Obituary: Raymond Monbiot CBE

Obituary: Raymond Monbiot CBE

Meat Management magazine is deeply saddened to report the recent death of Raymond Monbiot CBE.

Born in 1937 near Margate, Kent, Raymond Monbiot was educated at Westminster School and the London Business School. He joined J. Lyons & Co in 1956 as a bakery trainee and worked as a pastry chef during that time.

His talent and warm personality earned him rapid promotion and he became national sales manager at Lyons Bakery aged only 24, and by the age of 32 had been promoted still further to a general manager. He was managing director of Telfers before leaving Lyons after 22 years to join Associated Biscuits as managing director and later Campbell’s Soups, as chairman and chief executive UK.

After a total of 32 years with multi-nationals he set up his own business Rotherfield Management Ltd – a consultancy specialising in the meat and food industry.

A very popular and well respected industry personality, Raymond had a highly developed knowledge of the European food market and the workings of the European Union (EU). He regularly contributed to food industry magazines and started writing for Yandell Publishing soon after its formation in 1986. The Raymond Monbiot Interview was a ‘must read’ section within the company’s Meat & Poultry News title and featured the ‘great and the good’ for more than 10 years, with an emphasis on revealing facets about people that perhaps would not otherwise be well known across the industry. He also contributed the Raymond Monbiot Column to Meat Manufacturing magazine, which for many years attracted a wide and loyal readership.

Apart from his columns and interviews, Raymond also was the author of the highly acclaimed book How To Manage Your Boss and in later life he published the popular book Retirement is for Younger People: Life is Too Short to Retire. In addition, there were also a number of other books centred around Norfolk and the personalities nearby to where he lived.

Raymond Monbiot had a lifelong involvement with the Conservative Party and served for many years on the Party’s board. He became chairman of the Henley constituency and controversially backed Margaret Thatcher to retain the leadership of the Party when challenged by Michael Heseltine, who at the time was MP for Henley. Raymond’s letter of support sent to Mrs Thatcher when he was Henley Constituency chairman, which was copied to the media, and by implication highlighting the rejection of his own sitting MP, made the lead story in a BBC television news main evening broadcast during a time of political upheaval and unrest.

Despite the opportunity to stand as an MP he preferred to be part of the ‘backroom team’ including having a big influence on the National Executive. In recognition of his outstanding service to the Party he was made its deputy chairman and subsequently Raymond chaired the Conservative Party Conference in the year 2000 – a singular honour in the year of the new millennium.

Raymond was awarded an MBE in 1981 and then a CBE in 1994. He became a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Butchers in 1991 and also served on the Council of the BMMA (now BMPA) whilst at Telfers and then subsequently at Campbell’s.

Married to his wife Rosalie Monbiot OBE who passed away last year in March 2022, herself a very active personality in the Conservative Party and a local councillor, they had three children, one of which is the high profile political activist and journalist George Monbiot.

On hearing the news of Raymond’s passing, Graham Yandell, the publisher of Meat Management magazine said: “Raymond was a great friend to me and to the Yandell business. He supported us without reservation and was a consistent enthusiast for what we stand for and what we try to do – right from the start. He backed us when we launched way back in 1986 and I shall never forget his kindness and encouragement.

“Raymond’s easy going and superb writing style, coupled with his wit and industry knowledge made him unique. I had the honour of publishing his book 100 Not Out in the year 2000 when we recorded and compiled his first 100 interviews that we had featured in Meat & Poultry News between December 1990 and July 1999. Looking back through that publication now it has become an amazing history and catalogue of the trade, and features many leading industry personalities – some no longer with us – but all of whom were pleased to be ‘grilled’ by Raymond. An experience universally enjoyed by all.

“Raymond was a remarkable man of great stature and integrity, and he was enormous fun. We used to dine together regularly to catch up and his anecdotes and stories, as well as his political and business insight, was second to none. I remember those occasions with great affection and I shall always be flattered that he was such a great supporter of our media and a true friend. He was also a great ambassador for the meat industry, a real champion of the trade who stood up for what he believed. He will be sadly missed and very warmly remembered.”

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