Alec Reed, Founding Sponsor of Alec Reed Academy, was born in Hounslow, Middlesex, the son of a civil servant. He attended Drayton Manor Grammar School leaving to become a trainee accountant. In 1960, with £75 in his pocket, the 26-year-old opened his first employment agency in Hounslow.
He founded the company, REED, in 1960 and in the early 1960s, REED pioneered specialist recruitment services. It subsequently expanded to offer the provision of training, HR outsourcing and Welfare to Work services. The very popular online web site www.reed.co.uk was established in 1995. The company has continued to expand to include www.reedinpartnership.co.uk, www.reedlearning.com, and the highly successful Reed Business School www.reedbusinessschool.co.uk.
Today, REED has a global presence, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. It has 425 business units in 180 locations worldwide, employs over 3,000 people delivering a service across more than 30 specialisms www.reedglobal.com.
Alec Reed is a committed philanthropist and has founded various charitable organisations including Womankind Worldwide, Ethiopiaid, Reed Restart at Holloway Prison, Women at Risk. As Founding Sponsor of the Academy which opened in 2003 under the name of West London Academy as one of the first twelve or ‘original’ Academies, he has remained committed to the area of London where he grew up. The Academy changed its name to Alec Reed Academy in September 2012 in honour of its Founding Sponsor.
In 1985, he established The Reed Foundation, a charitable foundation that has since provided the seed funding for a number of charities, including Womankind Worldwide, Women at Risk and Ethiopiaid. In 2007, he launched ‘The Big Give’, www.thebiggive.org.uk a project designed to encourage potential wealthy philanthropists looking to make donations between £100,000 and £10m. In The Big Give 2011 Christmas Challenge, over £12.5 million was raised for 420 charities. The site is now home to £1.3bn worth of projects in need of funding.
In 1994 Alec Reed was invested as a Commander of the order of the British Empire for his charitable services. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). He is also a Fellow of the Beacon Charitable Trust, an Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway, University of London and an Honorary Doctor of The Open University. Alec Reed was Professor of Enterprise and Innovation at Royal Holloway until 2001 and is a visiting Professor to London Guildhall University, which merged with the University of North London to become London Metropolitan University in 2002, from where he also has an Honorary Doctorate. He is also Honorary Professor of Warwick University.
In the 2011 New Year Honours, Sir Alec Reed was awarded a knighthood for services to business and charity.