Ref NoGB1752.SDC/19
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TitleSir Herbert Davis
DescriptionSir Herbert Davis was born in 1891 and spent much of his childhood in Hackney. He was educated locally at the Grocers' School and later went on to St John's College Cambridge, where he read natural sciences. He received a First in two years and continued to read for a History Tripos, in which he received a Second.
In 1912 Davis was appointed to the raw materials buying department of Joseph Crosfield Limited. During the First World War he worked on edible oil supplies for the Government, which brought him into contact with Jurgens Limited. At the end of the war Davis accepted a position of assistant buyer with Jurgens Limited. After having spent some time in the Baltic Exchange, Anton Jurgens appointed Davis as one of his personal assistants. Davis was at the centre of the formation of The Margarine Union and emerged as a secretary of the new group. He adopted a similar position in the negotiations for the merger of The Margarine Union and Lever Brothers. During 1930s Davis was instrumental in rationalising and consolidating Unilever's oil milling activities in the UK. In 1937 he was appointed to the board.
With the outbreak of World War Two he was once again seconded to serve the Government as director of Oils and Fats. In 1941 Davis was awarded a CBE and was knighted in 1943. It was during his time with the Ministry, in January 1942, that Davis was appointed vice chairman of Unilever.
From the end of the war until his retirement in 1956 Davis, as a member of the Special Committee played a major part in rebuilding Unilever. In retirement he withdrew almost completely from business life, although he continued to act as an adviser to the Unilever Superannuation Fund and accepted an appointment as chief arbitrator to the Milk Marketing Board.
Sir Herbert Davis died on 20 February 1972 aged 80.
LevelSub collection
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