It is with great sadness, that the NTDA Executive Officers have learnt that Richard Sermon, MBE, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and Chairman of the NTDA’s chosen charity partner, the Wheelwrights’ Charity, died on 2ndSeptember after a short illness.
Richard was a major advocate for closer engagement between the ancient craft of the Wheelwrights and the modern-day tyre industry, he actively encouraged tyre industry professionals to join the Wheelwrights, attended NTDA events and supported the establishment of the annual NTDA Tyre Technician of the Year Award.
As a result of Richard’s efforts and that of other members, over the last four years, Liverymen from tyre manufacturing, distribution and recovery have boosted the Wheelwrights numbers and given it a vital link to modern day industry and commerce.
Richard himself was an outstanding contributor to the Wheelwrights, joining the Company when he was only 16 years old as an apprentice to Sir Murray Fox. Qualifying as a Chartered Secretary, Richard pursued an early career at Crest Hotels before founding Shandwick Consultancy in the City of London. He, with others, built this business to become a global market leading public relations organisation over the subsequent 17 years. In 1996 he formed his own consultancy practice, Gryphon Corporate Counsel Limited, again specialising in financial communications, reputation management, corporate governance and the promotion of inward investment and international trade.
Richard managed businesses in the UK and throughout Europe, working with banking, corporate and governmental clients throughout the world. He served as senior independent director of Jardine Lloyd Thompson and held many other non-executive director positions in private and listed companies. He was a Board Member of The UK Defence Academy and a Visiting Professor in Corporate Governance at Cass Business School. He was Vice Chairman and a Fellow of City & Guilds of London Institute, and also played an important part in The Livery Companies Apprenticeship Scheme. In 2016 Richard lent his skills and energy to the establishment of the City Values Forum in response to the Report on Corporate Culture by the Financial Reporting Council. A trustee of several charities, after 12 years as Chairman of London Youth he received an MBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List for ‘services to young people’.
Richard was a Governor of the City of London School for Girls, Board Member of the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, a member of the Royal Society of St George, the Ward Club of Cheap and a Church Warden of St Mary at Hill.
Having supported the Company ably in many roles and as a member of Court, most recently he served as Chairman of the Wheelwrights Charity Trustees. He was also a Past Master of The Chartered Secretaries and Administrators Company and had held the High Office of Sheriff of the City of London. A man of many talents and great energy, he will be very much missed. The thoughts of the NTDA Executive Officers, staff and many fellow Liverymen are with his wife Rosemary and his family at this sad time.