John Hood was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 5 October 2004 until 30 September 2009. He was the first Vice-Chancellor to be elected from outside Oxford's academic body, and the first to have addressed the scholars' congregation via a webcast. On 15 November 2007 he announced that he would not seek an extension to his five-year term as Vice Chancellor, and that he would leave Oxford in September 2009.
Born on 2 January 1952 in Napier, New Zealand, he attended Westlake Boys High School in Auckland, where a house has been named after him (Hood House). He studied engineering at the University of Auckland, where he earned a PhD in Civil Engineering. He then won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford (Worcester College), where he studied for an MPhil in management. He won a Blue playing squash for Oxford University and also played first-class cricket for Oxford University in 1977.
He has held a number of directorships in prominent New Zealand companies and bodies, including Fonterra, Fletcher Challenge and the New Zealand Cricket review of 1995. His career at Fletcher Challenge is described in the book Battle of the Titans by Bruce Wallace. From 1998 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland.