Will Hutton

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William Nicholas Hutton (born 21 May 1950, Woolwich) is an English writer, weekly columnist and former editor-in-chief for The Observer. He is currently executive vice-chair of The Work Foundation (formerly the Industrial Society), having been Chief Executive from 2000 to 2008.

"Will Hutton is the Principal of Hertford College, Oxford University. He is also the Chair of the Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation – the most influential voice on work, employment and organisation issues in the UK. ... Will is also is a governor of the London School of Economics. He is a member of the Scott Trust board and a fellow of the Sunningdale Institute. He was the Chair of the Commission on Ownership which delivered its findings in 2012. He also led the Public Sector Fair Pay Review, which published its final report in March 2011." [1]


Early life

Hutton began his education in Scotland. His father had worked at the Royal Ordnance factory (Royal Arsenal) in Woolwich. He went to Bishopton Primary School in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, then Paisley Grammar School when he was eight. His father moved to Bromley, then in Kent, and he went to Southborough Lane County Primary School in Petts Wood.[6]

Hutton studied at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School in Sidcup, where he was introduced to A level economics by a teacher, Garth Pinkney. He only got average marks at O-level, but enjoyed the sixth form much more, studying Geography, History and Economics. He organised the school tennis team. After studying Sociology and Economics at the University of Bristol[7] gaining a BSocSc (2.1), he started his career as an equity salesman for a stock broker, before leaving to study for a MBA at INSEAD at Fontainebleau near Paris.


He moved on to work in TV and radio, spending ten years with the BBC, including working as economics correspondent for Newsnight from 1983 to 1988. He spent four years as editor-in-chief at The Observer and director of the Guardian National Newspapers before joining the Industrial Society, now known as The Work Foundation.

Hutton joined The Work Foundation as chief executive in 2000 when it was named the Industrial Society.[8] As well as a columnist, author and Chief Executive, he is a governor of London School of Economics, a visiting professor at the University of Manchester Business School and the University of Bristol, a visiting fellow at Mansfield College Oxford, a trustee of the Scott Trust that owns the Guardian Media Group, rapporteur of the Kok Group and a member of the Design Council's Millennium Commission.[9]

Political analysis

The analysis in his books is characterised by a support for the European Union and its potential, alongside a disdain for what he calls American conservatism – defined, among other factors, as a certain attitude to markets, property and the social contract. In 1992, he won the What The Papers Say award for Political Journalist of the Year.

Public life

In May 2010, Hutton was appointed to lead an inquiry into cutting top public sector pay by Prime Minister David Cameron.[10] In 2003 he was made an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) by Bristol University.


As an author, his best known and most influential works are The State We're In (an economic and political look at Britain in the 1990s from a social democratic point of view) and The World We're In (where he expanded his focus to the relationship between the United States and Europe, emphasising cultural and social differences between the two blocs).

Hutton's book The Writing On The Wall was released in the UK in January 2007. The book examines Western concerns and responses to the rise of China and the emerging global division of labour, and argues that the Chinese economy is running up against a set of increasingly unsustainable contradictions that could have a damaging universal fallout. On 18 February 2007, Hutton was a featured guest in BBC's Have Your Say programme discussing the implications of China's growth.

Personal life

Hutton married in 1978 and lives near Woodstock in Oxfordshire.He has a son and two daughters. His wife, Jane Atkinson, is a director of a property development company called First Premise based in Richmond upon Thames, which she founded in 1987.


  1. Work Foundation Will Hutton, organizational web page, accessed June 28, 2012.
  2. Ditchley Foundation Governors, organizational web page, accessed April 12, 2013.
  3. CentreForum Board, organizational web page, accessed July 8, 2012.
  4. Centre for Labour and Social Studies National Advisory Panel, organizational web page, accessed May 20, 2013.
  5. Helena Kennedy Foundation People, organizational web page, accessed May 24, 2013.
  6. Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Will Hutton, author and former newspaper editor The Independent, 18 June 2009
  7. The NS Profile - Will Hutton New Statesman, 31 May 1999
  8. TJ OnlineTemplate:Deadlink
  9. Our People - Will Hutton The Work Foundation
  10. Prime Minister David Cameron 'a liberal Conservative' BBC News, 16 May 2010

External links

News items

Preceded by:
Andrew Jaspan
Editor of The Observer
1996 - 1998
Succeeded by:
Roger Alton