George Hosking (Founder of WAVE)

An economist, accountant and psychologist, George specialises identifying critical

success factors, strategic analysis, corporate restructuring, competitive strategy and

international competitor analysis (in which he has over 18 years experience). Before

forming Cameron in 1983, he had many years experience as a senior line manager in

European food and chemical businesses and as an international strategy

adviser.George has operated as a strategy consultant in over 30 countries worldwide,

with major American, European and Japanese corporations. George is also widely

known as a speaker on strategic profitability issues and has delivered Strategic

Management programmes and Industry Strategy studies to conferences of managers in

the United Kingdom, USA, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

 

George Dunne Cameron Hosking was born on 27 December 1943 on the Hebridean

island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland, where he spent his early

years. After the war, the family moved to Glasgow. There George attended

Hillhead High School and Glasgow University, graduating in 1966 with an

Honours Degree in Economics with Economic History, his special subject

being the economic development of underdeveloped countries.

 

From University George joined the Unilever corporation and qualified as an

accountant. His 17-year career with Unilever encompassed the Finance and

Purchasing functions and major specialisations in corporate turnaround and

international strategy. This work took him to more than 35 countries in all

corners of the globe, where he began to develop a first-hand awareness of

some of the suffering on the planet. The juxtaposition of extreme poverty

and extreme privilege stimulated an existing fascination with the schism

between compassion and effectiveness. He noticed that people who were high

on the scale of one of those attributes were frequently low on the other,

and he grew more and more interested in the idea of synthesising the two

polar opposites. This led him to in-depth study of Western and Eastern

philosophy and, of course, psychology. Eventually he combined his full time

job with studying Psychology at London University for four years,

graduating in 1983 with a First.

 

Also in 1983 George set up his own consulting business, Cameron

Consultants, specialising in advising companies such as BP, RR Donnelley,

Exxon, 3M, Monsanto, Perrier, Procter & Gamble, Toshiba and Unilever on

international competitive strategies, senior management development and

profit restructuring. Over the past 12 years his corporate profit

restructuring method, known as "Cogent", has enabled international

companies to add more than $50 million per annum in profit to their bottom

lines, and George has addressed international management conferences around

the globe on issues of international strategy and profit improvement.

 

A father of a son and two daughters himself, in the early 1990s George was

deeply moved by a number of horrendous child cruelty cases widely reported

in the UK. He took a fundamental decision or, as he sees it, the decision

took him, that he could not accept such things taking place without doing

something about it. He explains this response as a natural outcome of the

early influences in his life, including a grandmother who looked after

orphaned children and people who had suffered misfortunes, a mother who

extended the same protection to animals of all kinds, and an uncle Merchant

Navy Captain who though torpedoed three times between 1941 and 1945, never

gave in, and twice sailed over 200 miles in open boats leading members of

his crew to safety (for which exploits he was decorated with both an MBE

and an OBE).

 

In looking at what he personally could do about the issue of child cruelty,

George saw that a large amount of money would provide one route to making a

difference. He therefore set about combining his own ability to be

effective with his commitment to this cause by becoming the initiator and

leader of the acquisition of a $500m company in Europe. The intention was

to use his corporate turnaround experience to make the business more

profitable, and he made a commitment to invest one third of his share of

the benefits in a trust fund to support an international charity to end

child cruelty. The acquisition succeeded, and George's share was expected

to be $10m, but George learned the truth of the famous words of his

favourite poet, Robert Burns, "the best laid schemes of mice and men gang

aft agley" (go oft astray) when the insurance company backing him explained

that their agreement with him was not legally binding, and left him with

nothing. George then spent much of the next 5 years, and all of his money,

suing the insurance company for several million dollars.

 

In 1996 George decided he would wait no longer to make his fortune from

legal proceedings, as the only people getting richer were the lawyers, and

he began to explore the issue of child cruelty, and its causes, in depth.

This has led him to realise that child cruelty and violence in its widest

sense are deeply intertwined. He began to study Criminology at Birmingham

University, to counsel victims and offenders, and to initiate the creation

and growth of WAVE, while continuing to run his strategy consultancy. The

story of WAVE's formation can be found elsewhere.

 

George is married to Ita. They have a relationship in which personal growth

is central - "Without that, we'd never survive each other", he says. In his

spare time (!) he likes to play chess, tennis or table tennis with Ita,

spend time with his children, or listen to good music. He is a Quaker.

 

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