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Sir Ronald Halstead, CBE, MA, Hon. DSc, FRSC

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We are sorry to announce the passing of Sir Ronald Halstead CBE, MA, Hon. DSc, FRSC, President of the Engineering Industries Association (EIA) last Friday 18th June 2021. He was 94. He is survived by two sons Andrew and Richard. The funeral will be for family only and there will be a Memorial Service arranged for later on in the year.

Sir Ronald led the EIA for over 25 years and had a very distinguished career. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the food industry in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1976 and knighted in the Queens’ Birthday Honours in 1985.


Sir Ronald was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and at Queens’ College Cambridge and had honours degrees in natural sciences and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Companion of the British Institute of Management. He was awarded an Honorary DSc from the University of Reading in 1982 and the University of Lancaster in 1987. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of Queen’s College, Cambridge in 1985.

Work Appointments:

Sir Ronald joined the Beecham Group in 1954, and following appointments in the UK and US, became Managing Director (Consumer Products) and his then Chairman and Chief Executive in 1984 – 1985.

Sir Ronald joined the Board of British Steel in 1979 and was Deputy Chairman from 1986 to 1994.

His past appointments included: a trustee for Institute for Economic Affairs from 1980 to 1993; Director and Hon Treasurer Centre for Policy Studies from 1984 to 1993;
Chairman of the Industrial Development Advisory Board of the Department of Trade and Industry from 1985 to 1993; Chairman of CAB International from 1995 to 1998; council member of the University of Reading from 1978 to 1998; member of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission from 1993 to 1999; member of the UKTI International Sectors Advisory Panel from 2001 to 2004; Vice Chairman and Governor of Ashridge Management College from 1977 to 2006;  Deputy Chairman of the Specialist Schools Trust until 2007;
• the Inland Revenue’s advisory panel for Corporation Tax Reform

His current appointments included: President of the Engineering Industries Association; Patron, President and Chairman for over 20 years of the Conservative Foreign and Commonwealth Council; Council member of the European Policy Forum;
and sat on the advisory panel of APPG for Trade & Investment

Sir Ronald would often reminisce of his work with Baroness Margaret Thatcher and would hold annual Garden parties at his home until only a few years ago, with his friends from the Cabinet during those times.

Sir Ronald was a legend to those who knew him, and will always be remembered for his out spoken views and contribution to industry especially his lobbying on behalf of SME companies in the engineering industry sector in his later years.

He will be greatly missed.

Engineering Industries Association – the voice of SMEs in Engineering

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