I am sad to be reporting the death of one of the greatest Chief Executives it was my good fortune to work with, Sir Nicholas Scheele. I served with Jaguar from 1977 until 1994, and Nick was Chairman between 1992 and 1999.
We had many memorable meetings, and I admired him greatly for his humility, integrity and decency. He was one of those rare CEOs able to make difficult decisions, which would be accepted with candor and realism. He never raised his voice to make a point, his views simply resonated with everyone – workers and management alike.
He dragged Jaguar Cars back from extinction, and was always a man thoroughly committed to the task at hand. When Bill Ford asked him to return to Detroit and take over the reins of Ford Motor Company, it was Nick who inspired the “Back to Basics” approach to help Ford shed unprofitable businesses and lay the groundwork for what later became “The One Ford Policy” under later Chairman, Alan Mulally.
I enjoyed a close personal relationship with him and his wife Ros, meeting him several times after he retired in 2005. In January 1996, after I left Jaguar, we lost a close friend and colleague, David Boole, Jaguar’s Director of Public Relations. Within hours of news of his passing Nick called me personally in Australia to pass on the news.
Nick Scheele was one of the finest men to have been among us, and I grieve his passing with great sadness, but also appreciation for his skill, humanity and sincerity.
I reprint the valedictory and photo published in the Birmingham Post, as it best sums up some of Nick’s many other accomplishments outside the auto industry.
“Tributes have been paid to former Jaguar and Ford boss Sir Nick Scheele, who died on July 18.
Sir Nick, aged 70, was CEO of Jaguar Cars from 1992 until 1999 and later served as president and chief operating officer at Ford, retiring in 2005.
He has been hailed as the man responsible for saving Jaguar in the early 1990s when the Midland car-maker faced tough times and was racking-up heavy losses.
Sir Nick also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help children in Coventry and Warwickshire.
He launched the Coventry Kids Committee in 1993, when he was who was chairman and chief executive of Jaguar Cars, with the aim of raising £400,000 in three years to build a new NSPCC centre in Coventry.
By the time three years had elapsed Sir Nick had raised nearly £500,000 - allowing the NSPCC to build Boole House in the city centre.
He was knighted in 2001 for services to exports and was made chancellor of the University of Warwick in 2002.
Ford’s executive chairman Bill Ford said in a statement: “Not only did Nick help us overcome many challenges at the time, he mended relationships with our dealers, our suppliers and our employees, and set the stage for many of today’s leaders who are moving us forward.
“Nick Scheele was an outstanding leader whose global experience and passion for our products served Ford Motor Company at a critical time.”
He is survived by wife Ros children Paul, Hannah and Jim and five grandchildren.”
|Sir Nicholas & Lady Scheele|