Roger Gill

Chief Executive, XMS Capital Partners UK Ltd
BSc Physics 1976

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

  • MSc at UCL in History and Philosophy of Science. Lived in a bathroom for a year because I could not get a grant!
  • Five years working as an engineer in Kuwait, Iran, Gabon, Zaire, Angola, Libya
  • MBA in Geneva
  • Five years with electronics company Plessey, ending up as Director of Strategy
  • Six years with newly privatised Midlands Electricity (so back to the Brum area)
  • Five years in Private Equity with Barings
  • Various including running the investment portfolio at NESTA, advising the Scottish government on energy technology investments, setting up a business incubator in Kenya
  • For the last few years I have been working in corporate finance, bringing together the benefits of my various experiences

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
The combination of creativity and complexity with experience and knowledge. My physics remains to the fore both in the understanding of technical issues with our clients, such as energy storage technologies, and as a discipline of thinking. In my (limited) spare time I am helping the Vatican with some research into some quattrocento frescoes currently undergoing restoration, having picked up a first class honours in humanities with the Open University a while back and last year a PhD from Birmingham City University with a thesis entitled: 'Pinturicchio’s Frescoes in the Sala dei Santi in the Vatican Palace: authorship and a new iconological interpretation of the ‘Egyptian’ theme'

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
The Physics department had a good reputation and I was attracted by a campus rather than a metropolitan university.

What are your fondest memories of the University?
The friends, from a wide variety of disciplines, courses and departments, who are still friends after more than forty years

How did you grow as a person by coming to University?
I had already been an army officer in Germany before coming to Brum, but taking on responsibilities in the Guild of Undergraduates and in the Students' Union extended my experience.

What did you think of the learning experience?
The University both offered depth of thinking and breadth of thought.

What inspired you most during your time as a student?
I was inspired to question what I was taught.

What advice would you give to current students?
Physics is a way of thinking as well as an intriguing and endlessly fascinating subject. As a way of thinking, a discipline, a methodology, it can take you wherever you choose it to take you (even to running Germany!).