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Honorary Degree Conferring of Paul Drechsler

Friday, 22nd June 2018

Paul Drechsler, LL.D. (pictured alongside the Provost, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ann Martha Rowan and Mary Robinson)

On Friday 22nd June 2018, an Honorary Degree of the University of Dublin was conferred on Paul Drechsler LL.D. at a Commencements Ceremony in the Public Theatre.

It all began when Paul graduated from Engineering at Trinity in 1978. His father, also an engineer, joined the teaching staff of the fledgling Department of Business and Administrative Studies in 1964 and introduced in Trinity, the first MBA in Europe. His sisters were educated in Trinity, and walking out of College one fine evening, he met his future wife Wendy Hackett, a Trinity Physiotherapy student at the time.

Following graduation, Paul left Ireland to join the graduate programme at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). He ran subsidiaries in Brazil, the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. He was appointed to ICI's main Board in 1998. By 2004, he joined the family-owned Wates Construction Group serving as Chairman and Chief Executive until he stepped down in 2014.

Paul has been recognised for his outstanding leadership, winning among other awards, the KPMG Chief Executive of the Year for the construction industry, and PWC 'Private Company, Chief Executive of the Year’. In February 2015, he was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II with an Honorary CBE for services to the construction industry. In 2015, he was also appointed President of the Confederation of British Industry. He is now Chairman of Bibby Line (Shipping, Financial Services and Retail) Group.

Paul has used his immense problem-solving and leadership skills to contribute to society to help combat poverty, specifically through promotion of education. He is Chairman of the Board of the charity Teach First which addresses educational disadvantage. He is a tireless supporter of Trinity through his own efforts and the influence of others. In 2005, he joined the Business School Advisory Board and was Chair of the Business School Development Steering Group. Paul has helped to ensure that the dream of a new Business School building would take shape.

His Honorary Degree was conferred alongside that of Hillary Rodham Clinton LL.D., Ann Martha Rowan M.Litt, Tony Scott D.Ed. and James Harris Simons Sc.D.