With heavy hearts, we announce that John Constable has passed away - 18 February 2011
On Monday, January 17th 2011 John Constable, Chairman of Riversimple, passed away after a short and acute illness. We are all very saddened by his death and feel very privileged to have had the benefit of his wisdom and experience over the years. He hated obfuscation and pretension and had a thirst to get to the core of the problem using nothing more than common sense; in short, he had a genius for making things simple.
At the celebration of his life on February 5th, Hugo gave a personal account of the contribution John made to Riversimple. The words that Hugo shared with John’s family and friends are transcribed below.
“I first came across John whilst doing an MBA at Cranfield. For me, he was the star performer with his 3 hour strategy lectures, case studies from a great variety of walks of business, always delivering a very lively recreation of the story and the tension involved, rushing up and down the small theatre, putting people on the spot about what they would have done if they were the MD at Matchbox when sales were plummeting or Murdoch during the Wapping showdown. When it came to my major project, I wanted to do one about bringing hydrogen cars to market and I was in no doubt that I wanted John as my supervisor.
I sent him a page describing the project and then went to see him - rather worried that it was too much about cars and wouldn't count as strategy. He said, and I can still remember so clearly him saying it, that I was "taking on a whole industry, and its the biggest industry in the world, so I dare say its strategic".
He not only supervised that project in '99 but supported me throughout the next 7 years until finally it morphed into Riversimple and he became our Chairman. He was perfect for us in this role. To the outside world, he balanced the radical stance of the company. He was tall, very fine featured and had a very distinguished air about him at events like the launch of our car at Somerset House. His presence lent a gravitas to the day that would otherwise have been lacking. In the development of the business, for one of his experience, John was amazingly receptive to all the unconventional approaches that Riversimple is proposing, but he always considered them carefully before reacting; he brought objectivity where he felt we were getting carried away; he focussed our efforts when they were too diffuse; he questioned our ideas deeply and he was certainly a stickler for rigour where he felt it was lacking; BUT he never in fact vetoed anything that we wanted to do. I only hope that I can follow his example because there are few minds that are able to acquire such experience yet retain such agility.
… We will miss John very much but, characteristically, I am sure that his influence will persist; in board meetings we will continue to ask "What would John's question be?" ” Hugo Spowers
Sebastian Piech has been appointed Chairman and will bring to the role tremendous experience in business, management and engineering.
To download John's obituary click here