Pensioners Index

......Extended .Obituary..- 'A'.......


ALEXANDER, Alex Sir (1916-1994). Sir Alex Alexander was chairman of the Food Group of Allied-Lyons plc after the takeover by Allied Breweries between 1979-1989. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, on 21 November 1916 as Alexander Kesztenbaum and came to Britain as a refugee in 1939. From a building labourer he got his first start when he met Jack Petre of Westwick Hall, Norfolk, just after the war. The two entered into a partnership which grew from a small canned fruit franchise into a sizable frozen food enterprise. In 1948, Alex Alexander, as he had become, founded Westwick Preserving Company and Westwick Distributors. A year later he became founder-chairman of Westwick Frosted Products in partnership with the Ross Group and in 1954 joined the Ross Group board. In 1969 Ross was taken over by Imperial Tobacco and they retained him as chairman as well as appointing him to the Imperial Board. By 1971 he had become chairman of Imperial Foods until his retirement in 1979. His retirement was short-lived as he became chairman of J. Lyons & Co, the new subsidiary of Allied Breweries. He was knighted in 1974 for services to the food industry and was appointed High Sheriff of Norfolk in 1976. At the age of 73 he became a senior managing director of Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank. His career took him to the chairmanship of large public companies and a number of charitable and artistic foundations. He joined Lyons at a difficult time introducing strict financial controls and disposing of non core businesses. He was also instrumental in strengthening other parts of the group by the purchase of like businesses. During his stewardship profits rose from £22.8 million in 1980 to £107 million in 1989. While a very able businessman with total dedication to Lyons, his management style was aggressive. His son, Stephen Alexander, was appointed Managing Director of J. Lyons & Co Ltd in November 1992.


AVERY, Louis P. (1916-1987) was Town & County's private catering director when he retired in June 1976. He had joined Lyons in 1932 as a waiter at the Trocadero Restaurant where he remained until the outbreak of war. After war service in the RAF he rejoined Lyons as manager of the Strand Corner House brasserie and then transferred to the Outdoor Catering Department as a manager. During the next thirty years he was involved in most of the major outdoor catering events for which Lyons were famous including: The Chelsea Garden Show, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships and the Buckingham Palace Garden Parties. Besides serving three generations of the Royal Family, Avery was on hand for such functions as Sir Winston Churchill's farewell party to his constituents at Chartwell, the opening by the Queen of the new Stock Exchange and at special banquets at Blenheim Palace. In 1969 the Queen made him a member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) to mark his service to the royal household. Louis Avery served forty-four years with Lyons and died on 25 April 1987 aged 71.