Sir Ralph graduated from Imperial College, London and joined Rolls-Royce as a graduate apprentice in 1955. He served on the Board of Rolls-Royce for 20 years as Managing Director from 1984, Deputy Chairman from 1989 and latterly as Executive Chairman from 1992-2003. He has also served as Chairman of Cable & Wireless plc and as a Director of Standard Chartered plc, Schroders plc and Marks & Spencer plc. Sir Ralph is a former Chairman of The Defence Industries Council and former President of The Society of British Aerospace Companies. He is a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of Imperial College, an Honorary Fellow of The Institute of Mechanical Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.