Mr John Anthony Swire succeeded his father, the late Mr John Kidston Swire, as Chairman of John Swire and Sons (HK) Limited in 1966. During his 21 years at the helm up to 1987, his entrepreneurship and sound business knowledge contributed to the rapid growth and exponential success of the Swire Group in a wide variety of business ventures ranging from shipping, travel, and properties to manufacturing and heavy engineering industries. He is now honorary president of the Group and remains an executive director.
Mr John Swire was educated at Eton and later at University College, Oxford. After serving in the Irish Guards in Britain, Egypt and Palestine between 1944 and 1948, he joined Butterfield and Swire and associate companies in Hong Kong, Japan and Australia before returning to the head office of the family company in London. He was appointed chairman of the Group's company in Hong Kong in 1966. Combining a broad vision of the business world at large and a detailed knowledge of the local business environment, Mr Swire's influence and expertise played a significant role in establishing his company as one of the most successful business enterprises in Hong Kong and Asia. He was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in 1977.
Apart from his Chairmanship of John Swire and Sons Limited, Mr Swire has also been a Director of James Finlay PLC since 1976 and was Chairman of the Hong Kong Association from 1975 to 1987. He has served on the boards of various major public companies in London and Hong Kong, giving advice on business and financial matters. He has been on the board of the Royal Insurance and Ocean Transport & Trading, and has been a member of the London Advisory Committee, Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation since 1969, a member of the Advisory Board of the Euro-Asia Centre, based at INSEAD, Fontainbleau, France since 1980, and a member of the Advisory Council of the School of Business, Stanford University since 1981. He was elected an honorary fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford in 1987.
Among the charities with which he is involved are the Missions to Seamen, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and the British Executive Service Overseas.
In recognition of his success in and contribution to the business world, the University has resolved to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.