William Davis, Knight, Order of Merit of Italian Republic, (born 6 March 1933), was a journalist, editor, broadcaster and has been Chairman and a Director of several publishing and travel companies. He also founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the in-flight magazine, High Life. In the early 1990s William Davis became chairman of the British Tourist Authority and English Tourist Board.
William Davis was born in Hanover, in 1933. He came to Britain aged 16 and adopted British citizenship. At age 18, he was already a journalist and specialised in commentary about economics and financial affairs. During 1954-1959, William Davis was on the staff of the Financial Times, a British international business newspaper. Lord Beaverbrook appointed Davis the City Editor (1960–1965) of the London Evening Standard and then he went on to become Economics Editor (1965–1968) of The Guardian.
During this time Davis made regular appearances on the BBC’s live Budget programmes presented by Ian Trethowan. Davis provided live comment and analysis of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget speech as it was delivered in the House of Commons. There were no microphones or cameras in Parliament at the time, so details were relayed to the BBC studio via a teleprinter.
Davis presented BBC North’s financial programme, Prospect. He took the idea of popular financial journalism to Grace Wyndham Goldie and developed the idea into The Money Programme for BBC2, which he also presented. Davis was one of the first presenters of the Radio 4 programme The World at One, a role he shared with William Hardcastle.
In 1968 William Davis was elected editor of the satirical magazine Punch and the rival publication Private Eye dubbed him “Kaiser Bill”.