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It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Brian Baxter, one of the founding members of the Association of Business Psychology.

Brian was a leader in his field with many years of international experience providing strategic and leadership consultancy services to C-Suite executives around the world, developing their personal and commercial effectiveness. Over the course of his career, he built up and sold several consulting practices and during the 1990’s he was Senior Partner at organisation consulting firm Kiddy & Partner Early on in his career, he was consultant and manager at Arthur Andersen in London and Chicago. Brian also worked for British Airways, planning a major strategic organisation restructuring programme, and Atkins where he carried out large-scale project-management roles in Europe and the Middle East.

Brian’s Irish Celtic heritage instilled a passion for the study of the enduring problems of Western Culture and a taste for the iconoclastic. Marx’s Grundrisse, Huxley’s alternative realities and dark futurism, the divisive philosophy of Georg Hegel’s, the radical and sterile world of RD Laing, Brian has an appetite for what challenges and perturbs us. In 2018 the ‘Economist’s View’ stated Rulers of the World: Read Karl Marx! They reminded us all that books are not objects, rather they are emotional and intellectual experiences that change our perceptions of how the future could be (for better and for worse). Brian’s studies spurred an intellectual liberalism, embracing displacement, the unalike and the rational.

A bold thinker and individualist, throughout his career, Brian supported the development of hundreds of FTSE 100 and C-Suite executives globally, and was a champion of the ABP, promoting its work through conference attendance, media work and most significantly by providing mentorship to the ABP board members.
An outsider, entrepreneur, idealist and disruptor, Brian was very keen for a new direction for psychologists practicing business. To participate and succeed, everyone must be free to achieve their potential and Brian helped others meet their potential by providing a home for business psychologists from all backgrounds, professions, and experiences. Twenty years later, the ABP brings a sense of belonging and fulfilment to its members, as people of psychology, these are the most innately human aspects of their being.
In the early days of the new millennium, the presence of ‘business psychology’ was growing considerably, and those of us working in the field were attempting to formulate its purpose and areas of capability. It was viewed by Brian and others as something different from the focus that “occupational psychology” provided to clients. Business and actual real clients’ needs did not seem to be a major priority to the scientifically trained occupational specialist, rather their focus was on the technicalities of good selection, or the purist measurement of personality and abilities. Occupational psychology was being left behind in ‘war office testing’ and businesses were beginning to view the discipline at best, as prohibitively expensive and poor value for money, and at worst as largely irrelevant.
With a coalition of the willing, Brian was resolved to start his own community of practice, the Association of Business Psychology (ABP). Ever rational, Brian’s vision was that this community would start from the fundamental question and value of ‘what does the client actually need?’ and working from Brian’s offices in London, interested parties were not hard to locate. An initial call attracted around 30 psychologists who began working together, setting out thee values and goals for what the ABP should aspire to be. As the word spread about this new body of psychologists focused on business priorities, a huge groundswell of interest followed.
Today the Association for Business Psychology is the largest governing body for business psychologists in Europe. We will forever be grateful to Brian, who will be sadly missed by all at the ABP and everyone lucky enough to regard him as a friend.
Instead of flowers, the family are raising money for a memorial prize in Brian’s name at Lancaster University. The prize will be donated to undergraduates for furthering their studies in the field of Business Psychology.

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