A New Sheriff in the Old Town

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pro_judgeClass of ’73 | The first order of the day for Sir Paul Judge WG’73 was to accompany a group of sheep—and shepherds—across London Bridge, thus reconfirming the 1,000-year-old right of freemen of the City of London to make the crossing without paying taxes.

It was September 29, and shortly after that ceremonial crossing, Judge—still wearing his fur-edged scarlet robe and lace jabot—presided over the Pearly Kings and Queens Costermongers’ Harvest Festival, giving a formal speech and joining a dance around a maypole as the audience sang “Land of Hope and Glory.” (Only the costermongers—fruit and vegetable vendors—can explain the presence of a maypole at a harvest festival.) Finally, he joined a ragtag band of Morris dancers, “Pandemonium Drummers,” and the Pearly Kings and Queens for a special service at St. Mary-le-Bow, the church famous for its “Bow Bells,” which were rung at full volume.

Such were his first duties as sheriff of the City of London, one of two elected for a one-year term to a position that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. ( City refers to the one-square-mile area of London that was originally the Roman Londinium and remains the financial center of the metropolis.)

A few days before, Judge had been officially installed as sheriff during an ancient ceremony in the Guildhall that included: a procession of costumed aldermen, judges, and wardens carrying antique silver maces; the recitation of several oaths; and the removal of the chains of office from the outgoing sheriffs, followed by the “laying-on” of chains upon the new. The elaborate chains hold individually designed “shrieval badges”; Judge’s includes the seal of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Thouron Scholar at Wharton from 1971 to 1973.

This year he will carry out more than 400 functions, both ceremonial and practical; chief among them will be supporting the lord mayor in promoting the City’s interests and attending the judges at the Old Bailey, the world’s most famous criminal court, which hears the very worst cases of murder and other foul crimes. To ensure that the sheriffs are always available to attend the judges, they live in special apartments at the Old Bailey—which, according to Judge, is not a hardship, since the accommodations come with the use of a Rolls-Royce and unmetered taxis. Indeed, he says that he is “treated like royalty within the City.”

The Rolls-Royce stands in bold contrast to Judge’s first car: a 1967 Ford Mustang that he purchased for $550 at the end of his first year at Wharton. He still delights in recounting the tale of his 11,500-mile journey to California, Mexico City, Texas, Louisiana, and back to Philadelphia during the summer of 1972. Gas was 37 cents a gallon; there were no speed limits out West; and he was able to sell the car for $500.

After earning his MBA the following year, Judge returned to England to work for Cadbury Schweppes, which included another stint in the US and three years in Kenya. He later led the buyout of their food interests to form Premier Brands, which was successfully sold in 1989. Thereafter he devoted much of his time to the public and political sectors.

During his three years as director general of the Conservative Party, he managed a turnaround in the party’s finances, then moved on to be a ministerial adviser at the Cabinet Office. He has also been, among many other things, chair of Food from Britain, chair of the Royal Society of Arts, and a trustee and deputy chair of the New York-based American Management Association.

Judge attributes much of his business savvy to his Wharton education, which he describes as a “very important part of my life.” (The lack of a similar educational institution in the UK inspired him to make the founding gift for the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, his undergraduate alma mater—an act of generosity that contributed to his 1995 knighthood.) He remains an active alumni volunteer, serving for nine years as chair of the Wharton Board for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; he also organized two Wharton Global Forums. His gratitude extends to the Thouron Award, which funded his Wharton education. As a member of the Thouron British Selection Committee, he interviewed and helped choose British scholars to attend Penn.

Judge’s election as sheriff of the City of London
was the culmination of years of service and the result of a process that is colorful, complicated, and unmistakably British.

“The City of London is the largest and longest-running theater in the world,” says Judge, “a theater where everyone knows his or her role.”

Take the 109 livery companies, for example, which he describes as “clubs within the larger club of the City.” They represent old trades—such as fletchers (arrow-makers), bowyers (longbow-makers), wax chandlers (beeswax-candle-makers)—as well as such upstarts as information technologists, world traders, and management consultants. The companies have four purposes: to foster their professions, to support the lord mayor and the City, to provide fellowship, and to do charitable works.

Judge is a member of the Worshipful Company of Marketors and was master of the company in 2005-06. At the same time, he is alderman of the Ward of Tower, one of the 25 wards comprising the City of London. Unlike most sheriffs, who arrive at the post by either the livery-company route or the aldermanic route, he is both an active livery-company member and an alderman—the “aldermanic sheriff.” Since only the aldermanic sheriff can become lord mayor, that office may well be in Judge’s future.

It’s hard to fathom how the chronically overbooked Judge can accompany the lord mayor on a yacht in the Thames, make regular visits to the livery companies, attend the judges at Old Bailey, and still travel the world to attend meetings as a director of multiple companies and nonprofit organizations. Perhaps he has managed a reversal of Parkinson’s Law, somehow making time expand to accommodate work.

“If the time is there,” says Judge, “you should use it as much as you can.”

—Carole Clarke

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