Kumar Bhattacharyya

March 24, 2000

The success of Kumar Bhattacharyya's Warwick Manufacturing Group has been the envy of universities across the country.

Started by Professor Bhattacharyya 20 years ago, with himself as the only employee, it now has more than 450 staff and its turnover last year was more than Pounds 80 million. Most of its profits go to Warwick University, where it is based.

WMG is well placed to help in the fallout after BMW's sale of Rover cars - and not only geographically. Training and retraining have always been the group's main focus.

Bhattacharyya, 59, the son of an Indian chemistry professor, was educated in India and at the University of Birmingham. He joined Lucas Industries, aged 20, as a graduate trainee, then worked as a production engineer for four years before returning to Birmingham to lecture. He joined Warwick two years later to help expand "education for the age of technology".

A believer in the importance of experience above abstract knowledge, he has attributed the success of WMG to offering a complete package, from pioneering manufacturing techniques to advising on corporate strategy.

WMG maintains strong international links with offshoots in Malaysia, China and India. Three years ago, it was enlisted by South Africa to help upgrade the country's industry.

Bhattacharyya is a member of the government's Council for Science and Technology, and a trustee of the Institute of Public Policy Research, he serves on the West Midlands Regional Development Agency and three government task forces, according to a report by Democratic Audit published last November. He is also a generous donor to the Labour Party.

He has served on the National Consumer Council and West Midlands regional committee of the Further Education Funding Council. He now advises both trusts and charities and a number of British and overseas companies.

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