Michael Buckingham, one of the OSA’s youngest Presidents for many years, was born in Awali, Bahrain, in October, 1955, and brought up in Kuwait. He passed the entrance exam and entered Shebbear College in September 1967.
His father’s family were from North Devon and his grandfather active in the Methodist church. Shebbear proved a great contrast with home in Kuwait but the family spirit of the school was such that friends were made quickly and friendships forged which have survived the decades.
While at Shebbear, he did not excel at games but managed to break a couple of school swimming records. He valued greatly an introduction to the arts – in particular concerts organised by Michael Richardson and theatre trips arranged by Dick West. This initial interest has ben reawakened in recent years.
When he left Shebbear after O-levels, his family moved from Kuwait to South Wales. Michael joined a bank but life as a bank clerk was not his forte and within two years he had joined Whitbread in South Wales as a management trainee within the finance department.
As the youngest male member of staff, he was soon questioning ways in which the company worked and was co-opted on to national internal committees to examine ways to computerise existing systems.
This was an exciting in the business world and he represented Whitbread Wales on the implementation of several main frame systems. It was during this period that he became known for his particular interest in the computerisation of fixed assets and represented the company on an external user group with the system manufacturer, the first such user group ever to be set up in Britain. He quickly established a reputation for his knowledge and spoke at conferences in the UK and America.
After a company reorganisation Michael moved to Cheltenham where he was responsible for merging the finance systems of three companies into one and then managing the finance team.… He became involved in the nominal ledger system used to produce profit and loss and balance sheet accounts. He was elected chairman of the UK Computer Associates Masterpiece Users’ Group and organised conferences for businesses throughout the country.
Another reorganisation resulted in a move to Sheffield where he managed a team responsible for assessing changing business needs of all Whitbread companies for nominal ledger and fixed assets. Much of his time was spent living out of a suitcase.
After yet another reorganisation, he accepted further promotion and moved to the headquarters of the newly-formed Whitbread Beer Company in Luton. This was his first opportunity to assess the benefits of midrange computer systems. After three years as a senior finance manager, he accepted a redundancy package and moved to London.
It was following this move that his interest in the arts re-emerged. He has supported a number of dance companies and helped set up a support organisation for a ballet school.
He is currently working as a self-employed consultant specialising in developing management training programmes where is able to capitalise on his wealth of practical experience. For many years he has also been the OSA’s Treasurer.