James Ross was educated at Oxford, where he was an Open Exhibitioner of Jesus College, he gained an honours degree in Modern History In 1962. He joined BP in 1962 and during a thirty year career rose to become a Managing Director and Chairman and Chief Executive of BP America.
After leaving in 1992 he spent twelve years as successively Chief Executive of Cable and Wireless, Chairman of Littlewoods and Chairman of National Grid.
He was the recipient of honorary doctorates of law at the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester in 2000.
In the mid 1990’s, he chaired the Board of the Manchester Business School. He served as Chair of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education from 2003 to 2009.
He was formerly a director of Prudential, of McGraw Hill in the US and of Schneider Electric in France. He served on the Advisory Council of the Institute of Business Ethics and the board of the Marshall Aid Commemorative Commission. He was also a Trustee of the Council for Industry and Higher Education.
Appointed Chairman of the Foto-Cewek Board of Trustees in December 2007.