Election of Master and Wardens 2023-24

Posted on 31 October 2023

Master of the Carpenters’ Company – August 2023 to July 2024

Dr Allen Zimbler
BA Hons (Psychology), MBA, PhD (Witwatersrand)

Allen Zimbler grew up in South Africa where, after being conscripted into the infantry, becoming an officer in the Rand Light Infantry, in 1974 he joined the staff of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s few English-speaking anti-apartheid universities at the time. He taught first for eight years in the School of Psychology and then moved for the next seven years to the University’s Graduate School of Business Administration, where he became a Full Professor teaching on MBA and executive programmes.

During this time Allen had established a strategic management and organisational development consultancy in Johannesburg, primarily helping South African organisations to deal with the process of transition taking place in the country, as well as consulting to a variety of international organisations. Some of this work involved working with interracial relations in the workplace, preparing organisations for a post-apartheid reality. In the process, his pioneering work on the development of black managers became an essential component of developing some of the country’s future managerial and leadership capability.

This consultancy ran for 25 years, whereafter Dr Zimbler moved to London in August of 1997 to help one of his client organisations, Investec Bank, initiate their international business. He had been involved with Investec from its inception and having joined full-time in 2001, retired from Investec in 2016 as a member of their Global Executive of 10 people and as an Executive Director of Investec Bank Plc. He became a British citizen in March 2007.

Dr Zimbler is a Director of the African Leadership Institute, a pan-African organisation that runs best-in-class leadership programmes for some of the most outstanding young future leaders of Africa. He also teaches on the programme.

Allen is Chairman of the Ju/‘hoansi (pronounced “JuTwansi”) Development Fund, an organisation that raises funds for and is currently building five entry-level schools for young Khoisan children in the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy of northern Namibia, providing mother-tongue education in remote villages. The first school was completed in March 2021 and the second school will complete before the end of 2023.

Allen has had a lifelong, passionate interest in the Khoisan or Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, and has developed an extensive library on this group of First People, who have some of the oldest DNA on the planet.

Dr Zimbler is Chair of Governors of Morpeth School, a high school in one of the most socio-economically depressed boroughs of London. He is also a member of the Honorary Knights of the Round Table, a charity in London providing bursaries to young people qualifying themselves in a range of arts, crafts and professions.

He has, for the last five years, been Chairman of his local amenity society, the Hyde Park Estate Association, as well as Chairman of the Hyde Park Paddington Neighbourhood Forum. These are voluntary organisations seeking to improve, protect and green local neighbourhoods in the part of Westminster in which he lives.

He is an honorary Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge University, with whom he has a close relationship and an honorary member of Wolfson College, Oxford University, on whose Finance Committee he serves.

He had an early interest in carpentry, having made some of his own furniture as a young man, and became a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters in January 2009.

A former martial artist, he is passionate about rugby, loves cricket and collects classic cars.

Allen lives in London with his wife, Dr Caryn Solomon, and has four children and nine grandchildren.

The Wardens for this year are Senior Warden – Dr Loyd Grossman CBE, Middle Warden – Mr Lawrence Mallinson and Junior Warden – Mr James Preston. The Company’s Clerk is Brigadier Tim Gregson MBE.