John Constable DBA MA BSc

Cranfield School of Management

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John Constable


Emeritus Professor in Strategic Management,
Cranfield School of Management


It is with great sadness we report that Emeritus Professor John Constable died on 17 January 2011.

John Constable had been associated with Cranfield for over thirty five years as Professor, Director of the School and Visiting Professor. He was, for a brief period, Director General of the British Institute of Management. For the past twenty years he followed a portfolio career. This included teaching at Cranfield, Ashridge, and Bath University, being a non-executive director of three quoted companies, one a member of the FTSE 100, and several private companies. He was Chairman of a major charity, a Trustee of a large pension fund, a member of a District Health Authority and of the Civil Service Staff College Advisory Council and a Council member of two bodies influential in the provision of management education in the UK. He held engineering degrees from Cambridge and London Universities and a Doctorate in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

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"One of the best lecturers I have ever had. A real loss to business and the community. My prayers and thoughts are with the family"

Simon Lawson
Exec MBA 1987

"John was our inspirational MBA study group leader in 1980-81. For me, returning to education after many years in industry, John's lively intellect and sense of humour made me really consider why I was there, sharpened my thinking and encouraged me to enjoy the experience, which I did wholeheartedly. We had a wonderful year with good results and some fun contributions to college life too. Remember the train skit at the end of term one? (one black ball, one white ball, a normal distribution?). I got so much from our year - lifelong learning and lasting friendships - due in very large part to John's encouragement, guidance, experience, concern and wondrous intellect. Thank you John. You live on in all you helped."

Sue Stubenvoll
Student/Study Group 80-81

"John was an utter inspiration who I continue to quote and refer to as I travel round the world passing on a fraction of his wisdom.
He transformed a crusty engineer's understanding of business and I would not have been able to do what I have done without his input. He was clear and concise but open to, and encouraging of, different ways of thinking. He was unfailingly courteous, even to uppity students and an engaging speaker; his 3 hour lectures passed by in a flash.
Thank you to his family for sharing him with us. "

Graham Lewis
Exec MBA 1989

"John's lectures were always highly enjoyable, interactive and delivered with a sense of fun. A truly inspiring guy. God bless"

Sarah (Ramsden) Smith
Exec MBA 2001-2002

"We looked forward to John's presentations and appreciated the efforts that he made in preparation. They were fresh, good humoured and relevant. I am sorry that he seems to have suffered with the horrible disease. My sympathies to his family."

IAN Duff
MBA 1975

"John was one of the true greats of Cranfield. He was a man of gravitas, wisdom and good humour whose lectures were a highlight of the MBA programme. He will be sadly missed and my heart goes out to his family and friends at this distressing time."

David Richards
MBA 1975

"I have very fond memories of our strategic management project and strategic management course in second year. We had a lot of fun and John had a very special way of teaching that will be missed."

David Lipschitz
Exec MBA 1992

"It was a honour and a pleasure to work with John. He was passionate about his subject and the learning opportunities that Cranfield offerred to all those who studied. He was exemplory and set high standards - a real gentleman.
As an MBA student I enjoyed his humour and knowledge. He was inspirational and charismatic and brought clarity and awareness to the subject of business strategy . As a colleague and boss he was fun to be with and insightful . I felt truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him and to have been a part of his team. A diamond on earth and now a bright star in heaven."

Marilyn Nichol
MBA 1981 and colleague when I worked as Marketing Director

"John and I arrived in Northamptonshire in 1960/61 and met ...... on a golf course. He was employed by a clothing manufacturer whose newest line was "plus 2s" for golfers. John gave me a pair and asked me to "try them out" They were excellent!
Our joint interest in golf blossomed into a fruitful foursomes partnership for the Northamptonshire Golf Union. Our modest successes were met with the same good grace as our more frequent losses. He was a joy to be with. His golfing prowess may not equal his academic achievements, but will not be forgotten."

Richard Aitken
past-President Northamptonshire Golf Union

"I was greatly impressed by the clarity with which John Constable put across the subject of Strategy, to the extent that I try to emulate his clarity when I teach the subject today at Oxford Brookes. He was and still is a huge inspiration to me."

Tony Tooth
Exec MBA 1992

"Energetic, amiable, a master of his subject, accessible and an enduring catalyst, John blended the academic disciplines, epitomized all the best characteristics of our business school, and gave me much of what I brought to my career in the USA."

Peter McHenry
MBA student 1974

"I have only recently learned of the sad news of John's passing, and therefore I hope my late submission will be forgiven by his family and colleagues.

He was Director of the Master's programme at Durham University Business School when I was there in 1969-70, and he was also my personal tutor including supervising my in-company project and dissertation.

His mix of academic and practical skills, but seldom without being very human and with a good sense of humour, were to be admired. He has been a major influence on what I have done and I owe him a lot. At that stage he had already achieved a great deal, but went on to achieve so much more.

Thank you John, you will always be remembered "

Tony Brook
John was my tutor at Durham University Business School


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