27 November 2013 - This story is in archive

The University of Hertfordshire has awarded Nikki King OBE an Honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of her contribution as one of the leading businesswomen in Hertfordshire.

Her work

In the space of 15 years, Nikki went from being a single mother and part-time secretary to Managing Director of Isuzu Truck UK. The multi-million pound business, which is located in Hatfield and was set up in 1996, is now part of one of the world's leading truck manufacturers. As a people person, Nikki developed a second-to-none award-winning customer care programme and a flexible, family-orientated culture that allowed her employees, many of them women, to flourish. This summer, Nikki negotiated a complete buy-out by Isuzu Motors Japan and having secured the company's long-term future, Nikki retired as MD in August, while staying on at the request of Isuzu Motors Japan as Honorary Chairman of the company.  Not one to retire quietly, Nikki hopes to study anthropology at university and is devoting more time to her charitable activities.

At the ceremony on Friday 22 November – held in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Albans – Nikki received her Honorary Degree alongside over 4,400 new graduates celebrating academic success this week. 

Inspire

Commenting on receiving her award, Nikki said: "This is a tremendous honour for me to receive. I actually left school at 16 with 3 'O' levels and no hope of a career, so it is fantastic for me to be acknowledged in this way by the University. I love to work with and mentor young people and if I can inspire just a few, especially young women, to pursue a career and be the best at what they can do then I feel my job is done."

She continued: "It takes great determination to succeed and only commitment and hard work can get you over the obstacles that you will inevitably come up against during your work and personal life. The University of Hertfordshire provides a great platform for students to learn and develop their skills for the rest of their lives and I am truly delighted to be the recipient of this doctorate."

Breaking the mould

In reading the citation, Jerry Forrester, Dean of the Business School at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "Although Nikki never set out to break the mould, she has continually confounded the notion of the 'glass-ceiling'. In recognition of her contribution to business and her inspiration through her lectures to students and staff at the University, it is my pleasure to present the award of honorary degree of Doctor of Science to Nikki."

The University has also shown its appreciation to nineteen other pillars of the community by awarding Honorary Degrees and Fellowships for outstanding contribution to academic disciplines, charity, professions or public service – presented by Lord Salisbury, Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire; Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor; Professor Ian Campbell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Richard Beazley, Pro Chancellor.