Lofty England leaves Jaguar
The British motor industry will be poorer as a result of the fading from the scene of the former Lancaster bomber pilot and world famous racing mechanic, “Lofty” England, chairman of the Jaguar Division of British Leyland, who retires at the end of the month.
England, whose nickname, reflecting his towering stature, could be heard throughout the pits at Le Mans, Reims, and Sebring during Jaguar’s racing heydays of the late 1940s and 50s, sat in the top seat for less than two years of the company he joined as service manager in 1946. Last September, his job as chief executive went to Geoffrey Robinson, the 34-year-old head of British Leyland’s Italian. subsidiary, Innocenti.
With characteristic diplomacy, England, officially described by British Leyland as ” one of the industry’s most colourful personalities “, said today: “Big developments are on the way for Jaguar and having worked with Geoffrey Robinson for the last few months I am hoping to retire in the knowledge that in him the company have a highly qualified chief executive who will lead the company successfully through these challenging years.”
England, who is 62, has spent his working life’ with cars. Always the enthusiast, he is the last, of the old Jaguar line, the men who steered the prestige company under the direction of its founder, Sir William Lyons, who retired in 1972. Both men were among the foremost supporters of the formation of BLMC. England’s tact and ready wit should see him through his last job for British Leyland, representing the corporation in discussions with BL companies in some of its important overseas territories.
His decision to retire a few years early was not the result of any personality clash, he said. “I get on very well with Geoffrey Robinson. The whole art of running a business properly is having someone to succeed you and then you get out of the way.”