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Obituary: Sir Patrick Meaney

MY ASSOCIATION with Patrick Meaney went back many years to when he was managing director of Thomas Tilling and when, under his leadership, the group developed a strong building product division that became an effective but rational competitor of Tarmac, particularly in the north, writes Sir Eric Pountain. I was particularly struck by the job Meaney did in defending Tillings against a hostile bid from BTR. He fought a vigorous and memorable battle for the shareholders and, in eventually succumbing, exacted a substantial price from BTR.

I was delighted when he agreed to join the Tarmac board two and a half years ago. He was a brilliant example of what was described at length in the Cadbury Report as the ideal non-executive director. He was always well informed, able to grasp the key issues on any complex matter and had the confidence and courage, even under contentious circumstances, if necessary, to challenge established views.

He was quite fearless in the pursuit of shareholders' interests and it was these qualities he brought to the role of non-executive director which made him so respected by the top echelons of business in this country. Such attributes made him the natural candidate to take on the role of Chairman of Tarmac's audit committee.

Outside of Tarmac I sat with him on the board of the Midland Bank and saw at first hand the major role he played in the merger negotiations with the Honk Kong and Shanghai Bank earlier this year. I know he was widely respected in his role as non-executive director for ICI and indeed the other companies on whose boards he served.

I was always astounded by the volume of work Meaney could get through and his ability to grasp the detail of so many complex and diverse issues.