Obituary: Lord Hirshfield

Desmond Barel Hirshfield, chartered accountant: born 17 May 1913; Founder and Chairman, Trades Union Unit Trust Managers Ltd 1961-83; Founder and Director, Foundation on Automation and Human Development 1962-87; Chairman, Horwath & Horwath (UK) Ltd 1967-86, President, Horwath & Horwath International 1977-84, International President 1984-86; Deputy Chairman, Northampton New Town Development Corporation 1968-76; Chairman, MLH Consultants 1981-83; Treasurer, UK Committee of Unicef 1969-83, 1986-88; Treasurer, National Council for the Unmarried Mother and her Child 1970-71; President, Norwood Charitable Trust 1960-83; President, Norwood Foundation 1977-83; married 1951 Bronia Eisen; died 6 December 1993.

DESMOND HIRSHFIELD, the founding Chairman of the Trades Union Unit Trust, had a long involvement in public life including undertaking roles such as Deputy Chairman of the Northampton New Town Development Corporation and serving on the Salary Review Body and the Committee on Consumer Credit. Hirshfield was a chartered account by profession, and was President of Horwath and Horwath International, the 10th largest international firm of accountants and consultants.

In 1939 Hirshfield joined the accountancy firm Hesketh Hardy which, after he became a partner, was renamed Hesketh Hardy Hirshfield. This firm acted as auditor to several leading trade unions and to the Labour Party in the Sixties and Seventies. This gave Hirshfield the contacts to form in 1961 the Trades Union Unit Trust, which for the first time provided a mechanism for trade unions to invest in equities, as distinct from gilt-edged securities; under Hirshfield's chairmanship the unions themselves were able to influence the direction of these equity investments.

During the same period , he was responsible for the formation of the Foundation on Automation and Employment, which anticipated by two decades the decline in employment resulting partly from the advent of modern electronics and increasingly efficient methods of production - and he made some attempt to address the consequences.

During this era Hirshfield was responsible for producing a blueprint for the administration of Harold Wilson's private office as leader of the opposition which was too radical for acceptance at the time.

He was appointed in 1972 by the Conservative government to report on the monopolistic pricing practices of the nationalised steel industry particularly those of private sector firms, an inquiry where he insisted on rapid presentations and judgements.

Meanwhile, anticipating a trend for medium-sized accountancy firms, in 1962 Hesketh Hardy Hirshfield became international. It was the first member firm of Horwath & Horwath International outside North America. Through this alignment, Horwath & Horwath (UK) Ltd, a consultancy firm specialising in the hotel and tourism industries, was formed, and Hirshfield became its chairman. At the beginning of 1975 it merged with Stoy Hayward, another firm of chartered accountants. Hirshfield threw himself into his professional life with renewed vigour and zeal, becoming President of Horwath & Horwath International in 1978, and International President in 1984.

As President of Horwath & Horwath International Hirshfield helped to expand the organisation until it had member firms in 70 countries, many of which he visited personally. A superb chairman and an excellent speaker, he usedhis dry wit effectively on both formal and informal occasions.

He refused to be deterred by medical warnings from enjoying an active life and the evening before he died he enjoyed to the full a party for his grand-nephew's wedding.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea