Born in Genoa but educated in Rugby and went to Balliol College, Oxford University. Worked as a barrister but left the bar in 1900 to work as an adminstrator for the Railway Companies' Association. In 1905, he joined Midland Railway as an assistant general manager. He was very successful and soon became general manager and tackled problems such as freight congestion. He recieved a knighthood in 1911. He resigned as Midland Railway general manager in 1918 but was elected to a seat on the board and became chairman in 1922. On the amalgamation of the railways he became deputy chairman of the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway and chairman in 1924. He was also the chairman of the South African railways commission in 1933 and towards the end of his life became involved in merchant banking.