Obituary: Sir Patrick Meaney

IN HIS 12 years as a director of Midland Bank and as a deputy chairman since 1984 Patrick Meaney was the epitome of the non-executive director in a major British company, writes Sir Peter Walters. Throughout the tumult in the banking sector in that period - with Midland in particular rarely out of the public eye - his experience, good sense and loyalty were a lesson in corporate governance.

Pat Meaney was appointed to Midland's board in January 1980, towards the end of the chairmanship of the late Lord Armstrong of Sanderstead. His frankness and independence of view won him the trust of his co-directors and bank officials and in 1984, towards the end of the traumas of Midland's investment in Crocker Bank, he was appointed a deputy chairman of Midland. In that capacity he also took on the role of chairman of the remuneration committee, a task which needed extraordinary skill in the period of 'Big Bang' and its aftermath.

As a deputy chairman, Meaney proved to be an influential personality during the chairmanships of Sir Donald Barron, Sir Kit McMahon and myself. At board and committee meetings, he was always ready to open the bowling and ensure that there was a full discussion of the issues of the day. He was a popular figure at Midland's head office in London, not only for his sense of fun but also for his quick appreciation of new and complex developments. His contribution to the affairs of the bank may not have been well known to its customers, shareholders and staff, but throughout his directorship he was unstinting in his support for and understanding of the needs of the business.

This was never more important than in the last few months, in the negotiations leading to Midland's membership of the HSBC Group and in the defeat of the possible offer from Lloyds. In what was one of the most remarkable episodes in British banking history, he was a key figure in arguing Midland's case. His loyalty and his readiness to turn out at a moment's notice proved a great source of strength and of technical support to his colleagues. In this, as in his other work for Midland, Pat Meaney's contribution was beyond the call of duty.

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