Name change FAQs

On Wednesday 21st April it was announced that from Monday 6th September 2021, the Business School (formerly Cass) will be known as ‘Bayes Business School’.

In June 2020, there was increasing awareness of the links between Sir John Cass and the slave trade, which made us, and our stakeholders, reflect on whether such a link was consistent with our values. We decided to change our name, and, in line with our values and principles, that we needed to increase our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Bayes Business School.

The decision to select Bayes Business School was based on a comprehensive and transparent consultation process with relevant stakeholders. We invited our community to suggest names through an online platform, generating more than 150 potential names. Over 8,000 members of staff and current and prospective Business School students and alumni gave us feedback on the shortlisted names. Bayes Business School emerged as the clear favourite.

The new name launched on Monday 6th September 2021 –the start of the 2021/22 academic year.


The decision

Why did you take the decision to change the name?

In June 2020, there was increasing awareness of the links between Sir John Cass and the slave trade, which made us, and our stakeholders, reflect on whether such a link was consistent with our values. We decided to change our name, and, in line with our values and principles, that we needed to increase our focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion at Bayes Business School.

In 2001, when we accepted the donation of £5 million pounds to fund our new building and agreed to adopt Sir John Cass’s name, we carried out due diligence on the Sir John Cass Foundation, which funds educational opportunities for underprivileged communities in East London. We did not look at the man who was the source of the Foundation’s wealth and what taking Sir John Cass’s name might imply – that is a source of sincere regret.

We are a Business School with a global reach and a global outlook. But we are also fundamentally a British institution with deep roots in the City of London. We have valued relationships with the great institutions of the City of London, the banks, the insurers and the professional service firms. However, the City of London has a complicated history that is deeply intertwined with slavery. The Royal African Company was set up to organise and profit from the Atlantic slave trade. It shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other institution in history.  It was a highly profitable business and most people of note working in the City at the time would have profited from it in some way.

Sir John Cass was not a distant shareholder in the company. He worked directly for it and in his role on the Executive Committee; he set budgets and gave detailed instructions to the captains of slave ships. These instructions included everything from the prices of the enslaved people on board, to the records kept of how many died while being transported. Sir John Cass would have been fully aware of the human cost incurred in obtaining his wealth.

Neither his philanthropy, nor the passage of time will erase the suffering he caused and the persisting inequality that slavery has contributed to creating in the world today. The effects of slavery are still present in society. This is not an issue of the past; it is an issue of the present. Racism and structural inequalities for Black people persist, even hundreds of years after the abolition of slavery.

More broadly, the exploitation of others through seemingly legitimate business practices remains a source of wealth for many individuals and corporations. As a Business School, we have a role to play in addressing these problems and inequalities. Repudiating the name of a slave trader is a first step in that direction.
The name of a leading Business School like ours is not just a brand, it is a public space. It represents our institutional values and it plays a part in shaping the geography of the City of London. Who gets to claim this public space matters. It signals who we value, whose voice we judge as worthy of being heard and who we include and exclude.

To retain the Cass name would send a strong, negative message about our values and priorities as an institution. Therefore, it is our position that it is simply not tenable to honour the legacy of Sir John Cass through the name of our Business School.

On 25th September 2020, our Dean Professor Paolo Volpin held a Town Hall event with alumni to explain the decision and its implications in more detail. If you would like more information, you can watch a recording of this event and see a transcript of his speech.

Should we really judge Sir John Cass’s actions in the 17th century with the moral standards of the 21st century?

Yes. We take the view that we should make judgements about the norms and actions of any given historical period by looking at the variety of ways in which these norms and actions were resisted and opposed by marginalised or oppressed groups. The way we engage with history signals who matters and whose stories we judge as important. If we only tell the stories of the dominant groups of the time, we historicise selectively and write out the agency of those who were oppressed.

Just because the slave trade was socially accepted in some countries during the lifetime of Sir John Cass does not mean we should not be critical of his deeds now. We must acknowledge the suffering that his business interests have inflicted on Black people. This suffering is not lessened by whether it was deemed socially acceptable by some at the time. Slavery was as morally wrong then as it is now.

Aren’t you just erasing history by changing the name? Is this cancel culture?

History is the whole reason we are changing the name. The historical context around slavery still underpins racism in society today. The removal of names linked with slavery is not simply an apology for historical acts, nor an "erasure" of history, but an active attempt to fight racism in the present day.

Our purpose as an institution is to research, learn, and educate. We have a responsibility to turn our name change into a learning opportunity, rather than treating it as an embarrassment that is to be ‘cancelled’. As such, we have no intention of erasing our past. We will host an annual flagship lecture on issue of social justice to commemorate our name change.

The name change is a unique opportunity to build a better Business School and to make meaningful changes. We have fully embraced this opportunity and are working on a range of exciting initiatives.

About the new name

Why did you choose Bayes Business School as the name?

The decision to select Bayes Business School was based on a comprehensive and transparent consultation process with relevant stakeholders. We invited the City community to suggest names through an online platform, generating more than 150 potential names. Over 8,000 members of staff and current and prospective Business School students and alumni gave us feedback on the shortlisted names. Bayes Business School emerged as the clear favourite. Read about the outcomes of the consultation.

Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) was a nonconformist theologian and mathematician best known for his foundational work on conditional probability. His grave is in Bunhill Fields, opposite the Business School. Bayes’ theorem suggests that we get closer to the truth by constantly updating our beliefs in proportion to the weight of new evidence. It is this idea – not only the person – that is the motivation behind adopting this name.

Bayes’ ideas are central to Finance, Actuarial Science and many branches of Management, the core disciplines of the Business School. They are also the foundation of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Isn’t there already a Bayes Centre at the University of Edinburgh?

Yes, there is a Bayes Centre at the University of Edinburgh. We have been in touch with the Centre and they have confirmed that they are happy for us to also carry the name. We are very grateful to them for their kind cooperation.

How will you ensure that you don’t have to replace the name again?

We have done extensive due diligence and trademarking checks on our new name, in addition to carrying out our consultation process.

Thomas Bayes' foremost biographer did the due diligence for us. You can read his Report on the Reverend Thomas Bayes here.

In Bayes Business School, we believe we now have a name that reflects who we are and the values we hold. Even though Bayes lived a long time ago, his ideas and his name are very much connected to the future rather than the past.

More than 8,000 staff, Business School students and alumni contributed to the consultation process to help us find our new name. We are very grateful for their contribution. We have listened to all of our stakeholders carefully and taken their concerns seriously.

We are proud of the new name and the steps we are taking to build a truly inclusive environment for all of our students, staff and alumni.

What will happen with your social media handles?

The social media handles for the main Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Business School accounts were changed @BayesBSchool alongside the announcement of the new name. If you already followed us on our accounts, they will have updated immediately in your feeds. Watch our social media channels for further updates.

The process of finding a new name

What was the process of finding name suggestions?

A dedicated naming portal was set up so that students, staff and Business School alumni could submit name suggestions. The portal was open for seven weeks from Wednesday 2nd December to Wednesday 20th January.

More than 2,000 students, staff and Business School alumni registered to use the portal and we received a total of 511 submissions. From these submissions, 155 unique names complied with our naming criteria and entered the evaluation phase, in addition to names suggested by our brand agency, Radley Yeldar. Users were able to indicate if they liked a name suggestion using engagement tools on the portal.

The naming criteria was as follows:

  1. Suggestions of naming the School after a living individual were excluded.
  2. CASS as an acronym was excluded.
  3. ‘City, University of London’ or ‘City University’ within the name (or in in reference to the University) was excluded.
  4. ‘City’ when used to refer to the City of London is acceptable.
  5. ‘City, University of London’ will be part of the name within an endorsed framework.

In addition, we received submissions from our agency with a particular focus on naming categories which received fewer suggestions from our community (acronyms, initials, associative and abstract names).

Each suggested name was checked for initial trademark risks, before being analysed by an Evaluation Panel consisting of academic and professional branding experts to ensure each name was credible, compelling and distinctive. From these checks, a longlist of names was produced.

The Project Team collected additional information on these names, including translations and cultural connotations in our key markets, compatibility with our brand, due diligence and further trademark enquiries.

The names were also evaluated by the School’s Co-Directors for Race Equity and Inclusion.

The detailed longlist was then presented to the Naming Steering Committee at its February meeting and a shortlist was drawn up. Final trademark and due diligence checks were then carried out on these names.

What were the top 10 most popular names among our community and how were they evaluated?

The naming portal allowed our community to “like” name options. The table below lists the top 10 names and explains why they did or did not enter the full evaluation stage. It is important to note that the names did not have equal chances to accumulate “likes” because some names were submitted much earlier than others. Therefore, this data has to be interpreted with caution.

Nevertheless, it gives some indication as to which name categories appeal most to our community. Not all names could be taken forward to the full evaluation process due to legal and trademark reasons, and we did not consider duplicates of the same name.

Top 10 names by engagement on the naming portal

  1. The Royal Business School
    1. This name was investigated and a decision was made not to proceed based on advice from the Royal Names Team at the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.
  2. London City Business School
    1. This name cannot be trademarked.
  3. The City Business School
    1. This name was evaluated.
  4. City Business School
    1. This name is too similar to "The City Business School," which is already included.
  5. Bayes Business School
    1. This name was evaluated.
  6. Finsbury Business School
    1. This name was evaluated.
  7. City of London School of Management (CoLSoM)
    1. This name was evaluated.
  8. CSB (City School of Business)
    1. This name is too similar to "The City Business School," which is already included.
  9. City of London Institute of Management and Business (CLIMB)
    1. This name was evaluated.
  10. London School of Business Studies
    1. This name cannot be trademarked.

We will use the examples of the top three names to illustrate our process in more detail:

The Royal Business School

The Royal Business School was the most popular suggestion on the naming portal, and our lawyers contacted the Royal Names Team at the Lord Chamberlain's Office to explore this option. We were advised that Royal names are rarely granted, on top of the fact that the criteria used to evaluate applications are not disclosed and there is no definitive timeline by which a decision would be taken.

The latter is particularly problematic because we need to decide our new name in April. In addition, the Business School does not have an obvious connection to the Royal Family. As a result of this feedback and further advice from our trademark lawyers, we did not proceed further with this suggestion.

London City Business School

London City Business School was the second most popular name on the naming portal. Overall, we received many similar location-based names that reference the City, London, and the City of London, indicating a desire for the new name to capitalise on our unique location. The Evaluation Panel and the Naming Steering Committee took this into consideration when drawing up both the longlist and shortlist, and tried to move as many location-based names forward as possible. Unfortunately, not all location-based names were suitable due to trademark implications.

The City Business School

The City Business School was the third most popular name on the naming portal and it was included in the full evaluation process, taking into consideration early trademarking concerns because of its generic nature.

The name received positive reaction from the Evaluation Panel and included in the longlist. However, the Project Team then carried out further detailed checks which revealed a medium trademark risk attached to this name in addition to an existing UK registration.

A note on international translations: this option is problematic in China because of generic translations of "City”, “Business” and “School”, and because of existing trademarks.

We followed a similar process with each of the names. Several names from this top ten list were included in the longlist, and two made it to the shortlist.

What was the outcome of the consultation on the shortlisted name?

On Thursday 11th March, we began the shortlist consultation process with our stakeholders, who were invited to provide feedback on the names via an online survey. The survey was not a vote, but an evaluation tool. We did not ask for a ranking or vote for a favourite option, but for an evaluation of each of the names. The survey closed at midnight on Sunday 21st March.

The outcome of this consultation was extremely important to inform the decision-making process of both the Naming Steering Committee and Council – the two governance bodies who ultimately decided the name. See the outcomes of the consultation.

Why did I not receive an invitation to participate in the name testing survey?

We invited all members of our community to participate in the consultation on the shortlisted names. However, we could only contact you if we had your up-to-date email address at the time. To ensure you receive future communications, news and event invitations for alumni, please update your details with our Alumni Relations Team. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Who chose the final name?

The Naming Steering Committee, which included representation from all stakeholder groups, including staff, students and alumni, submitted a recommendation to the University’s Council at the beginning of April, with a final decision on the new name made on Friday 19th April and announced on Wednesday 21st April.

You can find out more about our governance process and the team involved on our about page.

What will happen after the new name announcement?

The School announced its new name, Bayes Business School, on Wednesday 21st April.

There will now be a “switchover period” while we work to update our website, social media channels, advertising, signage, IT systems and printed materials so you may still see our interim name “The Business School (formally Cass)” used in some places until September.

In September 2021 we will officially launch our new name and all students, staff, alumni and partners will be kept up to date when this goes live.

The name and brand of the Business School (formerly Cass)

How will you and how should we refer to the Business School in the period between now and when the new name is launched?

Until we have our new name, our legally trademarked name remains Cass Business School. To signal our commitment to the name change, whenever possible, we will refer to ourselves as the Business School (formerly Cass).

Until we have our new name and logo, we will continue to use the Cass logo, but with the additional strap line “Changing more than a name” to signal our commitment to the name change and the wider changes that we want to make in the year to come.

What about prospective students? Are they still joining ‘Cass’ Business School in September 2021?

For all intents and purposes: Yes. The fundamentals underpinning our Business School remain unchanged, regardless of our name. We will, of course, always be known for the world-class quality of our education and our research. In addition, we offer our students considerable career opportunities through the Business School’s network and reputation among leading employers.

However, in terms of just the name: No. As of September 2021, we will have our new name and will no longer be named Cass Business School. However, we will retain (formerly Cass) for a while longer so that everyone knows which Business School we are.

The name change will in no way affect the student experience, the quality of the academic curriculum, the strength of our alumni network or the renowned thought leadership of our faculty. If anything, this name change represents a unique learning opportunity and a chance to make a lasting impact on the Business School’s future. The steps we take now will define our reputation for decades to come.

Why did you not drop the Cass name completely and with immediate effect?

Renaming a leading business school is a major undertaking and practically very complicated. For example, our URLs, social media handles and emails contain the name “Cass” – in addition to videos, brochures, signage and so much more. It will take us several months to update our website with the new name alone. In addition, we did not want to rush the process of consulting fully with all stakeholder groups such as students and alumni and doing due diligence on the new name. Now we have identified our new name, we will change everything as soon as possible. Until then, you will still encounter the Cass name.

How will you ensure that Bayes Business School will have the same brand value as Cass had?

This is a key consideration for our plans for the new name. We are aware that the Cass identity was a strong factor in students’ decision-making process.

It is worthwhile pointing out here the difference between a brand and the brand’s name. The name is undoubtedly an important element – it is the part that makes the brand recognisable. But the brand is so much more. In our case, it is the quality of students, faculty, and alumni; the quality of our teaching and the experience we offer; our thought leadership; our rankings; and everything else that makes our School unique. These elements will not change. So, our goal is to ensure that our stakeholders move the brand associations they had with Cass Business School to Bayes Business School. This is quite different from building a new brand.

By retaining the association with the Cass name through the addition of ‘(formerly Cass)’ for a transition period, we are ensuring that the School will remain recognisable to all our stakeholders (including employers). We are investing the necessary time and financial resources to publicise the name change and are doing everything we can to ensure that our reputation as a global leading business school continues to grow. On that front, we have already started to reach out proactively to our global network of strategic partners – from employers and recruiters to media and higher education organisations – to communicate and raise their awareness of the name change. This process will continue over the coming months and will be customised to the specific needs of our main international markets.

How will you communicate the new name so that employers recognise its value?

We will invest heavily in marketing the new name. We have established relationships with major employers around the world, some of whom contributed to our consultation. Our Careers Team is in continued dialogue with them, and there will be considerable efforts to ensure that there is widespread understanding and awareness of the new name. Furthermore, our employers know that the fundamentals underpinning the Business School remain unchanged.

Relationship with the Foundation

How is the Foundation financially linked to the Business School?

On 21st January 2021, the Foundation announced it was changing its name to The Portal Trust.

Following the initial donation of £5 million to help fund our new building in 2001, the Portal Trust (formerly the Sir John Cass Foundation) has supported the School in several initiatives including the funding of student scholarships and the co-sponsoring of engagement programmes with primary and secondary schools in London.

Will you return the money to the Foundation?

No. We received the money from the Foundation in good faith and it has been used to support many students over the last 18 years.

We will shortly launch a scholarship programme for Black British undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds. This programme will run over a ten-year period and offer ten scholarships per year for covering tuition fee (at home-fee level) and a £6,000 annual stipend for three years. Applications will open in 2021 and recipients will receive the scholarship in 2022.

The total cost of the programme (amounting to about £5 million in total) will be funded from the School’s scholarship budget. The design of the scheme is deliberate in that it represents the amount of money that the School received from the Cass Foundation (now renamed the Portal Trust) in 2001. This programme is therefore aligned with the reparation principle set out as one recommendation of the Review of Historic Funding which reported in 2020.

Students and alumni FAQs

What should I do with regards to my CV? How should I refer to my education?

We would encourage the use of Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) from now.

Which name will be on my degree certificate?

City, University of London is the degree awarding body with the respective School also referenced on the certificate.

Do you issue alumni new degree certificates with the new name?

Yes, we do. Alumni can request a replacement degree certificate (free of charge) by completing this form

Do you issue alumni new transcripts with the new name?

Yes, we do. Alumni can request a replacement transcript (free of charge) by contacting the Bayes Registry Team

Work around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and addressing racial inequalities

What are you doing to ensure you change more than a name, particularly around addressing issues of underrepresentation at the Business School?

We have increased our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion with a growing portfolio of scholarships for underrepresented students, alongside a programme of engaging initiatives to support inclusion.

Significant work is also underway at the Business School to further embed ethical and socially responsible values into the curriculum. The School’s aim is to develop responsible business leaders who will build a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future. From Induction Week, when students participate in inclusive teamworking workshops, students are encouraged to reflect on Bayes values (we care, we act, we learn) and their implications.

Please visit our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion pages to find out more.