Skip to main content Skip to navigation

A selection of tributes

Sir David Normington, Chair of Council and Pro-Chancellor, University of Warwick

“Long before I joined the University of Warwick Council, I knew of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya as an adviser to successive Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State and a tireless advocate for UK manufacturing industry. Then, as Chair of Council I had the great good fortune to see close up his extraordinary commitment to University of Warwick, to Coventry and the West Midlands and to UK plc.

He was a force of nature. He pushed at boundaries, he changed lives, he created jobs, and he set the standard for how universities should work with industry. Most of all, for so many of us, he was also a kind and generous friend. We shall miss him terribly but here at Warwick he will remain our inspiration for many years to come.

We send our love and deep condolences to Bridie and his family.”

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick

“Professor Lord Bhattacharyya served for four decades at Warwick founding and leading WMG. However, his service goes far beyond this University. The achievements of WMG, particularly his own wisdom, passion, and advocacy of the importance of manufacturing, technology, research teaching, and training has helped guide regional, national and international leaders, business figures and policy makers. He has helped preserve and create jobs and transform companies, economies, and individual lives, above all in our region. We mourn the passing of a unique man but we also celebrate all that he has achieved and are thankful that those achievements will have a massive impact for years to come.”

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

"Mr Speaker, I am sure the whole house will want to join me in paying tribute to Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, who died, sadly, last week. His creation of the Warwick Manufacturing Group was truly a pioneering partnership between Academia and Industry. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and I know he will be sorely missed."

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

“I am deeply saddened by the death of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. Kumar has been a heroic figure, helping establish in Britain a world-wide reputation for excellence and innovation in advanced manufacturing. Through the WMG, which he founded, and through his extraordinary energy and tenacity Kumar encouraged many firms to locate and expand in Britain. Hundreds of thousands of people in Britain owe their livelihoods to Kumar Bhattacharyya.

It has been a personal privilege to be able to work so closely with Kumar, who helped inspire our modern Industrial Strategy, and to be his friend. Kumar will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, and our thoughts are with his wife Bridie, their three daughters Anita, Tina and Malini and their family."

Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, former UK Prime Minister

"There is no need to exaggerate the contribution Kumar made to our country and to the world. His monumental achievements speak for themselves. Over five decades no-one has done more to link the academic community to British industry. Indeed no-one has so brilliantly brought the voice of both the scientific community and industry to the attention of government and no-one is more respected for doing so than Kumar."

Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

“Kumar Bhattacharyya was one of the most inspirational and committed individuals I have ever had the good fortune to meet.
The energy with which he helped drive innovation and excellence in UK manufacturing, securing thousands of skilled jobs for the people of Coventry and the West Midlands in the process, stands as proud testament to the impact he had on our country.
He was a great pioneer and advocate of universities working more closely with industry and in partnership with government, and he will be a deep and sad loss for those at the Warwick Manufacturing Group and University.

My thoughts and prayers are with Bridie and his family as well as his many friends.”

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party

“My thoughts are with the family of Lord Bhattacharyya. As a champion of the British car industry and manufacturing he played a key role in saving Jaguar Land Rover - safeguarding jobs and bringing international research to the UK. He will be greatly missed.”

Andy Street‏, Mayor of the West Midlands

"Today is a very sad day for the West Midlands. The passing of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya is a huge loss to the West Midlands.

He has been a brilliant champion for the region, and the driving force behind the development of Coventry and Warwickshire as a global centre of the automotive industry.

He lay behind great successes for Jaguar Land Rover and the Warwick Manufacturing Group, and most recently the National Automotive Innovation Centre and the UK Battery Industrialisation were direct results of his hard work and influence.

No-one has done more than Lord Bhattacharyya for the West Midlands economy over such a long period of time.

Personally, I have been honored to know Kumar as a colleague, a trusted advisor and a friend. My thoughts today are with his family, and all those who knew him."

Leader of Coventry City Council, Cllr George Duggins, and Deputy Leader, Cllr Abdul Salam Khan

“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 honored 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

“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.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman Midlands Engine

“Lord Bhattacharyya was a true giant of industry helping establish the Midlands as an innovative place for advanced manufacturing. A sad day for the region.”

Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward

“Very sad to hear of the death of Lord Bhattacharyya. His ability to transcend party politics and to be respected by all sides is testament to his great understanding and knowledge of business and industry, which was second to none.”

Jonathan Browning, Chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership

“Lord Bhattacharyya was unique and this is very sad news. The region and, in fact the whole of the UK industry, owes him a huge debt. He was a one-man force of nature who achieved so much for Coventry and Warwickshire, University of Warwick, WMG and the UK.

He was a pioneer who saw how academia and industry could work together closer to drive forward advancements – especially in engineering and manufacturing – but he is also the man who turned that realisation into reality, often through his force of personality.

His influence goes back four decades and was felt by every single government since that time and right until his death he was brining investment to Coventry and Warwickshire.

The rescue, survival and subsequent success of Jaguar Land Rover can be traced directly back to him and the way he refused to let the company die.

By his nature, he is irreplaceable but he leaves many legacies, including the on-going success of WMG across its many operations. His death will be felt across the industrialised world.”

Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover

"It is with great sadness that we have been informed of the passing of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya.
Lord Bhattacharyya was a remarkable and inspirational man who played a significant role in U.K. manufacturing and engineering over the past 50 years.

He became Britain’s first Professor of Manufacturing and founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group in the 1980s which now has a global reputation for its collaborative approach by combining educational excellence with practical relevance to industry. Through his extensive international contacts and his drive towards an exciting and compelling vision of the future, he was instrumental in brokering major partnerships in U.K. manufacturing including Tata’s investment in Jaguar Land Rover and the recent ground breaking creation and investment in the National Automotive Innovation Centre - fittingly located in the Lord Bhattacharyya Building at the University of Warwick.

Lord Bhattacharyya was regarded by leaders in politics, academia and industry as a true pioneer and a passionate advocate for engineering innovation. He received many international honours and awards including the highest honours China presents to foreigners.

He was an exceptional mentor to many people at Jaguar Land Rover and will be greatly missed. Through his clear vision, strong sense of purpose and his warm charismatic personality, he energised people of all ages and backgrounds and created momentum for creativity and positive change.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya’s legacy will be exceptional, wide reaching and long lasting.

Our condolences go to his family and friends at this very sad time."

Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Motor Company

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our mentor Prof Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya. Since the mid-1980s when TVS was a regional moped company, Prof has guided our vision and thinking to expand and grow into what it is today. In the last 30 years we have built a very strong and lasting relationship with WMG, the institution he founded. This has now grown to include a full-fledged engineering centre for advanced technology and new products at Warwick.

Kumar guided our turnaround in the 1990s by implementing excellence in manufacturing and a lean supply chain. His vision inspired us to learn, grow and educate our people in cutting edge practices from around the world. A great advocate of technology, Prof strongly encouraged our investments in many aspirational products. His global vision emboldened us to expand overseas to over 60 countries within a short span time.

A leading global figure in industry and public policy, Lord Bhattacharyya guided and shaped many industrialists, academics and prominent public figures. Under his leadership WMG worked with notable companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Ford, British Aerospance, Bosch, Linde Group and Astra Zeneca. He was recognised for his efforts around the world and counted many international business and political leaders among his close friends. Kumar received the prestigious China Friendship award from Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and the Rainbow Bridge Award from the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Prominent heads of state like Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Abdul Kalam, Theresa May, and Mahathir Mohammed visited WMG at his invitation to see the confluence of industry, technology, academia and public policy.

He spent eight years advising his friend Nelson Mandela in shaping the future of South Africa after apartheid. He was closely associated with Lee Kuan Yew and the development of Singapore and also with Prime Minister Vajpayee. India honoured him with a Padma Bhushan in 2002. WMG was given the Queens Award for Academic excellence in 2009 and Lord Bhattacharyya was decorated as the Regius Professor of Manufacturing in 2016. The first applied scientist to become a Fellow of the Royal Society, Margaret Thatcher called him “a true pioneer.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Lady Bhattacharyya and the family.

We will deeply cherish our times with him and endeavour to carry forward his global vision."

Mr. Guenter Butschek, Chairman of the TMETC board and CEO & MD, Tata Motors

“On behalf of Tata Motors and TMETC, I would like to express our deep sadness on the passing of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya.

Our condolences are expressed to his family, who are in the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Tata Motors Group. He was instrumental in Tata Motors’ entry in the UK, cementing the brand as a recognised and international force within the automotive industry. We will always remember him as a visionary."

Dick Elsy CBE, CEO of the HVM Catapult

“The UK has lost one of the great champions for manufacturing. Kumar’s influence, both political and industrial, was unmatched and he will be sadly missed. He leaves a profound and lasting legacy for the UK and for the future of manufacturing. Our thoughts go out to his family”

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry

“A visionary academic and tall leader of manufacturing excellence, Prof Lord Bhattacharyya was deeply committed to fostering India’s manufacturing excellence. Working on policy development, manufacturing competitiveness and research, he believed in deepening India’s global manufacturing footprint to make the country a leader.

Prof Lord Bhattacharyya played a significant role in India-UK economic relations and helped found the Indo-British Partnership Initiative (IBPI) where CII was the Indian partner. This was launched by both Governments in 1991 and was successful in taking bilateral trade and investment relations to new heights.

CII was closely associated with WMG under Prof Lord Bhattacharyya’s guidance for undertaking various educational and innovation programmes. The programmes contributed to building capacity among middle and senior manufacturing managers, enabling them to introduce new manufacturing practices in the Indian scenario. Over 25 years, the CII-WMG Engineering Business Program developed a core cadre of manufacturing leaders.

CII also worked with WMG for setting up a Technology Center in India in 1995. In 2017-18, the two organisations collaborated on an Advanced Manufacturing Programme for senior manufacturing managers to expand technology adaptation in Indian manufacturing. CII and WMG also worked together on issues such as climate change mitigation, higher education, technology and R&D in Indian manufacturing.

An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Prof Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya was globally respected for his vision and foresight. In 2002, he was conferred the Padma Bhushan by Government of India for his services to Science and Technology."

Andy Palmer, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

“I’m so so sorry to hear that Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG at the University of Warwick, passed away. He was my Professor for my MSc, a giant in our industry and latterly a mentor to me. May he rest in peace.”

Government Chief Science Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance

“Lord Bhattacharyya was a visionary with respect to how science engineering and businesses can work together, a close advisor to successive British Governments, and a stalwart champion for British manufacturers over decades. He will be sadly missed.”

Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Culture Secretary

“I’m deeply saddened that the country has lost Kumar. He was a towering intellect, an industrial visionary and a very kind and funny man. My children loved him. My family’s thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones and many friends and colleagues.”

Janet Royall, Shadow Leader of the House of Lords

“Kumar Bhattacharyya will be sorely missed by his family and friends. He transformed the lives of millions by his work at WMG and JLR and in countless other companies that he nurtured and supported. He embraced innovation whilst understanding the need for social justice.”

Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West & Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee

“Extremely sad to hear of the death of my friend Kumar Bhattacharyya. Kumar was a titan of manufacturing, the founder of the world-leading WMG research centre at Warwick University and a dedicated Labour peer. We all owe him a great deal & I will miss him.”

Jim Cunningham Labour MP ‏for Coventry South

“Very sad news today, Lord Bhattacharyya had a truly innovative impact within manufacturing and he bought so much to University of Warwick and Coventry as a whole; he will be sorely missed.”

Matt Western Labour MP‏ for Warwick and Leamington

“Very sad day for WMG, our region and its people: Lord Bhattacharyya - here in his ‘element’ - was a person of immense energy and an unsurpassed networker who achieved the extraordinary for UK manufacturing.”

Steve McCabe Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak

“So sad to hear of the passing of Kumar (Lord Bhattacharyya). The world is a poorer place tonight. We have lost a great industrialist & a really good man.”

Pat McFadden Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East

“Very sad to hear of the death yesterday of Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, founder and chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). His advice was valued by Prime Ministers of both parties and he made a huge contribution to British industry. We have lost a great man.”

Neena Gill CBE MEP for West Midlands

“Extremely saddened to hear the news about Kumar, Lord Bhattacharyya RIP. An icon of the British Asian community He made an enormous contribution to the West Mids not only at WMG & UK manufacturing (instrumental in bringing TATA investment to the UK) but also to the West Midlands Labour Party.”

Lucy Powell Labour MP & Co-op MP for Manchester Central

“I’m incredibly sad to hear that my friend Kumar Bhattacharyya passed away this morning. He leaves an immense legacy in industry, in academia and in his beloved West Midlands, where he brought it all together. WMG, JLR and Labour Party and all of us know he’s irreplaceable.”

Virendra Sharma Labour MP for Ealing Southall

“I want to pay tribute to Lord Bhattacharyya, he was a titan of industry, a force of nature when campaigning and a firm believer in technical education. I am thinking of his widow Bridget, and their children at this time. We have lost a great man, an international change maker.”

Iain Gray, Director Aerospace, Cranfield University

“Very sad news - he made a huge contribution towards High Value Manufacturing in the UK and his legacy will be the support to skills, training and HVM research facilities - let’s not waste the opportunities he has helped create”

Jeff Pratt, MD, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Lord Bhattacharyya, an inspiring UK-Indian engineer and pioneering educator who founded WMG. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Chris White, Director of the Institute for Industrial Strategy, King’s College London and Board Member SEUK

“Very sad to hear this news. Lord Bhattacharyya was such a towering figure in UK Manufacturing. He gave me great support and encouragement as I know he did to so many others. He will be greatly missed”

Louise Bennett OBE DL, Coventry Warwickshire Chamber

“Chamber Statement on the death of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya "We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Neil Rami, CEO of the West Midlands Growth Company

“The passing of Lord Bhattacharyya will be a huge loss to the West Midlands. His focus on the future, his ideas, vision and dedication to the region will leave an enduring legacy for the West Midlands and the UK.”

Made in the Midlands‏

“Across the Made in Group, we are saddened by the passing of Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, founder of WMG and a true driver of innovation and change in the industry. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time.”

Make UK

“Make UK is saddened at the of the passing of Lord Bhattacharyya, Britain’s first ever Professor of Manufacturing. A former graduate apprentice, he founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University. A great champion for our sector and will be sorely missed.”

India in the UK

“Saddened by the demise of Padma Bhushan Lord Bhattacharya, a leading figure in the area of excellence and innovation. Prof Bhattacharya was pivotal in forging closer relationship between India and the UK."