Coventry City Council has paid tribute to the vision of Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya and the difference he made to the city following news of his death today.
In a joint statement the Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr George Duggins, and Deputy Leader, Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, said the profound and enduring impact of Lord Bhattacharyya’s work could never truly be measured, and he had been fundamental in leading Coventry towards a bright future.
He founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group, based in Coventry, which is today one of the world’s top applied research centres, with a reputation for academic excellence and business results.
With his international networks and the universal respect held for him, he was instrumental in bringing Tata to the city and brokered the deal which led to the amazing revitalisation of Jaguar Land Rover.
His work resulted in the creation of the new National Automotive Innovation Centre that will take industry, and Coventry, to the next level, bringing international research leaders to the city and giving them the equipment and facilities to develop ground-breaking designs and technological breakthroughs.
He was also a key figure in Coventry winning the right to build an £80m Battery Industrialisation Centre to serve the entire UK automotive industry and in cutting-edge research for autonomous and electric vehicles.
Cllr Duggins and Cllr Khan said: “Lord Bhattacharyya loved his adopted city of Coventry and had a great desire to see it as a world-leader in manufacturing and design.
“He brought his amazing skills and knowledge to our city, but he also brought an energy and a passion that inspired everyone who knew him.
“Without him, Coventry would not be the great centre of innovation and manufacturing that it is today. His vision and determination have put us right at the heart of the automotive industry of the future.
“There are many around Coventry and Warwickshire who will have been directly affected by his work, maybe without even knowing it. For almost 40 years he helped bring investment and jobs to our city and did so much behind the scenes in the worlds of business, education and government.
“We were honoured to have known him and consider him to be a friend. He was always ready to help others and he was a great ambassador for our city. He will be greatly missed.”
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr John Blundell, added: “Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya had a tremendous influence on our city over recent years and that influence will continue to be felt for many years to come, benefiting generations of Coventry people..
“His knowledge and wisdom will be greatly missed, as will his enthusiasm and his ready smile which were there for everyone to see whenever he talked about his joint loves of Coventry and manufacturing.
“I know his loss will be felt by many around the world and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
The Council recently took the rare step of honouring Lord Bhattacharyya by naming a road after him. He was also a Freeman of the City and a holder of the Award of Merit.
The flag outside the Council House was today being flown at half-mast.