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Richard Parry-Jones

Colleagues at Loughborough University have paid tribute to former University Pro-Chancellor Richard Parry-Jones, who died recently in a tragic incident near his home in Wales.

Richard Parry-Jones joined Ford in 1969 as a trainee and spent nearly 30 years at the carmaker, with spells in a variety of senior R&D and manufacturing posts in England, Germany and America.

Between 1994 and 1998 he was vice-president of the product development group, during which time he led development of models including the Focus, Ka, Fiesta and Puma. He was promoted to group-vice president in 1998 before being appointed chief technical officer in 2001, resigning in 2007.

Professor Parry-Jones also served as chair of Network Rail and of Yorkshire Water.

In 1995 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Loughborough University, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the motor industry and engineering education and training. He was appointed as a Visiting Professor within Loughborough’s Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering in 2001 and took up the role of Pro-Chancellor at the University two years later.

Professor Steve Rothberg, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), who remembers Richard as an outstanding and passionate engineer, said: “Despite his senior industry responsibilities as co-chair of the Automotive Council and Chairman of Network Rail, Richard always had the time to support the research we were building in engine and powertrain dynamics. He was an inspiration.”

Professor Emeritus Jim Saker from the School of Business and Economics, who is President of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), worked closely with Professor Parry-Jones. He said: “Richard was one of the most innovative thinkers in the motor industry and was a great friend of the University during his time with Ford and was instrumental in supporting the building of the Henry Ford College (now the West Park Teaching Hub) on campus. He spoke at the IMI dinner in 2019 and gave his view on the future of transport and the challenges that the car industry will face going forward. He will be greatly missed.”