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.
In his spare time George likes to play chess, tennis or table tennis, spend time with his children, and listen to classical music. He is a Quaker.
To Read More By George Hosking:
Root Causes, Alternatives, and Solutions to Violence
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Return to 1998 Message Next to George Hosking's Writings
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