Lord Bamford is best known for his position at JCB, one of Britain’s most successful family-owned businesses. As Chairman of the iconic construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer since 1975, he has presided over the prolific global expansion of a brand that stands for strength, durability and reliability in products ranging from tracked excavators to children’s toys and DIY equipment.
Born in 1945, on the day his father Joseph Cyril Bamford CBE set up JCB, Anthony Bamford’s path into the family business after leaving Ampleforth College started with an engineering apprenticeship at Massey Ferguson in France. The three years spent on the Continent were valuable in preparing him for a JCB career that started on the shop floor in 1964 before moving into management to lead the company’s early export drive into Europe in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
When his father retired in 1975 after 30 years at the helm to allow “younger management to show its strengths”, he set about transforming JCB into a world leader in construction and agricultural equipment technology. An early move was to start producing major components in-house by opening an axle factory in Wales in 1978.
This was the first of many decisions made over a three decade period to vertically integrate the company’s operations. Today, JCB makes its own transmission systems in Wales, hydraulic cylinders and cabs in Staffordshire and off-highway engines in Derbyshire. All part of Lord Bamford’s determination to have complete technological control over JCB’s product range.
Arguably, his most inspired decision was to set up JCB’s first overseas operation in India. That was in 1979 when few companies would have contemplated setting up business in that region. His love for the country and its people, and an absolute conviction in its long-term market potential have paid dividends. JCB now employs over 3,000 people in India, which has become the company’s single largest market. The move was to become a template for the company’s subsequent entry into the Brazil, North America and China markets.
Since becoming Chairman, he has taken JCB from a one-factory operation in Staffordshire to a global business with 22 plants around the world that employ over 12,000 people and manufacture 300 different products.
JCB may be the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer by volume, but its Chairman remains firmly committed to manufacturing in Britain. With over 6,500 employees in its 11 factories in the UK that export over 75% of production, JCB generates substantial export revenues, making a continuous, positive contribution to the nation’s trade program.
Lord Bamford has held some key positions in British society over the years but it is for his many business achievements that he has achieved the most recognition, including National Westminster Young Exporter of the Year (1972), The Guardian Young Businessman of the Year (1979) and Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite (1989). He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1990 and awarded the Commendatore of the Order of Merit of Italy in 1995. More recently, an award by the UK India Business Council for his significant contribution to Anglo-Indian business relations was bestowed in 2008 and he was appointed a UKTI Business Ambassador in 2010 to promote UK excellence in overseas markets. He has also been inducted into the Association of Equipment Manufacturers‘ Hall of Fame USA (2008) and received a number of honorary degrees and doctorates from leading British universities.
He has also presided over JCB winning 27 Queen’s Awards for Innovation and Enterprise since the company’s first award in 1969 and in 2013, Her Majesty The Queen conferred the honor of a Life Peerage upon the JCB Chairman with Lord Bamford taking the formal title of Baron Bamford of Daylesford in the County of Gloucestershire and of Wootton in the County of Staffordshire.
Lord Bamford and his wife, Carole, Lady Bamford OBE make sure JCB becomes an integral part of every community in which the company operates. JCB supports the NSPCC in the UK and its employees are active fundraisers for the charity’s campaigns to end cruelty to children. There are also many projects at JCB’s overseas locations to support local communities, including the Lady Bamford Charitable Trust in India to assist villages near its factories and the Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development in Savannah, GA. Lord Bamford frequently donates machinery to support disaster relief efforts across the globe.
His interests include gardening and farming. He also enjoys motorsports and although he wasn’t at the steering wheel at the time, he was the inspiration and driving force behind JCB achieving a world land speed record for a diesel-powered car in 2006. The JCB Dieselmax, powered by two JCB engines, reached a speed of 350.092 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a record the company still holds today.