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Williamson was born in Camberwell, London (GB) on 12 January 1948, and grew up in Bermondsey, London. His family later moved to Dartford, Kent, where he completed his education in 1966. He spent the majority of his career working for the British government before joining EMBL in 2001, from which he retired in December 2015.
As a parting gift to EMBL, he offered EMBL a large statue of the letter G, located at EMBL in Heidelberg. Alongside the initials of the Advanced Training Centre (ATC), the G represents guanine when A, T and C stand for adenine, thymine and cytosine respectively, forming the four nucleobases of DNA.
Functions, occupations and activities
From 1966 to 1975, Williamson worked for the British government's HM Customs and Excise (which became HM Revenue and Customs in 2005 following a merger with the Inland Revenue). During this employment, he trained as an accountant (1971 to 1976).
From 1975 to 1978, he worked as a Lecturer in Finance, Accounts and Internal Audit at the Civil Service College (later the National School of Government until it closed in 2012).
From 1979 to 1980, he worked as an accountancy advisor for the Department of Employment (later the Department for Education and Employment, and, since 2001, the Department for Work and Pensions).
In 1980, he joined the Central Office of Information (which closed in 2011), where he served as an accountant (1980 to 1983), Head of Finance and Accounts Branches (1983 to 1987), Director of Finance and HR (1987 to 2001) and Interim Chief Executive (October 1998 to January 1999).
In 1994, Williamson obtained a master of business administration (MBA) and a Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Westminster.
In 2001, Williamson joined EMBL as Head of Human Resources (2001 to 2003). He later served as Head of Finance (2004 to 2012), Deputy Administrative Director (2004 to 2012) and Administrative Director (2012 to 2015). He was concurrently the Technology Transfer Officer (2001 to 2015) for EMBLEM (EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH).
Williamson has been a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a member of the Association of MBAs.
In addition to his professional posts, Williamson has served as voluntary treasurer on a number of organisations. In the UK, these include his rugby and fishing clubs, sports and social clubs within his departments in the UK Civil Service, and the UK Civil Service Retirement Fellowship (www.csrf.org.uk, in December 2015). He was also a mentor for the Prince's Trust. In Germany, he was involved in the Liederkranz Heidelberger-Rohrbach (a male voice choir), serving as vice-chairman, deputy secretary and secretary.
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