GEORGE Richardson, who has died aged 94, combined a gifted academic mind with a brilliant business sense.

The proud Scotsman was a fellow at Oxford University’s St John’s College for almost 40 years and helped transform Oxford University Press (OUP) during a 14-year spell as chief executive.

He was an honorary fellow of three Oxford colleges and spent six years as pro-vice-chancellor, one of the university’s most senior roles.

George Richardson was born on September 19, 1924 in London, but spent his childhood north of the border.

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Him and older sister Margaret grew up in the Orkney Islands, north east of Scotland, and the town of Falkirk, near Glasgow.

The family moved again ahead of George’s secondary school years, this time to Aberdeen, and he later attended the city’s university.

Mr Richardson wanted to read English Literature when he started his degree in 1942, but in wartime Britain he was told to study something ‘useful’ - so picked maths and physics.

After a two-year degree, he returned to London and joined the Royal Navy’s Admiralty’s Scientific Research Department in 1944.

One year later, the Scotsman was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Navy’s Volunteer Reserve force and was stationed in Germany.

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Among his tasks was interviewing scientists who had developed software that made submarines invisible to sonar.

Mr Richardson first came to Oxford in 1947 to read politics, philosophy and economics at Corpus Christi College.

He graduated in 1949 and two years later became a St John’s fellow, a position he held until 1989.

A few years into the role, Mr Richardson met Isabel Chalk, and the pair married in the late 1950s.

The couple lived in the city centre and had two sons, Graham and Andrew, born in 1960 and 1962 respectively.

The children grew up in the heart of Oxford, before the family moved to Cumnor when the boys were teenagers.

Mr Richardson held several other roles, including a four-year stint as university reader in economics from 1969 and six years as an economic adviser to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority between 1968 and 1974.

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After stopping both roles, he became OUP’s chief executive in 1974, after serving as secretary to the delegates.

Mr Richardson helped transform OUP through the years of industrial change in the 1980s and was awarded a CBE in 1978.

He stepped down in 1988 to begin his time as pro-vice-chancellor, while he was warden of Keble College for five years from 1989.

On his retirement in 1994, Mr Richardson was made an honorary fellow at Keble - he had already received the title at Corpus Christi and St John’s.

He could be direct, but was warmly remembered by colleagues and students as a man of great wisdom.

In the early 1990s, he returned to Oxford. Mr Richardson and his wife divorced in the 1990s and he was later diagnosed with dementia. He died on Tuesday, July 2 and is survived by his two sons.

His funeral was last Friday in St John’s College chapel, which was attended by several ex-colleagues from academic and business life.