Studying for PhD at Newcastle University has stood Chris Gibson-Smith in good stead. He gained his doctorate in Geochemistry in 1970 and has gone on to enjoy a stellar career, holding a string of high profile posts.
A geologist by trade, he has around 30 years of experience running FTSE 100 companies.
After rising through the ranks at BP to become a managing director in 1997, he was Chairman of the London Stock Exchange from 2003 - 2015, and Chairman of British Land – one of the UK’s largest property development companies –from 2007 to 2012.
Along the way, he’s held directorships at Lloyds TSB and Powergen (now E.ON), and was Chair of National Air Traffic Services from 2001–2005.
The son of parents who studied at Newcastle University when it was still Kings College, Chris said: 'Newcastle gave me both intellectual freedom and strong support as the framework within which to complete my doctorate.
'This combination laid a foundation that has endured for the rest of my working life.'