The Welsh Automotive Forum mourns the sad loss of its Chairman Prof Richard Parry-Jones CBE

The Welsh Automotive Forum were incredibly saddened to learn on Friday of the sudden and tragic passing of its Chairman Prof Richard Parry-Jones CBE.

Richard was appointed as our Chairman in May 2018 and was recognised and respected internationally for his significant contribution to the automotive sector during such a distinguished career. Richard was so passionate about motor vehicles, a pioneer in his domain and a visionary who was instrumental in shaping future UK mobility. Richard was an influencer, a mentor, and a talented man, who leaves such a void in the UK automotive sector.

Richard was born in 1951 in Bangor and rose up to become Group Vice-President-Global Product Development, Chief Technical Officer and Head of Global R&D Operations at Ford Motor Company, with 30,000 engineers and technical staff working under his direction.

During his career spanning more than 30 years with Ford, Richard influenced the design of the Escort, Sierra, Ka, Fiesta, Puma, Cougar and Galaxy and particularly the Mondeo and Focus, as well as several American models for Lincoln.

Richard was also an influential figure at Aston Martin Lagonda during the period of Ford ownership, playing a major role in their models’ performance, ride and handling for decades, and his influences remain in some of those cars to the present day. Richard continued to support Aston Martin as an observer to their board from 2007-2014, as well as an engineering consultant to their product development teams. In February 2021, Richard continued his affiliation with Aston Martin Lagonda by joining the Board as a Non-Executive Director.

Following his Ford retirement, Richard became a consultant and advisor to motor manufacturers and major dealer groups listed on the London Stock Exchange and around the world. In an advisory capacity, Richard provided invaluable guidance across the political spectrum working with both the Welsh and UK Governments, and in June 2019 was asked by Welsh Government to head up the task force which was established to deal with the closure of the Ford Bridgend Engine Plant.

Richard was co-chair of the UK Automotive Council as well as holding the role of chairman at Network Rail, Kelda Group Holdings and Yorkshire Water. Richard also served for 10 years as a non-executive director of GKN Plc, a global leader in automotive and aerospace systems, including the role of senior independent director for much of that period.

Richard’s accolades included being made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Institute of Mechanical Engineers, voted Man of the Year 1994 by Autocar and Man of the Year 1997 by Automobile magazine in the US.

The staff and the Board at WAF send our deepest condolences and sympathy to Richard's family and friends.

Robert O’Neil

Chief Executive