Sir Roderick Ian Eddington AO (born 2 January 1950 in Perth, Western Australia) is an Australian businessman. He is currently chair of the government body Infrastructure Australia, a director of News Corporation, continuing his long association with that company, and has served in other senior positions including as CEO of British Airways.
Coming from a country area where there were no high schools, Eddington went to Perth in 1963 to attend Christ Church Grammar School. He studied engineering at the University of Western Australia and graduated with first class honours in 1972. He continued his studies at UWA and completed the degree of Master of Engineering. In 1974, Eddington was the Rhodes Scholar from Western Australia. He completed his DPhil in the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford University and played eight first-class cricket matches for Oxford in 1975 and 1976. He was President of Vincent's Club in 1977.
|Full name||Roderick Ian Eddington|
2 January 1950 |
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
|Bowling||Slow left-arm orthodox|
|Domestic team information|
|First-class debut||26 April 1975 Oxford University v Sussex|
|Last First-class||23 June 1976 Oxford University v Sussex|
Source: CricketArchive, 16 December 2009
Eddington joined the Swire Group in 1979, working for its subsidiary Cathay Pacific, before being appointed Managing Director in 1992. Continuing his association with the airline industry; News Limited, subsidiary of News Corporation, appointed Eddington Chairman of Ansett Australia in January 1997, four years before the airline failed. News Corp had taken control of the airline with TNT in 1979. Eddington was appointed Deputy Chairman of News Limited in September 1998. He was further promoted to the News Corporation board in September 1999. In a timely manoeuvre, News Corporation sold off Ansett; the airline eventually became insolvent in 2001 partly as a result of the overall difficulties in the airline industry following the 9/11 terror attacks. Eddington managed to escape blame for the poor financial state of the airline, apparently aided by his board membership of News Corporation, as others were loath to criticise him publicly. The blame for the collapse has tended to be worn by the Air New Zealand management, who bought the airline from News Corporation in 2000 without significant experience in managing large point-to-point short and medium haul domestic networks. Prior to Ansett's placement into Administration by the Air New Zealand Management, Eddington had successfully met most targets to turn Ansett's misfortune around and some critics believe the airline was not technically insolvent after all.
Eddington replaced former BA CEO Bob Ayling on 2 May 2000. He removed many aspects of Ayling's corporate relaunch in early 2001: the unpopular ethnic-art tailfins were changed back to the traditional Union Jack tailfin. He steered the company in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. which proved disastrous for many other airlines.
Following a loss of £200m in 2002, Eddington's "Future Size and Shape" cost-cutting programme allowed BA to report a profit of £135m in 2003, despite a decrease in turnover. Eddington declared: "These are good results in one of the toughest years in living memory", and while this can be expected from a CEO trying to reassure investors, it was against a climate of the Iraq War and SARS.
The decision to permanently retire the British Airways Concorde in 2003 was made by Eddington, and his action remains highly controversial.
Eddington stood down as Chief Executive Officer of British Airways on 30 September 2005, after more than five years in the position. He then returned to Australia to take up a position as the head of the Victorian Major Events Association, succeeding Steve Vizard.
Eddington was replaced by Willie Walsh in October 2005 after he had followed a six-month shadow position.
As of February 2006, Eddington was a non-executive board member of:
Eddington also served on the board of Allco Finance Group, where he was one of three non-executive directors to approve Allco's ill-fated acquisition of Rubicon Holdings.
A previously-announced plan for Eddington to become Chairman of ANZ Banking Group of Australia and New Zealand was first delayed from February 2009 to February 2010; then finally scuttled on 9 August 2009. It is possible that his Directorship of scandal-plagued Rio Tinto Group made such a position for him at ANZ untenable, as corporate espionage by Rio Tinto against the Chinese Government is at issue.
On 1 December 2006, Eddington published a UK government-sponsored report into the future of Britain's transport infrastructure. The Eddington Transport Study set out the case for action to improve road and rail networks, as a "crucial enabler of sustained productivity and competitiveness". The report's main conclusions were that Britain has transport networks that provide the right connections, in the right places, to support the journeys that matter to economic performance. But roads in particular were in serious danger of becoming so congested, the economy would suffer.
At the launch of the report Eddington told journalists and transport industry representatives introducing road pricing to encourage drivers to drive less was an "economic no-brainer". There was, he said "no attractive alternative". It would cut congestion by half by 2025, and bring benefits to the British economy totalling £28b.
The report also called for a programme of improvements to existing road and rail networks, the expansion of key airports, and adoption of the general principle that travellers should pay for the external costs of the pollution and congestion their journeys cause.
Eddington has since delivered a report to the Victorian Government of Australia, the East West Link Needs Assessment report, which was met with mixed reactions. Economic commentators criticized the cost-benefit ratios of Eddington's proposals, which on Eddington's own analysis were marginal at best.
In 1994 he married Young Sook Park, and they have a son and daughter, James and Michelle.
|Chief Executive of British Airways
April 2000 – September 2005