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Imperial College welcomes new Rector

3 January 2001

The new Rector of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Sir Richard Sykes, DSc, FRS, took up office today, 3 January 2001.

Sir Richard Sykes
Sir Richard Sykes
Sir Richard succeeds Lord Ronald Oxburgh, FRS, who held the post from 1993-2000. Sir Richard will be the Colleges 13th Rector.

Sir Richard Sykes is non-executive Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline. He is a Fellow of Imperial College School of Medicine and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Imperial College in 1999.

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Imperial College
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Notes to editors:

Brief biography

Born in 1942, Sir Richard graduated at the University of London with a first class Honours degree in Microbiology. He obtained his Doctorate in Microbial Biochemistry at Bristol University and his Doctor of Science degree from the University of London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In 1999 he received the Hamao Umezawa Memorial Award of the International Society of Chemotherapy in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of chemotherapy, and the Singapore National Day Public Service Star Award for his contribution to the economic development of Singapore.

Sir Richard joined Glaxo Research Limited in 1972 as Head of the Antibiotic Research Unit, a position he held for five years before taking up the appointment of Assistant Director, Department of Microbiology at The Squibb Institute for Medical Research, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. He became Director of Microbiology in 1979 and an Associate Director of the Institute.

In 1983 Sir Richard was made Vice President, Infectious and Metabolic Diseases at the Squibb Institute, a position he held until 1986 when he re-joined Glaxo in the UK as Deputy Chief Executive of Glaxo Group Research Limited. He was appointed Group Research and Development Director, Glaxo plc and Chairman & Chief Executive of Glaxo Group Research Limited in 1987.

Sir Richard was appointed Deputy Chairman & Chief Executive of Glaxo plc in March 1993. Following the acquisition of Wellcome plc, Glaxo plc was renamed Glaxo Wellcome plc on 1st May 1995. Sir Richard was appointed Chairman & Chief Executive of Glaxo Wellcome plc in May 1997, and was succeeded as Chief Executive by Mr Robert Ingram in October of that year. He became non-executive Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline on 27 December 2000.

In August 1997 Sir Richard was appointed a non-executive director of Rio Tinto plc and Rio Tinto Ltd.

Sir Richard received his knighthood, for services to the pharmaceutical industry, in the 1994 New Year Honours list. He sits on a number of government and scientific committees and is a Trustee of the Natural History Museum in London.

He served as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1998-99.

Imperial College

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is an independent constituent part of the University of London. Founded in 1907, the College teaches a full range of science, engineering, medical and management disciplines at the highest level. The College is the largest applied science and technology university institution in the UK, with one of the largest annual turnovers (£330 million in 1998-99) and research incomes (£122 d;122 million in 1998-99). It is consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions for research quality, with an aggregate scoreof 6.09 out of 7in the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise. For further information see: