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Tuesday, 23 July, 2002, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Former industry leader dies
Lord Weinstock
Lord Weinstock, once one of the most powerful men in British industry, has died at the age of 78.

Arnold Weinstock led the UK's biggest electrical company, GEC - now known as Marconi - for 30 years, until his retirement in 1996.

He was long regarded as one of the leading figures in British industry and was also well known for his passion for horse racing.

A spokesman for the Weinstock family, speaking from the philanthropist's Wiltshire country home, said: "Lord Weinstock died peacefully at his home."

Lord Weinstock married Netta Sobell in 1949, and the couple had a daughter and a son, Simon, who died in 1996.

Paying tribute to Lord Weinstock, former Tory cabinet minister and fellow industrialist Lord Prior, said: "He was a very outstanding post-war industrialist, perhaps the most outstanding."

Ruthless

The youngest of six sons of Polish immigrants to London, Lord Weinstock spent three years as a civil servant before going into business in finance and property development.


He really loved his racing and he really loved his horses

Willie Carson
He finally joined his father-in-law's radio and television making firm in 1954 and developed the reputation of being a ruthless, tough manager.

His business acumen became clear during the 1960s, when the firm became GEC and grew into a major business through a series of acquisitions.

Lord Weinstock was regarded as an industrial hero of the Wilson government.

Under his guidance GEC became one of the UK's largest companies, with interests spanning everything from military equipment to trains and telephones.

'Wit and wisdom'

Despite his ties to industry, Lord Weinstock had many other passions - including music and horse racing.

Lord Prior said: "He was a man of many parts.

Lord Weinstock
Lord Weinstock transformed GEC during the 1960s
"He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of music and if he had not been a great industrialist, he could have been a very considerable music critic and perhaps even a conductor."

Willie Carson rode successfully for Lord Weinstock from 1977 until the jockey's retirement.

Among their many winners included Troy and Sun Princess.

Mr Carson said: "He really loved his racing and he really loved his horses.

"It really revved him up, especially seeing a good horse."

Leading race horse trainer Sir Michael Stoute said: "He was a man of great wit and wisdom and I derived the greatest pleasure from our association."

Leading figure

Lord Weinstock was knighted in 1970 and accepted a life peerage in 1980.

After his retirement in 1996 he became one of the leading figures in the 'No' campaign, against Britain joining the euro.

Lord Weinstock is a former trustee of the British Museum and the Royal Philharmonic Society and became an honorary fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1982.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mark Gregory
"He had a very sharp eye for a deal."
The BBC's Jeff Randall
"The last of Britain's great industrialists"
See also:

23 Jul 02 | Business
20 Jun 02 | Business
16 May 02 | Business
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