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News > Remembrance > Andrew Panter (OL 1958 - 1962)

Andrew Panter (OL 1958 - 1962)

Andrew Panter came to John Lyon in 1958 from Scotch College in Adelaide, joining the 1955 - 1962 cohort. His close friend, Stephen Brown remembers his high flying career and charitable works.
21 Sep 2020
Andrew Panter (1944 - 2020)
Andrew Panter (1944 - 2020)
Andrew Panter, who died in June aged 76, had two distinct phases to his life. Following a successful 34 year career as a civil engineer, senior manager and director in the construction industry, he devoted the next twenty years to works of charity and services to his local community. In his first career, after initial training, he worked for the George Wimpey group of companies, rising to Managing Director of Wimpey Homes. An important part of his subsequent charitable work was devoted to the Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and to his role as a Deputy Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire. In parallel with these later activities, he used his knowledge of the construction industry for the benefit of several housing associations through membership of their boards of directors. He also served as Master of the Worshipful Company of Paviors in the City of London in 2009-10.

Andrew Panter was born in Ealing in 1944 and lived with his parents, Hugh and Hillary, and brother, Howard, in South Australia from 1951 to 1958. He was educated in Scotch College, Adelaide, the John Lyon School in Harrow and Imperial College, where he graduated in civil engineering in 1965. The first six years of his career were with the civil engineering consultancy, Binnie and Partners. This provided the experience needed for him to qualify as a Chartered Civil Engineer and he worked on major projects including the Mangla Dam in Pakistan and the Plover Cove scheme in Hong Kong.

Having decided that his career would be best served in the field of contracting, he joined Wimpey in 1972 and filled a number of increasingly important engineering and management roles. Panter was involved in the early stages of the long debate that preceded the major reorganisation of Wimpey in 1996.  In the early 1980s, he authored a report with a colleague on how profitability of the old housing division could be increased. It was poorly received at that time by most of the senior management but the ideas were later adopted in the 1996 transformation of Wimpey.

The subsidiary companies for which Panter served as MD during the 1980s and 90s included Wimpey Waste Management, Wimpey Hobbs, Wimpey Asphalt and Wimpey Minerals International. He was appointed to the Executive Board of George Wimpey plc in 1984. Some of the major achievements he was responsible for included establishment of a major coastal quarry in Bantry Bay, a pelletized slag facility in South Wales and a key role in privatisation of the Czech quarrying industry.

Panter moved to Pennsylvania in 1993, where he served as CEO and President of Wimpey Minerals, North America. He quickly learned that selling aggregates for construction in New York City involved dealing with ‘middle men’, one of whom in conversation dressed as a priest, revealed a gun in his belt to emphasise the need to take him and his colleagues seriously.

The 1990s were an interesting and challenging time for Wimpey as the company was transformed from a family-owned heavy construction firm to a sharp, lean, profitable public company specialising in house building. The final stage of this was the major asset swap negotiated in 1996 between Tarmac and Wimpey, which resulted in Tarmac taking on all the civil engineering, aggregate and asphalt interests and Wimpey doing all the housing. The result was a rapid and large increase in profitability for Wimpey. The immediate consequence for Panter in the USA was that he became a Tarmac employee overnight. This move was reversed within a year when he was attracted back to the UK as Managing Director of the expanded Wimpey Homes business, a position he held until his early retirement in 2000.

Following his retirement Panter used his experience to voluntarily assist the affordable housing market and was appointed Chairman of the Bourne Housing Society. He subsequently served on the boards of Moat Homes, the Horizon Housing Group, the South London Family Housing Association and Amicus Horizon Group Finance. He also became very active in charitable work as Chairman of Windsor and Eton Rotary Club and the Round Table.

Panter was regarded as a tower of strength in his work for the Prince Philip Trust with his engaging style and capacity for getting things done. He was invited to serve an unprecedented third three year term when chairing the Fundraising Committee. He took leadership roles in major fund raising events, notably the Classic Car Rallies on the Long Walk at Windsor and a series of Ascot Race Days. These events were extremely popular and raised several hundred thousand pounds for the Trust to distribute to the many deserving causes in the local community. He was a good leader but also a team player, getting results through his hard work, charm and tremendous good humour. His outstanding contributions will be sadly missed by the trustees notably the first chairman, Prince Philip, and present incumbent, Prince Edward.

Panter also made a huge contribution as a Deputy Lieutenant, always being ready to take on tasks large or small in support of the Lord Lieutenant, including numerous occasions such as Citizenship Ceremonies and presentations of Queens Award for voluntary services. He was able to take most events in his stride, including the occasion when, on a rainy day, he found an umbrella in the grounds of Windsor Castle clearly left by someone who had watched the parade of classic cars that afternoon. As he examined it, a voice from a window in the castle shouted that it belonged to her and that she would come down and fetch it. Panter presented it to the Queen without turning a hair.

While much occupied with these charitable works, Panter became very active within the Worshipful Company of Paviors, chairing key committees and very effectively representing the Livery around the City of London during his year as Master in 2009-10. Under his leadership, the Company signed a lease on rooms within the Charterhouse complex to provide much needed space for the Clerk to operate, silver to be stored and committee meetings to be held. He was appointed MBE for services to charity and the community in 2015.

Andrew Panter was a charming man with the gift for getting things done using his engaging personality and powers of persuasion while listening carefully to the views of others. He was very effective at chairing committees of various kinds that produced fresh ideas and high quality results. His busy schedule still allowed time for his favourite hobby of sailing, which he would undertake with a group of friends each year. Socially, he was an excellent host and dinner parties at the home in Englefield Green that he and his wife Tui created, were to an extremely high standard and always memorable.

Andrew Panter is survived by his wife Tui, née Cooke, whom he married in 1967 and by his daughter, Tiffany, son-in-law Dominic and grandson, Inigo. He will also be greatly missed by his brother Sir Howard Panter and sister-in-law, Dame Rosemary Squire.


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