working in purchasing, supply and procurement in Britain. In 1978 he moved to the US, and in 1988 became President of Ford, Mexico, where he directed manufacturing and marketing operations. In 1992, he returned to Britain as Vice-Chairman of Jaguar Cars Ltd, quickly rising to become Chairman and Chief Executive. He remained at Jaguar for seven years, during which time sales doubled and Jaguar regained its place as one of the world’s top marques.
In March 1999, Sir Nick was appointed Senior Vice-President for Marketing, Sales and Service in Ford’s European Operations and in July 1999 he became President of Ford Europe. He is credited with having directed the increasingly successful transformation of Ford’s European business. He moved back to the United States in 2001 to serve as Ford’s Vice-President, N.America and last October was appointed Chief Operating Officer and President of Automotive Operations.
Sir Nick continues to play an active public role in Britain. He is Chairman of the Prince of Wales Business and Environment Committee; he also chairs the Manufacturing Group of Foresight 2020 – a government programme which aims to identify the UK’s future needs and to build bridges between industry, science and government. He has a particular interest in the education and training of young people and has been involved in a number of initiatives in this area. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Universities of Coventry and of Durham, and has also served on the Advisory Board of the Fulbright Commission.
Sir Nick retains a strong commitment to the West Midlands region (he still has a home in the Coventry area). He has served as President of the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership, Chairman of Business in the Arts West Midlands, and a Midlands Council member of the Institute of Directors. Actively involved in many charity, business and community support projects, he successfully chaired an appeal to raise money for Boole House, a new child care centre in Coventry and was subsequently voted a lifetime member of the NSPCC.
Sir Nick is married with three children. He holds a BA from the University of Durham and honorary degrees from five universities, including an Honorary DSc from the University of Warwick conferred in 1999. He is an accomplished linguist, speaking fluent French, German and Spanish. He was knighted in June 2001 for services to British exports.