Bookings for this event have now closed, if you would like to attend please email

We are delighted to invite all alumni from Manufacturing, Materials and Design (MMD) programmes to join us in the online celebrations for the annual Manufacturing Alumni Awards and Lecture. 

As part of Manufacturing and materials week at Cranfield University, this event will be recognising the winner of 2020 The Distinguished Manufacturing Alumnus Award, Dr Ayotunde Coker (MSc in Engineering and Management of Manufacturing Systems 1989), Managing Director/CEO, Rack Centre Limited. Dr Coker will be delivering a lecture as part of the event on The Fourth Industrial Revolution and 21st Century Industries and the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. Recently identified in the Power 200: The Worlds Most Influential Data Economy Leaders by the UK’s Data Economy Magazine, Dr Coker will share how the adoption of digital services and the explosion in mobile consumption is driving investors into Africa.

About the award:

  • The Distinguished Manufacturing Alumnus/a Award - The Distinguished Manufacturing Alumnus/a Award is Cranfield Manufacturing’s highest honour and recognises those individuals who have achieved significant success within their industry and sector while upholding the highest standards in business practice.

Please do book onto this event to secure you place and to receive the Zoom one day before the event date. 

Find out more about the Manufacturing and materials week here

If you are not an alumnus/a of Cranfield University please email directly to book onto the event. 

If you are having any issues accessing your alumni account please email and we will be happy to help.

Programme & speakers


 Event Programme 


Welcome and awards presentation from Professor Sir Peter Gregson FREng, MRIA, DSc, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University 


Award winner lecture and Q&A


Event Close 

2020 Distinguished Manufacturing Award Winner - Dr Ayotunde Coker (MSc in Engineering and Management of Manufacturing Systems 1989), Managing Director/CEO, Rack Centre Limited.

Dr Ayotunde Coker has over 30 years’ international experience across Europe, the USA, Asia and Africa. Born in Nigeria, he attended school in Lagos before continuing his undergraduate and postgraduate education at universities in the UK.

He had a distinguished career spanning 28 years in the UK with roles including Senior Analyst at Ford of Europe, Senior Management Consultant at Cap Gemini UK, CEO at eMCSaatchi UK, Director at Egg Bank UK, Global Applications Director at BP, Chief Technology Officer at the UK Criminal Justice and Group IT Director at the UK Ministry of Justice. In 2007, he was appointed Chair of the UK Government Enterprise Architecture Board.

Dr Coker returned to Nigeria in 2009 as Group CIO of Access Bank before becoming MD and CEO of Emerging Markets Payments Group. He is now Managing Director and CEO at Rack Centre, which he has built to be a household name and a leading data centre brand in Africa – achieving global recognition and numerous international awards. He is also Secretary General of the Africa Data Association.

During his time at Cranfield University, Ayotunde won the Institute of Production Engineers Award. He was also named IT Man of the Year in 2015 and IT Personality of the Year in Nigeria in 2019. He is a Fellow at the Institute of Directors (UK) and the British Computer Society, and an Honorary Senior Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. He also holds a PhD (Honoris Causa) by ESCAE University, Republic of Benin. His hobbies include golf and playing the pipe organ.

Lecture Subject: The Fourth Industrial Revolution and 21st Century Industries

In his lecture, Ayotunde Coker will provide an insight into the fourth industrial revolution (4IR): the underpinning infrastructures, the new and transformative business models and the new opportunities that reduce the thresholds of access to innovative technology. He will also provide a perspective on Africa in the context of 4IR – a continent which is generally regarded as being the next frontier for growth and technology innovation.

The fourth industrial revolution is characterised by the availability of high-speed broadband and the world being massively interconnected via undersea cables – enabling a new age of transmission of data. This has been underpinned by the emergence of mega data centres, hosting the service to process ‘big data’ in real time, with significant energy requirements to cool their servers.

Where previously companies had to build their own international networks and expensive data centres and equipment to automate, Cloud services, shared services, Internet Exchanges and colocation data centres have reduced the entry threshold to advanced technologies, making them more accessible for companies of all sizes. The amazing exponential growth of data has transformed legacy business models as we know them, and provides new opportunities.

Read more.


Location & travel details

Online - please book your place to receive the Zoom details. 

Who should attend

All alumni and guests welcome. 

Cost & concessions

This event is free to attend.