Contact Professor David Grayson


David is Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility. From 2007-2017, he was director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Professor of Corporate Responsibility.

He joined Cranfield in April 2007, after a thirty year career as a social entrepreneur and campaigner for responsible business, diversity, and small business development. This included founding Project North East (PNE Group) which has now worked in nearly 60 countries around the world; being the founding CEO of the Prince's Youth Business Trust and serving as a managing-director of Business in the Community.

David has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from London South Bank University and was a visiting Senior Fellow at the CSR Initiative of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard (2005-10). He is a Companion of the Chartered Institute of Management (CMI) and is one of the honorary fellows of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.

He has served on various charity and public sector boards over the past 35 years. These have included the boards of the National Co-operative Development Agency, The Prince of Wales' Innovation Trust and the Strategic Rail Authority.

He chaired the National Disability Council and the Business Link Accreditation Board; in each case appointed by the Major Government and re-appointed by the Blair administration.

He is currently chairman of the Institute of Business Ethics and is a non-executive director / chair of the Group Risk Management Committee of the board of a banking group in South East Asia.

He is a former chair of the the pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire; of Carers UK championing the role of 6.5million Britons caring for a loved one; and of one of the UK's larger social enterprises and largest eldercare providers, Housing 21 during which the organisation made corporate history by becoming the first-ever not-for-profit successfully to acquire a publicly quoted group of companies. David received an OBE for services to industry in 1994 and a CBE for services to disability in 1999.

The Guardian has named David as one of ten top global tweeters on sustainable leadership alongside Al Gore, Tim Cook - CEO of Apple, and Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Current activities

Social entrepreneur and campaigner for responsible business, diversity, and sustainable development.

He speaks, writes and advises regularly on business, society, entrepreneurialism, and future trends for businesses, media and business schools around the world. He has worked with many, leading global businesses including BP, Shell, Microsoft and Diageo. He has worked with international institutions such as the OECD, the European Union, and the World Bank. He is a regular key-note speaker for business conferences internationally.

He sat on the Corporate Responsibility stakeholder advisory groups for innocent, Camelot and Lloyds Banking Group. David is a member of the faculty of The Forward Institute and part of the Circle of Advisers for Business Fights Poverty.

David has a long-term personal interest and involvement in Social Care, Good Later Life, Disability Rights & Inclusion and Carers and Caring. He serves as a member of the advisory board of The Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) at University of Edinburgh, established with the support of Legal & General. He is also chairing a Social Care sector initiative to replicate graduate leadership programmes likeTeach First and Police Now, for front-line social care managers.

His ten books include: "Everybody's Business" (2001) and "Corporate Social Opportunity: Seven Steps to make Corporate Social Responsibility work for your business" (2004) - both co-authored with Adrian Hodges; "Corporate Responsibility Coalitions: The Past, Present, and Future of Alliances for Sustainable Capitalism" co-authored with Jane Nelson, published by Greenleaf Publishing and Stanford University Press (2013); "Social Intrapreneurism & all that Jazz (2014) co-authored with Melody McLaren and Heiko Spitzeck; and "Take Care: How to be a great employer for working carers." (2017) He has also contributed to almost 20 other books including "The Accountable Corporation," (2005), "Mainstreaming Corporate Responsibility" (2010) and "Managing Sustainable Business: An Executive Education Case and Textbook" (2018).

His most recent books include "All In: The Future of Business Leadership" (Greenleaf 2018) and The Sustainable Business Handbook (Kogan Page 2022) both co-authored with Chris Coulter of GlobeScan and Mark Lee from the SustainAbility Institute by ERM. The latter won the Business Book Award for change and sustainability 2023.

David continues to teach and mentor at Cranfield, including the Executive MBA programmes, the MScs in Management and Corporate Sustainability, the MSc in Sustainability, and on open executive programmes such as The Non-Executive Director workshop (TNED).


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers