John Shepherd-Barron joined De la Rue in 1950 as one of its first post-war graduates. He began as a management trainee, spent time as a Currency Sales Manager, and worked his way up as what he liked to call an "innovative entrepreneur," focusing on the supply of systems and services to the international banking industry. De La Rue was involved in the printing of more than 140 currencies, as well as stock certificates for the New York Stock Exchange.
Between 1957 and 1959 Shepherd-Barron set up the company's operation in North America, becoming regional director. In 1963, he was appointed chairman of De La Rue's subsidiary, Security Express, the armoured trucking business which later merged with Courier Express, the first overnight parcels company in Britain.
When he was Managing Director of De La Rue Instruments in 1967, his concept of a self-service machine for dispensing money was realised when the first Automated Teller Machine (ATM) was installed at a Barclays Bank branch in Enfield, in England. Allegedly his idea was originally inspired by chocolate vending machines. Mr. Shepherd-Barron is also credited with inventing the 4 digit PIN number.
In addition to his Order of the British Empire, John Shepherd-Barron was presented a lifetime achievement award by the international ATM Industry Association and was later the first chairman of Ross and Cromarty Enterprise, which supports community development in Ross and Cromarty County, Scotland.