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Peter Whalley Cunliffe: 1926-2017 (1945, MML)

We are sad to announce the death of Peter Whalley Cunliffe CBE, who died peacefully on 19 September 2017 aged 90.

Peter was in Blackburn, Lancashire and earned a scholarship to Queen Elizabeth grammar school. He gained a scholarship to Trinity hall, Cambridge where he gained a first-class degree in French and Spanish. Following two years of National Service, he joined the overseas sales department at ICI in August 1951.

He rose through the ranks of the pharmaceuticals division, becoming Deputy Chairman of the division then Chairman in April 1976. Other influential roles included President of the International Federation of Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers Association, and Chairman of the Association of British Pharmaceuticals Industries (ABPI) from April 1981 to April 1983. He was proud to be awarded the CBE for service to the pharmaceuticals industry in 1980.

He had great integrity and high standards of behaviour and expected no less from others. As chairman of the ABPI he insisted that every Chief Executive of every member company accepted not only the wording but also the spirit of the Association’s code of practice and confirmed that they personally accepted responsibility for their company’s compliance with the code. If they did not, he kept on sending letters until he got full compliance.

A friend and colleague summed up his professional attributes on his death, saying “he was astute, enormously hard-working, unswerving in his support for colleagues and provided inspiring leadership for the business at a very formative stage”.

An article written about him on his retirement spoke of him as an unashamed workaholic, and a man of “great energy, great good humour and great good sense” who left the pharmaceuticals industry greatly changed from the one he joined, stating “he was an active ingredient of the change”.

He was happily married for 66 years and took great delight in all his family. He is survived by his wife Therese, daughter Ariane, grandchildren Genevieve and Henry and great grandchildren William, Dylan and Astrid. He is sorely missed.

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