Monday, 28 July 2014

Gentlemen ran Jaguar

Sir Nick Scheele, who died last week aged 70, was in the purest image of Sir William Lyons, Lofty England and top men at Jaguar. Accessible, well-mannered and businesslike, their style was reflected in the public relations executives who were their links, Bob Berry, Andrew Whyte, David Boole and Joe Greenwell. Scheele, graduate of Durham, multi-lingual, urbane started with Ford in 1966 and after a distinguished career became chairman at Jaguar in 1992. He persuaded Ford to resuscitate the old Escort factory at Halewood to manufacture the Jaguar X-type. It now thrives exporting Range Rover Evoques. Rising through the office side of the Ford organization, Sir Nicholas Vernon "Nick" Scheele KCMG according to one obituary had the debonair poise of an actor, combined with “a backbone of stainless steel”. He was one of the industry’s most articulate spokesmen.
In 1994 Scheele challenged Coventry raise £400,000 to build, equip and run a new place for the NSPCC. To help child abuse victims and celebrate 100 years of the charity, the money set up Boole House in Whitefriars Street, named after David Boole who worked tirelessly on behalf of the appeal and died only days after fundraisers reached their target.

Boole may not have had quite the charisma of Jaguar racer Bob Berry, nor the great historical knowledge of Andrew Whyte, who researched and wrote some of the best books ever on Jaguar. But acutely aware of Jaguar heritage he agreed to buy into Dove Publishing’s Jaguar File. There was no formal agreement beyond a handshake, no correspondence; he died as work on the book began. Joe Greenwell took over his responsibilities, accepted our word and Jaguar got its book. It went into three editions, many reprints and is now, revised and updated, going digital. Greenwell became CEO at Ford in Britain and commissioned editions of The Ford File.

Sir Nick came to the press launch of The Jaguar File at Stratstone in Mayfair with Greenwell (left), Eric Dymock and Lord Montagu of Beaulieu on the right. Michael Kemp of the Daily Mail lurks behind looking, as ever, for a story.

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