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1980 …2024

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Last updated 6th February 2024


Chris Cowton became Emeritus Professor in 2019, having served the University as Professor of Accounting (1996-2016), Dean of the Business School (2008-2016) and Professor of Financial Ethics (2016-2019). He previously lectured at the University of Oxford (1986-1996), Cardiff (1982-1986) and Aberystwyth (1980-1982). He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds' Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre and the University of Bergamo in Italy, and he is a Visiting Professor at University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain.

Following his retirement from the University, Chris became Associate Director of the London-based Institute of Business Ethics (2019-2023), where he contributed to its strategic leadership and was involved in shaping and delivering its research, advisory services and training activities. Chris continues to be active in research and writing, as well as undertaking speaking and consultancy assignments for businesses and professional bodies.

Chris has published extensively and is frequently invited to speak to academic and practitioner communities on business ethics, governance and research methods. His scholarly output includes conceptual argumentation, quantitative and qualitative empirical research, mathematical analysis, historical work - and even the poetic. He is internationally recognised for his contributions to business ethics, especially his pioneering work on financial ethics.  In 2013 he was awarded the University of Huddersfield’s first DLitt (Doctor of Letters, a higher doctorate) in recognition of his original and significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge in business and financial ethics.

From 1998 to 2001 he was Chair of EBEN-UK, the UK Association of the European Business Ethics Network, and he chaired the 13th Annual Conference of the European Business Ethics Network in Cambridge in 2000. He was selected to give the P.D. Leake Lecture at Chartered Accountants' Hall, London in May 2007, and for a decade he was Editor of the quarterly international journal Business Ethics: A European Review. He served as a member of the Ethics Standards Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for a decade and has been a trustee of the Institute of Business Ethics and a member of the advisory committee of one of the first socially responsible investment products in the UK.

During his career Chris has added several qualifications (on a part-time basis) to his first degree. He holds an MScEcon from the University of Wales, an MA (by Special Resolution) from the University of Oxford, a PhD from the University of Sheffield, a DLitt from the University of Huddersfield, a Graduate Diploma in Philosophy from the University of York, and a Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring. He is a qualified Chartered Governance Professional/Chartered Secretary (ACIS), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Socially responsible/ethical investment
  • Ethical banking/banking ethics
  • Accounting ethics and professionalism
  • Ethics of trade credit

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Corporate Governance
  • Business Ethics


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