‘Black Bob’ had the guts to make tough decisions

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For me, the 1960s was memorable for the Beatles, Woodward, Currie and Mick Jones, the Peak District and High Storrs Grammar School.

My parents also moved to Cortworth Road, Ecclesall. My hard-working father, who worked for Emgas, competed with our neighbour to have the ‘best’ vegetables and flowers in their hundred-yard long gardens. The neighbour was a bit gruff but down to earth. He enjoyed camping, travel and his family. We lived in a very sociable environment.

Our neighbour was ‘Black Bob’ Scholey, who became chief executive of British Steel in 1973 and chairman from 1986 to 1992.

He was an old-fashioned manager who called a spade a spade and had the guts to make tough decisions and stick up to politicians, including Margaret Thatcher.

I remember him making a blunt comment about my O level performance.

That encouraged me to try harder and I enjoyed life at Newcastle University before becoming an accountant and academic.

I was saddened to hear of Sir Robert Scholey’s recent death, but glad he lived to a grand age and enjoyed his life.

His management style got results and he made the steel industry lean, efficient and profitable in a competitive marketplace. The job losses were tragic, but British Steel once lost £1 billion a year. I am proud to have known the Yorkshireman who became a great strategic leader.

David H Wells

Wimborne, Dorset