David Pitt-Watson

David Pitt-Watson

David Pitt-Watson is a Scottish business and social entrepreneur and author. He is currently a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Consulting and Hermes Pension Management Limited. Pitt-Watson is also a non-executive director of Oxford Analytica,[1] a trustee with several organisations and advises civil servants and senior politicians on issues of industrial and financial policy.


Personal life

Early life

Born in 1956 in Aberdeen, Scotland, he is the son of the Reverend Professor Ian Pitt-Watson (deceased 1995) and Helen Pitt-Watson. He has two sisters, Margaret and Rosemary.


Pitt-Watson was educated at Bearsden Academy and Aberdeen Grammar School and then at Queen's College, Oxford where he studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He went on to win a scholarship from the Rotary Foundation to Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where he graduated with an M.A. and MBA in 1980.


He is married to Ursula Barnes, has three children and lives in London


After short periods of work at 3i and McKinsey Pitt-Watson co-founded and was ultimately Managing Director of Braxton Associates Limited. He worked there for 17 years during which time it was bought by Deloitte and became Deloitte Consulting, one of the largest strategy consultancies in Europe.

He left that position in 1997 to become Assistant General Secretary of the Labour Party,[2] a post he held for two years before joining Hermes Fund Managers as commercial director of their newly formed shareholder activist funds.

These funds, known as the Focus Funds, grew to be the largest of their kind in Europe. David became head of the funds and a director of Hermes in 2004, where he established Hermes Equity Ownership Service, a service to pension funds which aims to ensure that shares they own are used to promote good management practice and sustainable investment. HEOS currently advises on over £50bn worth of assets.[3] The Focus Funds and HEOS established Hermes as a global leader in the field of Responsible Investment. Hermes interventions in companies have led to the successful turnaround of some of the country’s largest companies.[4]

For over twenty years he has advised Labour Party politicians, including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, on issues of industrial and financial policy.[2] He has also advised civil servants.

In April 2008 he was appointed to General Secretary of the Labour Party[5] but was unable to take up the role owing to issues of personal liability.[6]


He is the author of The Hermes Principles, which lays out the expectations of Hermes of the companies in which it invests, and form the rationale for Hermes interventions in underperforming companies.[7]

He also co-authored The New Capitalists with Stephen Davis and Jon Lukomnik, which describes how structures of corporate governance can help ensure companies work in the interest of the millions of individuals who own their shares. It was published in November 2006 by Harvard Business School Press.[8]

Together with these publications Pitt-Watson has written numerous papers and articles, and has been a regular contributor to British newspapers such as the Financial Times and The Observer.

Charity work and public service

Pitt-Watson is a trustee of the Institute for Public Policy Research[9] and the Speakers' Corner Trust[10] which he currently Chairs.

At the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (The RSA)[11] he leads the Tomorrow's Investor programme.

In February 2000 he helped initiate and served on the Co-operative Commission (also known as the Monks Commission after its Chair, John Monks), established by Tony Blair, to help revive the fortunes of the UK Co-operative movement.

In the past Pitt-Watson has served on Labour’s Finance and Industry Group and was also a Labour Party councillor on Westminster City Council from 1986 to 1990.[12]

Academic appointment

Pitt-Watson was a Visiting Professor of Strategic Management at Cranfield University School of Management from 1990 to 1996.[10][13]


  1. ^ Oxford Analytica
  2. ^ a b Labour Party Press Release Monday, 10th March 2008 (Microsoft Word document)
  3. ^ Hermes Equity Ownership Service - Overview
  4. ^ Returns to Shareholder Activism, European Corporate Governance Institute
  5. ^ BBC News - Labour's general secretary named
  6. ^ Guardian.co.uk - Labour cash crisis could bankrupt party leaders
  7. ^ "The Hermes Principle" - Hermes Fund Managers Limited
  8. ^ "New Capitalists" - Harvard Business School Press
  9. ^ Institute for Public Policy Research - Trustee profile
  10. ^ a b Speakers' Corner Trust - Trustee profile
  11. ^ The RSA Events - Tomorrow's Investor
  12. ^ List of Councillors for Westminster City Council
  13. ^ Science Direct - "Eastern Europe: Commercial opportunity or illusion?"
  • Davis, Stephen; Lukomnik, Jon; Pitt-Watson, David (2006). The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 1422101010

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