Focus on: Bill Pike – charity director

Focus on: Bill Pike – charity director

Find out more about the role of the Trusts' charity director Bill Pike.

I began work at the Evelyn Trust as charity secretary in 2010. My background is as a partner in Ernst & Young and later as chief operating officer, first in a computer games company and then in an intellectual property law firm. I suppose you could say that I am in the interesting third phase of career where I have ‘gone plural’ and I have a series of roles doing things that I enjoy rather than commuting to something full time!

When my predecessor, Brian Waters, first suggested that I might enjoy working with the Evelyn he emphasised the number of talented people in the Cambridge area that we support and that he had enjoyed so much being able to see the difference that the grants can make. He also said that having worked with a lot of medical companies as clients I at least stood a chance of being able to understand what the projects were targeting to deliver. He is almost right there but I certainly wouldn’t pretend to have anything other than a basic knowledge of the research that our grant holders are pursuing.

The Evelyn is a small charity and it does not have its own premises so a lot of the work is done from home or by visiting the premises where the charities are or where the research is done. Sometimes I seem to spend a lot of time in the staff restaurant area at Addenbrooke’s holding meetings over coffee to agree grants or to talk through progress – it is a nice feeling to find that I almost always bump into someone else we support or who had a grant in the past.

Whilst I started with Ernst & Young in London I moved to Cambridge with them in the mid 80s when we opened a new office. This is where I became a partner and got to know many clients in the region, particularly medical and biotech companies and that is why I was asked to lead the Life Sciences group for Ernst & Young nationally. After 15 years in Cambridge I went back into London to work in Corporate Finance where I handled several large Stock Exchange transactions.

After leaving Ernst & Young I joined Gameplay PLC a new computer games company that was investing in on-line games technologies whilst also serving a Europewide boxed games market. I ran the Boxed Games Division and was Chief Operating Officer for the company. The business included retail stores, online sales, call centres, postal fulfilment and wholesale distribution and it was a refreshing experience to be running a commercial operation rather than advising.

My next move was to Marks & Clerk who were Europe’s leading intellectual property law firm to help them undergo a change programme that included mergers, acquisitions and completely rebuilding the computer systems as well as moving offices, rebranding and revising the governance systems of the partnership. It was a very enjoyable experience and has resulted in a very professional business becoming significantly bigger and better with a very good team supporting its future development.

Now I divide my time between the Evelyn work, my non-executive role with Steer Davis Gleave and other local charity interests. In my spare time I cycle and play golf but I definitely don’t plan to do any gardening!


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