Sunday, 17 January 2016

R.I.P., Derek Hathaway

It has only just come to my attention that Derek Hathaway, OBE, my very old fellow Billesley Common, Billesley School and Tabernacle companion from our young years, has died after a sad illness. We were the same age.

Derek went on to Moseley Grammar School, as did the likes of Professor Carl Chinn and Jasper Carrott (Bob Davis), both of whom have also played a sizeable part in my life.

He lost his father at the age of 13 and had to leave school at the legal minimum of 15 to provide for his mother and siblings. After being successful in Birmingham Derek had been living in the USA for over 20 years and was a hugely successful businessman at Harsco as well as being a highly charitable man. He received his OBE (for charitable work) in 2008.

It had been agreed for me to visit him in the USA in 2015 for the purpose of writing his biography, but he had contracted a severe cancer and was not well enough for the arrangement to take place.

One of his stated pieces of wisdom was this:

"This bruised and battered world is in desperate need of leaders who are solutions to problems, people who are instruments of peace and order, people who sow love not hatred, people who bring faith where there is doubt, hope where there is despair, and people who bring light to dark situations and joy where there is sadness. Whatever we do, we can make it an act of service to mankind."
Amen. Amen. Amen.

RIP Derek, and God Bless You. I remember, still, those newts and frogs in Billesley Common's old wood. So long ago, but as it were yesterday. 


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Brief Bio

Born May 11, 1944, Hathaway was just 22 when he co-founded Dartmouth Investments Ltd., which manufactured industrial heating units.

Hathaway went on to build a group of engineering businesses into a public corporation, which was acquired by Harsco in 1979. He would eventually immigrate to the United States to lead the company, joining Harsco’s world headquarters in 1984.

He served first as senior vice president — operations of the Engineered Products Group. In 1991, he was named president and COO and elected to the board of directors.

That was the same year Hathaway became a U.S. citizen.

In 1994, he was elected chairman, president and CEO. Under Hathaway's leadership, Harsco's operations expanded to more than 45 countries worldwide.

According to one biography, Hathaway oversaw an increase in Harsco’s market capitalization from $250 million to more than $5 billion.

Hathaway retired from the company in 2007. By 2008, when he retired from the board of directors, Harsco had 22,000 employees in 50 countries.

He also served as a director on various community, charity and business boards, which earned Hathaway laurels in England and America.

Among those organizations were the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's Lawyers Fund for Client Security, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturers Alliance, the Pennsylvania Business Roundtable, and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

In Britain, Hathaway was a member of the Lunar Society, an intellectual forum in Birmingham. He also served as a magistrate in the criminal law courts, having been appointed as one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace. Hathaway also served as vice chairman of the Blue Coat preparatory school in Birmingham and was a founding supporter of the Winston Churchill War Rooms Museum in Central London.