The Master oversees the Company’s activities, as well as representing us at a variety of charity, trade, ceremonial and social events. He or she is usually a long-serving Tallow Chandler.
Each Master serves for one year. The Master’s election has to take place on or within twenty days of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, reflecting our ancient links with the Brotherhood of St John. We usually hold the election on the first Tuesday in July.
This year’s Master, John Baxter, has worked in the energy industry for over 45 years covering nuclear, electricity and latterly oil and gas. He trained as a Royal Navy Engineer Officer, serving as a nuclear submariner. Subsequently he worked in the nuclear industry, including running the Dounreay and Windscale nuclear sites and was a non-executive Director of AWE plc, the Atomic Weapon Establishments. He was then head of engineering for the UK electricity utility, Powergen plc, followed by a similar role at BP plc.
During his time in BP John took over responsibility for running the Tallow Chandlers Awards for BP Apprentices and Technologists and subsequently joined the Livery. He is no stranger to London Livery Companies:
• His Great, Great…..Grandfather was an apprentice Stationer in 1800. The family subsequently lived in 63 Watling Street opposite St Mary Aldermary where they were parishioners;
• His sons Geoff and Don went to Abingdon School (Mercers). Mercers subsequently sponsored Geoff for Freedom of the City of London. The Master and Geoff took Freedom of the City on the same day and are thought to be the first father and son in history to do that;
• The Master is also a Liveryman and Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers.
John was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to engineering, education, and the energy sector.
John maintains his nuclear industry links as Visiting Professor of Nuclear Engineering at The University of Strathclyde and as a Non-Executive Director of Sellafield Ltd, the nuclear waste company based in Cumbria.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and several engineering institutions. He was the President of both the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and The Welding Institute and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Strathclyde University and the Robert Gordon Institute. Until recently he was advisor to the Army on energy matters and held the rank of Colonel in the Royal Engineers TA.
John and his wife Margaret live in west Berkshire where they enjoy gardening, shooting and beekeeping. Margaret keeps very busy as Parish Council Chairman, WI member and school governor. She is a keen shot and a supporter of the Tallow Chandlers Musketeers and is a past winner of the Livery Ladies trophy.