John Webb-Jenkins FInstPkg (Obit)
I first met John Webb-Jenkins FInstPkg in 1999 when he joined the former Institute of Packaging (IOP) as Chief Executive and Managing Director. He held this position until he retired in 2003.
During the merger with IOM3, John attended Board meetings to represent the London local society. He was also a trustee and presented at the Packaging Summer School on his specialism, Packaging Legislation and the Global Packaging Organisation. He spoke with his usual dash of humour.
Contact with the media
He was always cheerful and ready to talk to anyone. With his huge notebook of contacts he was instrumental in raising the profile of the Institute. To quote Pauline Covel, ‘He was always willing to talk to or meet the media at the drop of a hat...He could be particularly helpful for trade press journalists by steering them in the right direction for a contact, a quote or a column. Most of all he was an enthusiast – about his industry, about the IOP and about the importance of the media’.
Education and career
John was born in 1939 and achieved an honours degree in Chemistry at the University of Bristol. His first job was at British Resin Products. From there he went to ICI Plastics and Stanley Smith, then on to the Solvay Group as a Director before becoming Managing Director back at Stanley Smith. During this period he joined the Packaging and Industrial Films Association (now the Packaging and Films Association) as one of the first Directors in 1990 and was elected Chairman six years later. He chaired the PVC Product Group and set up a consultancy, Kirkstone Plastics, in 1998, before joining the IOP.
Barry Turner, Chief Executive of PAFA says, ‘John was always a perfect gentleman at a time when a tough global business environment made this unfashionable’. Derek Uttridge, who worked at Stanley Smith, says of John, ‘He was a Managing Director who led by example and so had the absolute loyalty of most of his staff’.
The family man
John had enormous affection for his wife Clare, four children and grandchildren. Numerous family gatherings took place in the delightful holiday home at Port Isaac in Cornwall. It was therefore most fitting that he spent his last days at Truro hospital in his beloved Cornwall.
At the funeral his son Matthew said, ‘During our upbringing, Mum and Dad created a home that was stable, consistent, warm and loving...He was far happier providing an environment where people felt happy. Not just for us children and extended family, but socially as well’. He reminisced about –
- His dislike of gardening, ‘punishment gardening’, as he called it.
- How much he loved being the cuddly Gramp who could get all the grandchildren to sleep on him when they were small.
- Flicking plastic. This was always accompanied by the incomprehensible mantra of ‘50 micron’.
Matthew went on to say, ‘In a world filled with...globalised economic panic, brashness, voicemail and the jabber of a million daily irritants, the lesson that these quiet qualities which Dad stood for resonate so loudly with so many people is one of the most uplifting feelings I have ever had’.
John is sadly missed by many of us, I raise my glass of beer and salute you John.