English industrial executive, who pursued a successful career in the automotive industry working for General Motors and British Leyland and transforming the ailing Jaguar car company into a world-class concern. He has since presided over the British Airports Authority (BAA), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and the Severn Trent water company.
In 1980 Egan joined British Leyland as chair of Jaguar Cars, which was then making 14,000 cars per year but losing £3,000 on each sale. He turned the company around and saw it through to privatization in 1984 (which raised £294 million) and its takeover by Ford in 1989 for £1.6 billion. From 1990–99 he was chair of the privatized BAA, where he oversaw retail innovations at the airports and the opening of the Heathrow Express. In December 2000 he was appointed chair of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency to oversee the privatization of the government defence research laboratories. He was president of the CBI from 2002–04, and then joined the board of Severn Trent in 2004, becoming chairman in 2005.
Egan was born in Coventry, England, where his family ran a Ford motor dealership. Educated at Bablake School, he later graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering from London University. From 1962 to 1966 he worked for Shell Petroleum before taking an MSc in Business Studies at the London Business School.
In 1968 Egan started his career in the motor industry. He joined General Motors as general manager of AC Delco's UK replacement parts operation. In 1971 he took on his first major business challenge at British Leyland, where he successfully developed its Unipart business. In 1976, he joined Massey Ferguson, assuming responsibility for its European parts operation.
He was non-executive chair of Inchcape plc and Harrison Lovegrove from 2000–05. He has also served as president of the London Tourist Board in 1998, chair of the Central London Partnership, deputy chair of London First, executive committee member of the World Travel and Tourism Council, chair of The Centre for Tomorrow's Company from 1999–2000, and president of the Institute of Management. He was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 1986.