William Arthur Jones
William Arthur Jones is a British businessman, technology venture capitalist, financier, angel investor and author of globally acknowledged book MindWealth: building Personal Wealth from Intellectual Property Rights.
Early life and education
Bill was born in 1947 to a retired merchant seaman and a farmer’s daughter. His early years were on Holy Island off Anglesey before moving to Llangefni. His first entrepreneurial activity was when aged 10 he sold foraged mushrooms around the council house estates in one of the most deprived areas in the country and Europe. Later he would drive 90 miles to Liverpool docks to buy fruit and vegetables wholesale and bring back to sell on those estates the same day.
Bill was educated at Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni (Comprehensive School) Anglesey which was the first newly purpose-built, state-of-the-art, truly comprehensive school in the UK in a notable political and educational experiment, when the entire island went totally comprehensive, and the grammar and secondary schools were closed. He was House Captain and Prefect. He was introduced to the Queen when she visited the school in 1958. He was introduced to many Welsh arts, literary and music luminaries including Charles Tunnicliffe (RA), Kyffin Williams (RA) and Hugh Griffith (Oscar).
In 1968 he graduated with a Bachelor of Metallurgy (Hons) from Sheffield University, which was UK’s leading and best-resourced metallurgical course. After 4 years in the steel industry and having prepared through the Princeton Test to attend Harvard, he opted for the lower cost 1-year Cranfield University Master of Business Administration (Finance) which had more taught hours than Harvard’s two-year course, graduating in 1973.
In his early life Bill founded the school silver band, was a North Wales duet and quartet junior silver band champion, a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales (first in the world) for 5 years, played school rugby 1st XV, university rugby 1st XV and played the lead in the National Eisteddfod youth pageant (Welsh cultural festival). And, in a “strange but true” for a Welshman, played representative rugby for Southern England.
Bill’s many roles have reflected the continual evolution of the global technology industries through their various lifecycles and regulatory interventions over 50 years, including a number of CEO roles and serving on Boards in many countries globally. He has led businesses in over 100 countries, has traded with over 150 and has served as Board member of businesses in 20 + countries. He’s resided in 4 countries. He’s engaged directly with the leadership of UK, NATO, EU, US, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland and other Governments / NGO’s often at their highest levels.
He’s led global, pan-European and national converging technology businesses with Fortune and Times 100 companies (Plessey, Motorola, MCI, Cable & Wireless) - often their largest international and market-leading businesses. The largest business was c$3bn revenues, before a regulatory-directed partial divestment in preparation for a merger with BT, which ultimately led to WorldCom acquiring MCI in what was at the time, the largest transaction in history ($37bn). He’s undertaken rapid growth, restructuring and turnarounds. He’s led businesses with dominant market shares in NSA and GCHQ as well as other global security markets. His strategies were adopted for domestic US markets by Motorola, MCI and HP.
He has also (co-) founded or led market-leading SME’s (SOVAM, Paknet, Satamatics, TRL), international trade associations (ECTA), and been instrumental in forming new entities to success and/or IPO /trade sale. He has a heritage of continual innovation and development of new business models through successive industrial cycles and emergent new industries. He’s overseen or led predominantly large-scale, innovative international R&D activities over 15 times.
He has led wireless-based businesses across an unusually large range of markets, products and spectrums. He has formed, developed, built and led pervasive differing broadband and mobile businesses – each in 8+ differing countries, and led global lines of business, security, data and M2M (Machine-to-Machine) - based businesses. Additionally, he has significant exposure to the internet, digital, retail, financial services, payments, electronics, defence, security, space, biotech and agricultural industries.
He has also undertaken global all-continents technology investment, divestment, M&A, venture and private equity work with Plessey, Advent, Richtec, C&W and FirstMark. He’s worked on many global transactions including AEG Telefunken, NASA Atlas Rocket Buyout, GE, Rohde and Schwarz, Siemens, MATRA, Millicom / Kinnevik, HP, TRL, Apple, Optus Australia, merger of BT and MCI and, MCI acquisition by WorldCom. He’s worked with the leading investment houses and banks in US, Europe and Far East. He’s also engaged with leading universities’ scientific and technological departments in US, Europe, UK, Beijing, Tokyo and Russia. More recently he has established outsourcing agreements with leading Chinese, Indian, Philippines, Indonesian, Romanian and US software and IT companies.
Career notable events
Aside from business success, he has a number of notable initiatives to his credit including: -
- In 1966 undertook classified research at UKAEA Aldermaston (Atomic Weapons Research Establishment)
- In 1969 represented British Steel Corporation on a 3-month Junior Executive Exchange Scheme to the German steel industry in Dusseldorf.
- In 1970 as Assistant Plant Manager at British Steel, he instigated and led the first end-to-end integrated steel-and-tube works, big-data project on the world’s first commercially sold business computer for commercial applications (LEOII Corby; completed on IBM 360 which replaced LEOII) at Europe’s largest integrated steel company and 3rd largest in the world. The project analysed 5 years of chemical, operational and quality data and predicted operational outcomes based on multiple correlations and which dynamically changed operational processes (precursor to AI) leading to significant improvements in yield.
- In 1974 organised Rank Xerox’s R&D assets for sale to Xerox PARC (R&D), Palo Alto California.
- In 1976 led a 5 site IT department for a FTSE 250 company.
- In 1978 as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chairman (and Chairman) of The Plessey Company plc (FTSE100) (Clark Brothers),he was an observer on the plc and subsidiary Boards and contributed to a range of strategic and operational corporate, National Economic Development Office (UK NEDO) and UK Government reviews of defence electronics and active and passive electronic components. He contributed to UK policy papers whilst also supporting defence electronics export bids. Participated in selling the 25% stake in ICL Ltd.
- In 1979 undertook a strategic review for Plessey plc’s Board of 4 R&D projects at Plessey Research Caswell including bubble and holographic memories. It culminated in a Board decision to cease the projects. Instigated and worked with Citigroup to give the teams opportunities to undertake buyouts of their projects.
- In 1981 as Geschaftsfuhrer and CEO of Plessey Gmbh’s 14-subsidiary technology conglomerate in Germany and Austria, based in Munich, he led Germany’s first industrial - (Mercedes, Stuttgart), retail and library-focused barcode business, the establishment of the 1st Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) semiconductor design facility in Germany, Plessey electronics’ unique participation in the German defence industry’s export drive to South America and disposed of the data systems businesses.
- In 1983 as General Manager Europe for Plessey oversaw the team that delivered Nokia its initial mobile digital switching technology (CDSS).
- In 1983 undertook a strategic review of DOGFOX - a £250m leading-edge computerised broking system - for Citicorp following its acquisition as part of Citicorp’s Scrimgeour Vickers acquisition.
- In 1983 declined the invitation to become CEO of a London Stock Exchange Main Market quoted software company addressing the London Stock Exchange’s own infrastructure needs, on governance grounds.
- In 1983 invited by a senior partner to join McKinsey based on his knowledge of Bill’s pan European work. The Head of Human Resources vetoed the move saying Bill was too old to join McKinsey.
- In 1983 invited to join Citicorp Venture Capital – overtaken by a reorganisation.
- In 1984 led the majority of Motorola Information System Group’s EMEA early stage (early 80’s) internet protocol (TCP/IP) business during its rapid growth; the team won a Campaign Award for applying fast-moving consumer marketing (FMCG) techniques to inert IT goods.
- In 1985 represented Advent Venture Partners on the Boards of many companies including Venture Technologies lithium battery company in Abingdon, Oxford (Nobel work period), a national telecoms company (NTL) based in London, a battery technology company in France and a monoclonal antibody business in Belgium.
- In 1987 invited by the globally-leading team from GEC and Plessey to lead, as CEO, their formation of a new company in Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) and CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) producing III/IV semiconductor lasers and light emitting diodes (LED’s) (photonics). After significant effort, the long gestation period and location made it personally unattractive. The company was successfully formed and is the highly successful IQE plc supplying every smartphone on the planet.
- In 1987 was sponsored by Schroders (Permira) to undertake a buy-in of a quoted company when they encountered the 1987 stock market crash having filtered and researched 3000 companies.
- In 1988 as Head of Business and Product Development for Mercury Communications led the development and introduction of a range of products such as international internet, payment cards, 0500, 0345, narrowcast, inbound / outbound call centres, satellite etc. Formed and bought companies to broaden the product portfolio.
- In 1988 formed a joint venture and, as its CEO, led Vodafone Paknet - the world’s first credit card verification over mobile point-of-sale business, remote monitoring (forerunner of Internet of Things (IOT) and payment services over mobile for many market segments across the UK and internationally (precursor to MPesa).
- In 1988 negotiated with the leadership team of Apple Inc in Cupertino, California, a joint venture for their visionary products of which many had come from Xerox PARC; these required free bandwidth and, which are now commonplace globally - a precursor to internet and “The Death of Distance” which emerged 10 years later.
- In 1992, spanning the dissolution of the Soviet Union, negotiated and co-founded SOVAM headquartered in Moscow with the Soros Foundation, Halcyon and the Russian Academy of Sciences, and served as its Executive Director, Shadow Director and Board member. SOVAM was the first company to offer public domestic and international internet services, the first SWIFT international payments node and electronic commodity exchanges in Russia. It offered global internet and data communications including giving C&W plc branded presence for data communications in Russia’s 21 cities of over 1million people. The company’s operations spanned Hong Kong, Moscow, London, New York and San Francisco. Some became GTS, others VimpelCom.
- In 1993, following his global M&A work at C&W plc, formed Global Village Ltd – the first global village company in the world.
- In 1993 created the strategy for HP to enter the global telecommunications business which was presented to the Board in California and adopted.
- 1993, drawing on his experience in global M&A with Cable & Wireless plc, embarked with Lord Eric Sharp – the former chairman of C&W plc – as his chairman, to form a fund investing in global telecoms which he promoted to the New York, US West Coast and London investment communities. An eminent investor in New York told him that he could access such opportunities through his regional funds, seemingly unaware of the global seismic changes occurring due to the internet. It was ahead of its time. It was starkly illustrated when two days later over lunch he and his hosts at Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette, New York heard an explosion close by and it was reported to them in an immediate telephone call from London that the BBC had reported it was a terrorist bomb at the North Tower of the World Trade Centre a few blocks away, before local people and his DLJ hosts were made aware via local media or news wires.
- In 1995 as Director Western Europe and Board Director of Motorola UK, led the infrastructure business that delivered the platform for arguably the first commercial SMS (Short Message Service) message globally. He led the design, development and build of 8 mobile networks across Europe including the largest integrated analogue and digital network globally. Led global systems integration. He collaborated with Bernard Ghillebaert (creator of the GSM standard) and others, as his customers, to bring digital mobile telephony to France.
- In 1995 as CEO of MCI Inc UK and consumer markets Europe, was a member of the merger team at the highest level into a merger with BT, until MCI was acquired by WorldCom Inc. Pre-merger, MCI was the second-largest long-distance provider in the US and instrumental in legal and regulatory changes that introduced competition into the telecoms industry.
- From 1995 he served as Board member and member of the Executive Committee of AMCHAM UK being introduced to the Queen. He was a member of the small 5-man merger team which merged AMCHAM UK to create British American Business (Inc.) New York and London, in September 2000. British American Business is a leading international trade organisation on whose Board and Executive Committee he served for a further 5 years.
- In 1999 as the first appointed CEO of The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA), pivoted the business from media to policy and is now a global leader in communications and digital policy. Continued to serve on the Board for a further 5 years,
- In 2000 as CEO of the wholly owned businesses, was a member of the leadership team of FirstMark and served on Boards with Henry Kissinger, Lady de Rothschild, Conrad Black, and former colleagues Bert Roberts (MCI chairman) and Michael Price (Lazard’s). The company’s mission was to build a pan European wireless broadband business. The company was sold in June 2000 in a $1 billion financing, the largest private equity placement in the history of the European competitive telecommunications sector. The IPO was derailed by the dotcom crash.
- In 2003, based on relationships established with Vodafone plc main Board in 1988/9, was approached by the Board and invited to consider becoming Global Commercial Director. The role changed during the political upheaval within the main Board.
- From 2001 to 2007, he served as a member of the UK Broadband Stakeholder Group’s Executive (BSG) and, as the only person who had led international broadband businesses, made substantial contributions to policy concepts and recommendations which entered the UK Government policy agenda and which were replicated globally. Formed and led the program management group which attracted government attention and educated government.
- In 2004 as CEO of Global Village Ltd, led and architected a large scale (250 man) project to develop a web resource for South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) that won the prestigious EU Award for Online Excellence under the EU’s eContent program. The Award was for internet services representing the best of European innovation in online-based schemes. It was judged outstanding amongst European peers, based on technical excellence, innovative content and contribution towards developing the Information Society – and was adopted as a template throughout EU. Also developed the broadband strategies for Scotland, Cornwall (with PWC) and partially for East of England which were adopted.
- From 2002 to 2005 he served on the Board of Richtec which owned TRL, Satamatics and other businesses and participated in two disposals.
- In 2003 identified the opportunity, was co-founder and served on the Board of Satamatics plc (satellite communications) which was subsequently sold to Honeywell Inc.
- In 2004 as CEO and Board member of TRL plc, he prepared the company for a successful IPO and was subsequently sold to L3 Inc.
- In 2005 created the strategy for Vodafone to enter the Infotainment and Rights Management market monetising content which was presented to the main Board and incorporated in the company’s plans”.
- In 2008 he instigated activity with Welsh political leadership to rehouse his cousin’s archive (the eminent photojournalist Philip Jones Griffiths, whose iconic work on the Vietnam War (Vietnam Inc) changed public opinion in the US) in Wales. The collection now resides in the National Library of Wales and is a leading national asset recognised globally.
- In 2019, as former CEO, was the Keynote Speaker on ECTA (European Competitive Telecommunications Association) in the early years, at ECTA’s 20th birthday conference.
- From 2010 he’s been a partner of a technology venture capital firm and an angel investor in technology businesses.
In 2015 he published MindWealth: building Personal Wealth from Intellectual Property Rights which called for a new kind of industrial strategy and policy, was welcomed by many senior politicians and others, and has influenced governmental and central bank policies in many countries.
Kirkus Indie Review said…….” Jones displays a clear command of his subject matter, both conceptually and factually.” “The book’s arguments…. present a coherent, reasonable analysis of the role of intellectual property in the 21st-century economy.” “A thorough examination of the economic, political, and cultural treatment of IP.”It was the first book to attempt a holistic approach to the relationship between Intellectual Property and Wealth and has probably been instrumental in triggering many policy initiatives to take the themes forward.
The leading UK government and cabinet members (Prime Minister, Chancellor down), business people and economists gave very positive feedback including “your book should become the bible for the topic” “it is vital that we can empower people to harness creativity and use it to create wealth” “useful reference for anyone looking to learn more about Intellectual Property Rights” “it’s changed how UK government is organized” “a seminal book” “I will make sure the research team have access to all the useful information in it” “very interesting” “important topic” “what a good read - I’ll quote from it as I go around the UK” “your book will prove to be an invaluable resource for many” “already an influential text” “it’s in the House of Commons Library” “ground breaking” “a catalyst for changing policies that will shape the world” “it’s influenced UN policy” “worth a go through….full of knowledge and wisdom” etc. A policy think-tank leader said “your book has triggered world-wide policy initiatives in innovation, industrial strategy and, intellectual property, which have been responded to by corporates, starting in the UK, and copied by other nations and NGO’s”
It probably stimulated a number of subsequent initiatives including
- PM David Cameron’s cross government review of Prosperity from Innovation
- The UK Government’s review of Industrial Strategy
- WIPO’s review of Intellectual Property in Global Value Chains
- HM Treasury’s bias away from wealth preserving asset-backed tax incentive schemes (EIS) towards wealth creation knowledge-intensive tax incentive schemes (EIS), in support of the Industrial Strategy
He’s a contributory author to the mobile internet industry leadership book (Mobile Web 2.0), has written for the Financial Times’s Money Management and, was a contributor to US Jupitermedia’s DRM watch (now Copyright and Technology).
He’s chaired or spoken at many leading conferences globally from US West Coast to China and Japan.
He’s been a thought-leader on convergence and next generation policy in UK and EU, led major international strategy projects for blue chip companies (Plessey, Motorola, HP, MCI,), and been a member of the leadership teams of Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 businesses. Two separate invitations to relocate to the US to lead global strategy for Fortune 100 companies (MCI and HP) were overtaken by world-changing events.
He’s participated in World Economic Forum (WEF) (Davos) initiatives on the Impact of Technology Innovation on future Financial Services (published) and, Media and Entertainment global industries (published).
He’s participated in a UK government mission on TMT(Telecoms Media Technology) and broadband to Korea and Japan and was a contributor to the report.
He is a recognised insider on intellectual property and rights management globally, having spoken on the topics from Hollywood, New York to Beijing, stimulated UK government reviews, authored a book on the topics and, engaged with WIPO. His engagement with UK government probably led to the formation of the Gower’s Review on Intellectual Property Rights to which he also contributed. He was the Keynote speaker at the launch of BSG’s report on digital rights.
In the early noughties (2000 – 2007) he introduced concepts such as digital-rights management, convergence, trusted computing, ecosystem, interoperability, access to capital, knowledge economy, regulatory certainty, regulatory risk, technology agnostic and next generation into the UK policy agenda for UK plc’s benefit and which have now become global policy themes. Some of his earlier work for UK plc’s benefit surprisingly found its way into the UK government’s submission into the Lisbon Agenda, whilst others were also adopted by the EU.
Memberships / Honours / Awards
He is a member of the
- Chartered Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (1969)
- Chartered Financial Analyst Society of UK,
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (1978),
- Chartered Global Management Accountant
- (Associate) American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- the Pensions Management Institute
- invited to serve as a subject matter expert with the European Union’s FP7 and Horizon 2020 (FP8) Research and Technological Development programs on innovation, internet, SME’s and enterprise competitiveness.
- elected Freeman of the City of London in 1994,
- elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in 1995
- elected Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists in 2000,
- elected Liveryman of the Welsh Livery Guild in 2008,
- served as Director of London First
- served as a BAFTA Award judge.
He holds professional engineering, accountancy, investment (CFA, SPS) and governance (ICSA) qualifications. He is an approved person under the UK’s FCA financial services regulatory regime, and a Certified Trustee under the Pensions Regulator’s regime.
Bill is married to a retired teacher and has a son who is a lawyer. He’s lived in the same house in Buckinghamshire for over 40 years. He divides his time between family, walking, hiking, reading, choir and saxophone. He’s a long-distance hiker covering challenging terrains throughout Europe including the G20 in Corsica. His recently rekindled interest in music and adopting the saxophone (woodwind) – a reed instrument which he’d never played before -was rewarded by playing in a Concert Band. He also sings with the South Bucks Choral Society which is directed by Iain Ledingham, Professor of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music London. He’s built a Caterham 7 car twice.
- "C&T London 2014 Conference". copyrightandtechnology.com. https://copyrightandtechnology.com/london-2014-conference/speaker-biographies/. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- First in the World: Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales: The Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales: Amazon.co.uk: Beryl James, David Ian Allsobrook: 9780708312964: Books
- ECTA - Home (ectaportal.com)
- "ECTA William A. Jones". ectaportal.com. https://www.ectaportal.com/events/ecta-celebrates-20-years/william-a-jones. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- "Mobile Web 2.0: The Innovator's Guide to Developing and Marketing Next Generation Wireless-mobile Applications". amazon.co.uk. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mobile-Web-2-0-Innovators-Applications/dp/0954432762. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- Leo: The First Business Computer: Amazon.co.uk: Bird, Peter John: 9780952165101: Books
- L.E.O.: Incredible Story of the World's First Business Computer: Amazon.co.uk: Caminer, David, Aris, John, Hermon, Peter, Land, Frank William: 9780070095014: Books
- LEO II – the world’s first commercially available computer (newatlas.com)
- London’s Big Bang in 1986 … The Beginning of the End – A Team (a-teaminsight.com)
- The Impact of Public Sector Interventions on Broadband in Rural Areas (broadbanduk.org)
- Bio « MindWealth (iprology.com)
- "MindWealth: Building Personal Wealth from Intellectual Property Rights Paperback by William A. Jones". amazon.com. https://www.amazon.com/MindWealth-Building-Personal-Intellectual-Property/dp/1504941209. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- Mobile Web 2.0: The Innovator's Guide to Developing and Marketing Next Generation Wireless/mobile Applications: Amazon.co.uk: Jaokar, Ajit, Fish, Tony: 9780954432768: Books
- "WEF FS Scenario IT and Inovation2020". weforum.org. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FS_Scenario_ITandInovation2020_2010.pdf. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- World Economic Forum - Home (weforum.org)
- Broadband Mission Report 2 (broadbanduk.org)
- Gowers Review of Intellectual Property December 2006 (publishing.service.gov.uk)
- drm_report.pdf (broadbanduk.org)