The Master

The Master for 2021/2022, the 454th recorded, is Oliver Kirby-Johnson.

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 normally 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, Oliver Kirby-Johnson, who lives in Wiltshire, is married to Frances and has a son, Nick, now working abroad

Together with his brother, Julian, Oliver joined the Tallow Chandlers as a Freeman in the 1990s, joining their father Past Assistant Derek Kirby‑Johnson in the Company.

Oliver was educated at The King’s School, Canterbury and University College London, and joined Logica, as a programmer. After working in the Middle East for three years, he returned to the UK and in the late 1980s joined the newly formed KPMG as an IT Strategy consultant.

In the 30 years since then, he has travelled widely working for a variety of global client companies, focused increasingly on managing complex programmes.  More recently Oliver spent five years as the industry’s Programme Director for the new payments platform in Australia.

In younger days interests included flying and skiing, replaced by walking and sailing in more recent years. Frances and Oliver enjoy the outdoor exercise of hiking holidays, suitably balanced by decent food, wine and comfortable accommodation. 

An active member of the Musketeers, he has offset a patchy clay record with a surprisingly clean sweep in the Sniper challenge at the inter-livery event at Bisley.

Oliver feels privileged to have been elected for a second year as Master at a time when the Company, and the wider City, continue to navigate the challenges and uncertainties in the aftermath of the pandemic.