About me

After brief careers as a musician and a graphic artist, I studied at the London School of Economics – specialising in the economics of industry – followed by post graduate study at Birkbeck College, London. I then embarked on a 20 year career as a professional economist culminating in the role of Chief Economist and Head of its Economics Group for the NationalFarmers’ Union, working at very senior levels with government and the European Commission.

In 1995 I joined the Economics Group of the Cranfield School of Management as a senior lecturer in business economics and was subsequently appointed Director of the MBA Programme and also Director of MBA Admissions. At the same time I was retained as a government academic adviser and over the years have been involved in the production of a steady stream of economic and strategic reports for leading companies primarily in the area of food and farming. I was fortunate to gain a reputation as an effective communicator which has resulted in regular invitations to speak at conferences and provide media interviews.

I retired from Cranfield at the end of 2011 to concentrate on my consultancy business; Sean Rickard Ltd. which provides independent economic analysis primarily relating to food and farming. I also continue to teach graduate students and business executives and am currentlyworking on a second book to join my first book, The Economics of Organizations and Strategy, published by McGraw-Hill.

SÉAN RICKARD
PhD, MBA, MSc(econ), BSc(econ), FHEA, RiVF

Who I am

As a teenager I was torn between wanting to follow in my father’s footsteps as commercial artist or becoming a musician. Eventually, my art school teachers concluded that travelling around the country playing gigs did not mix well with my studies. I left art school but my career as a professional guitarists barely lasted two years, during which I had a whale of a time playing support to some of the world’s leading bands and travelling all over the country.

Eventually the growing gap between expenditure and income brought my feet back to earth and I joined W S Atkins as an illustrator. To their credit they sent me to study part-time at the London College of Printing and having completed a course in ‘air brushing’ they supported me in studying for a HNC in business studies. It was this course that awakened my interest in economics and two years later, armed with an HNC and two A levels, I was privileged to be studying for a BSc in economics at the London School of Economics.

By this time I was 23 and married with two children so when my studies ended in 1976 I needed a job. I became a professional economist and in the evenings studied for an MSc at Birkbeck College, London University. Some years later I answered an advertisement by the National Farmers Union seeking an economist. The day I accepted the NFU’s offer of a job I embarked on a career that has been both satisfying and rewarding.

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What I do

From 1987-1995 I was Chief Economist with the NFU and as Head of the Economics Department I directed research into a wide range of issues relating to the agricultural and food industries in the UK and the European Union.  Not surprisingly I developed an expertise in the areas of agricultural policy, food supply chain relationships, world trade issues and an understanding of the working methods of the European Union.   I became a member of a number of prominent UK and EU committees and working parties, including the influential CBI’s Economic Trends Committee and an important part of my job as Chief Economist was commenting publicly on a wide range of issues relating to farming and food.  

In 1995 I left the NFU and became a senior lecturer in business economics at the Cranfield School of Management. During my time at the NFU I had taken a keen interest in raising the academic status of the NFU’s economics department and by the mid-1990s I welcomed the challenge of a new career. One of the advantages of becoming an academic at Cranfield was that it afforded me the opportunity to continue to write and research into areas – not just food and farming – that interested me. It also afforded me the scope to develop my leadership skills and I was appointed successively the Director of the Executive MBA Programme and the Director of the Full Time MBA Programme while also holding down the post of Director of MBA Admissions.

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Un Peu D’histoire

From 1987-1995 I was Chief Economist with the NFU and as Head of the Economics Department I directed research into a wide range of issues relating to the agricultural and food industries in the UK and the European Union. Not surprisingly I developed an expertise in the areas of agricultural policy, food supply chain relationships, world trade issues and an understanding of the working methods of the European Union. I became a member of a number of prominent UK and EU committees and working parties, including the influential CBI’s Economic Trends Committee and an important part of my job as Chief Economist was commenting publicly on a wide range of issues relating to farming and food.

In 1995 I left the NFU and became a senior lecturer in business economics at the Cranfield School of Management. During my time at the NFU I had taken a keen interest in raising the academic status of the NFU’s economics department and by the mid-1990s I welcomed the challenge of a new career. One of the advantages of becoming an academic at Cranfield was that it afforded me the opportunity to continue to write and research into areas – not just food and farming – that interested me. It also afforded me the scope to develop my leadership skills and I was appointed successively the Director of the Executive MBA Programme and the Director of the Full Time MBA Programme while also holding down the post of Director of MBA Admissions.

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Why choose me

On leaving the NFU a number of companies and organisations associated with farming and food pursued me. I was still an employers´ representative on the Agricultural Wages Board and was appointed to the Minister of Agriculture’s Think Tank on future agricultural and rural policy. I wrote the draft for New Labour’s agricultural manifesto and for the following eighteen years I was an academic adviser to the government on food and farming.

In the following years I worked on many reports and studies relating to food and farming; I became a frequent speaker at agri-food industry conferences and was regularly interviewed on radio and television; not just about food and farming matters but also general economic issues. More to the point I developed a reputation for outspoken views of the future of agricultural policy which at first attracted much criticism but have since gained wide support.

As an academic I redesigned and developed the core micro economic module for the MBA programme which students seemed to greatly enjoy and provided me with the framework for my book The Economics of Organisations and Strategy. I also designed the Decision Science module, and electives on Globalisation and Pricing Strategy. In 2011 I set up my consultancy Sean Rickard Ltd and retired at the end of the year to concentrate on its development. I now work in partnership with clients to design and implement business strategies that extend to all stages of the agri-food chain. I relish my reputation for providing innovative advice and solutions to economic problems relating to food and farming.

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