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Finniston, Sir Harold Montague


FINNISTON, SIR HAROLD MONTAGUE (Monty ; 1912–1991), British metallurgist and industrial administrator. Finniston was born in Glasgow (whose accent he retained), educated at Glasgow University, and became a lecturer at the Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow. He then became a metallurgist in industry and served in the Royal Naval Scientific Service during World War ii. He was chief metallurgist at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Harwell, from 1948 to 1958, and managing director of the International Research and Development Company from 1959 to 1967. He joined the board of the recently renationalized steel industry (British Steel Corporation) as deputy chairman (technical) in 1967, becoming chief executive in 1971 and chairman from 1973 to 1976. From 1976 he was active as chairman or director of industrial companies and from 1980 as a business consultant. Finniston was involved in many fields of research and in the Jewish community. He was chairman of the independent "think tank" of the Policies Institute from 1975 to 1984, chancellor of Stirling University, and pro-chancellor of the University of Surrey. He was knighted in 1975, had 15 honorary doctorates conferred upon him, and in 1969 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, of which he was later vice president in 1971–72. Sir Wally MacFarlane, the nationalized industry chairman portrayed in the popular British television comedy Yes, Minister, was based on Finniston.

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