Slide 1

The Pamphleteers

25 April 2005

The Council of Gresham College is pleased to announce that Michael Mainelli has been appointed as The Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Commerce at the College from 1 August 2005 for a three-year period.  He will replace Professor Avinash Persaud whose professorship ends in June.

Professor Mainelli, who is Executive Chairman and a founder of Z/Yen Limited, the UK’s leading risk/reward management firm, intends to base his Gresham College lectures on the over-arching theme of Society’s Commercial Choice – Risks and Rewards of Markets.  He chose this theme because he believes that as “choice” becomes the distinguishing characteristic of 21st Century commerce, the way in which society and markets interact becomes more important.

He will deliver six lectures a year over his three-year professorship and his main emphasis will be on the proper functioning of markets in realizing societal goals, but equally the obligation on society to try to use market forces wherever suitable, as opposed to unnecessary regulation, hidden subsidy or inappropriate taxation.

He comments: “The key proposition that I would like to advance is that when markets seem to have failed, it is often the framing of the market that has failed, not markets themselves.  By implication, if we can recreate more appropriate markets, we can often re-capture the power of markets to improve society.”

Further details about Professor Mainelli’s lecture series will be on the Gresham website at during the summer period.

Michael Mainelli has worked with Z/Yen since 1994 on strategy, technology, finance and business development.  Michael began his career as a research scientist in aerospace (rocket science) and computer graphics which led to him starting companies in seismology, cartography and energy information for a Swiss publishing firm.  In the early 1980’s Michael created a multi-million dollar oil industry consortium which culminated in the development of a complete digital map of the world, MundoCart, along the way having to build laser line-following digitisers.  Michael spent several years as a partner and board member of one of the leading accountancy firms directing consultancy work in the UK and overseas and served on the board of Europe’s largest R&D organization, the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency.  Michael has worked in the public sector on privatisations and strategy; in the private sector in a variety of industries (banking, insurance, manufacturing, media, retail, utilities, television, distribution) on problems ranging from strategy through information systems, quality, human resources, environmental systems and R&D; and in the voluntary sector on a number of assignments to improve performance.  Michael’s acclaimed humorous risk/reward management novel, Clean Business Cuisine: Now and Z/Yen, written with Ian Harris, was published in 2000.

Gresham College is an independent educational institution, governed by a Council with the Lord Mayor of London as its President.  The College is named after Sir Thomas Gresham.  Sir Thomas’ fine mansion in Bishopsgate was the first home of Gresham College.  In later years, lectures were given in various places in the City until the construction of a new Gresham College, opened during opened during 1842 in Gresham Street.  Gresham College has been based at Barnard’s Inn Hall in Holborn since 1991.  In addition to free public lectures, the College also runs occasional conferences and seminars and provides support to initiatives, by the Gresham Professors and others, which seek to interpret the ‘new learning’ of Sir Thomas Gresham’s time in contemporary terms.  For details of Gresham College lectures, please visit the website on

For further information, please contact:
Hélène Murphy, Gresham College Press Officer
Tel: 020 8531 8000
Mobile: 07944 847570

Lectures are held at:
Gresham College
Barnard’s Inn Hall,
London EC1 2HH
Tel: 020 7831 0575