Professor Peter Doyle

Marketing academic whose robust business programmes verged on theatre
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Peter Doyle, marketing scholar: born Widnes, Cheshire 23 June 1943; Senior Research Fellow, London Business School 1966-68, Lecturer in Marketing 1971-73; Professor of Marketing, Bradford University 1973-85; Professor of Marketing, Insead 1978-79; Professor of Marketing and Strategic Management, Warwick University 1985-2003; married 1973 Sylvia Kenny (two sons); died Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire 30 March 2003.

In 1973 Peter Doyle became one of Britain's youngest professors when he was appointed Professor of Marketing at Bradford at the age of 29. Not only that, but he was appointed professor in a business discipline where experience and an ability to work with senior people is important.

At a time when discussion in universities often refers to stars, 5* or double 5*, Doyle was exceptional in being an international star. Moreover, he worked with many people who have become leading academics worldwide. He was not only a star but a star-maker.

Doyle took a First in Economics at Manchester University, then studied for an MBA and PhD at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before being appointed a Lecturer in Marketing at the London Business School in 1971. His name became synonymous with the use of multi-dimensional scaling in marketing, a way of visualising products, people, brands, market segments and their attributes in multi-dimensional space.

Following his appointment to the Bradford University Management Centre in 1973, his work was vastly influential in marketing strategy, segmentation, positioning and advertising. Many of his works were seminal and used to introduce other people's research in branding and strategy. Much of his more recent thinking is in his revolutionary book Value-based Marketing (2000). This was at the forefront of linking marketing practice to shareholder values in a practical way that managers can use and, as Philip Kotler, the leading American marketing academic, commented, was "destined to spark a revolution in marketing".

Doyle also recognised the importance of excellence in teaching. Throughout his career - at Bradford, and later as Professor of Marketing and Strategic Management at the Business School of Warwick University - he would lead the core marketing modules on the MBA programmes, making them events remembered for years afterwards.

There can be few large multi- national companies in the world which have not benefited from Peter Doyle's advice. He would challenge the most robust managers and tackle problems of the largest organisations, confronting them to the point where the whole relationship between him and his class seemed destroyed. The next day, he could start building. A couple of days later, he would leave the class inspired, excited and invigorated. His programmes verged on theatre, with drama, confrontation and exultation.

Before he joined Warwick Business School, their now dominant MBA programme was a sad and limp affair. His slogan, "A year to change your life", really did change the life of that business school.

John Saunders

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