Professor Chris Cowton will use his position to act as “a bridge between the academic and business worlds”

AN organisation that encourages high standards of ethical behaviour in the business world has appointed the University of Huddersfield’s Professor of Financial Ethics to its board of trustees.

Chris Cowton is internationally recognised for his research in the field, and his distinctions include being awarded the University’s first ever DLitt (Doctor of Letters, a Higher Doctorate) for his contributions to business and financial ethics.  He is already a member of the Ethics Standards Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and now he becomes a trustee of the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE).

This organisation was founded in 1986, when it was feared that the deregulatory “Big Bang” in the City of London might lead to a decline in standards.  The IBE is a charitable trust that “aims to advance public education in business ethics and related subjects with particular reference to the study and application of ethical standards in the management and conduct of industry and business”.

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Institute of Business Ethic

A charitable trust that “aims to advance public education in business ethics and related subjects with particular reference to the study and application of ethical standards in the management and conduct of industry and business”.

IBE Institute of Business Ethics

Professor Cowton was Dean of the University of Huddersfield’s Business School from 2008-2016, and before that he was Professor of Accounting, joining in 1996 from the University of Oxford.  His aim is that as an IBE trustee he will act as a bridge between the academic and business worlds.

His appointment comes as fresh research has shown that 70% of students state that they consider an organisation’s ethics and values when looking for a job, meaning this factor has become a crucial element in attracting the most able graduates.

“There is strong competition among companies for the best talent,” said Professor Cowton.  “If they can give a convincing message to graduates that they are a good company to work for – more than just offering good money – they will use that to attract the best students.  And of course, students who are interested in ethics are more likely to be ethical themselves when they work for you.”

On 18 October, at an IBE seminar in London, Professor Cowton chairs a session titled How do you Attract and Develop Ethical Leaders?.  The same event will also announce the winner of a student essay contest organised by the Institute, for which he has been a judge for several years.

The organisation is developing closer links with the university sector, which he looks forward to supporting, said Professor Cowton.  For example, it is launching a student internship scheme, and he was able to put the IBE in touch with the Huddersfield Business School’s award-winning Placement Unit in order to seek advice.

As a trustee of the IBE, Professor Cowton will serve an initial three-year term which can then be renewed.