Sir George Buckley, former CEO of 3M, replaces the Duke of York as University of Huddersfield's Chancellor

A Yorkshire-born businessman who went on to lead a major US technology firm is to be the new Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, where he was himself a student before launching his international career.

Sir George Buckley, formerly the chairman and CEO of giant US-based 3M, replaces the Duke of York who resigned earlier this year.

The Chair of the University of Huddersfield Council, Jonathan Thornton, said he was delighted that Sir George is to take on the Chancellorship, a post that has also been occupied by the actor Sir Patrick Stewart.

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“Sir George Buckley is probably the best example I can think of as a person who has used education – alongside his capacity for hard work and his visionary qualities – as the stepping stone for a truly exceptional career. He will be an enormous inspiration to our students, showing them what is possible,” said Mr Thornton.

Sir George currently holds posts that include the Chairmanship of UK manufacturer and technology innovator Smiths Group and Stanley Black & Decker, the world’s largest makers of hand and power tools.

He is also a member of the board of Hitachi, the Japanese industrial conglomerate, and is recently retired from the board of Pepsico, the US food and drink giant.

The son of a Sheffield steelworker, and raised by foster parents, Sir George gained a BSc in electrical and electronic engineering in 1972 and went onto acquire a PhD in engineering in 1976

A photo of Sir George Buckley and University of Huddersfield Vice Chancellor Bob Cryan from 2011.

He was recruited by General Motors and moved to America. In 2000 he became chairman of the Brunswick Corporation and in 2005 was appointed chairman, president and CEO of 3M, whose portfolio of brands includes Scotch Tape and Post-it notes.

Sir George has stated that his success in business was based on the training he received at Huddersfield, and he has maintained close ties with the institution. In 2003 he received an honorary doctorate, and six years later a lecture theatre was opened that carries his name.

Then in 2013 the University’s new business and innovation centre – which provides facilities for enterprises from student start-ups to established firms – was named the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre. Sir George announced that the company would sponsor a 3M Chair of Innovation.

“My memories of Huddersfield are very positive,” Sir George said. “I had a superb education here, and I will be forever grateful for that.”

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, Professor Bob Cryan said “Sir George has been tremendously generous in his support for the University over the years and he has been a regular visitor, giving numerous presentations to both students and staff.”