By Frankie McGowan
Sir Williams Lyons successor will be F.R.W. England, his present deputy chairman.
“I have gradually been delegating more and more work over the past two years. I am now quite content to watch from the sidelines. If they should need my advice, I’ll be here. I’m keeping on my office and I shall pop in now and then.”
His wife Greta has been one of his greatest supporters, he said.
“I think at times she must have been a very lonely woman. I worked such long hours, sometimes all weekend, and we frequently went without holidays.But she understood. I don’t think I always appreciated just how much, although I’ve always realised she had exceptional qualities as a woman.
She once said to me that she sometimes wondered if I remembered that I had children. I saw them all the time and always knew what they were up to, but I rarely had time to take them out or play with them.
I don’t think it has made any difference. We are a very happy and close family. Indeed I think it is important if you are going to succeed.”
Sir William reflected on his long career.
“But the most satisfaction has come from the completion of the XJ6. We worked for a long time on it, and it has been very successful. If you really want to credit me with anything I’m proud of, it’s that we’ve never fallen below a 50 per cent export ratio.”
As soon as he has officially handed over to Mr England, Sir William and Lady Lyons will take a long holiday in Portugal. Just one thing won’t change at Jaguar. Sir William has made it a habit suddenly to ask for a car straight from the assembly line to drive him home, just to make sure standards were kept up.
“Occasionally I’ve been disappointed”, he smiled.
“But its only ever been on details. I’ll still call for a car now and then to keep a watchful eye on things.”