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UK ac pioneer Roy Holden dies

Roy-Holden-advert
An advert published prior to the 1986 HEVAC exhibition perfectly illustrates Roy’s hands-on approach to the business

UK: Roy Holden, former md and founder of pioneering British manufacturer IMI Air Conditioning, passed away on January 16.

Roy founded IMI Air Conditioning as part of IMI plc in the early 1970s. An entrepreneurial figure with a legendary, quirky enthusiasm, he blended a keen eye for innovation with an acute understanding of engineering principles.

In the days before competition from the Far East swept away many of the UK unitary ac manufacturers, it was brands like IMI’s Marstair which led the way in innovation. They were among the first with cassette units and IMI was the first to include condensate pumps as standard.

It was under Roy’s leadership that IMI attained a dominant position in the UK with a 30% share of the packaged air conditioning market.

He retired in 1992 but is still fondly remembered as one of the UK industry’s greatest and most influential characters by former colleagues, distributors and customers alike.

IMI Air Conditioning was the subject of a management buy-in buy-out in 2003. The company changed its name to TEV but still operates from the same site in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. A notice on the company’s website announced: “It is with great sadness that we have learnt that our founding Managing Director, Roy Holden, passed away on Friday 16th January after a long illness. He will be remembered with great fondness by all who knew and worked with him. The staff and directors of TEV Ltd send their condolences and their thoughts are with Roy’s family at this difficult time.”

Roy’s funeral is being held at St Oswald’s Church, Collingham, Wetherby, West Yorkshire on Monday February 9 at 2.00pm. The family have asked for no flowers but anyone wishing to make a donation should make it to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Roy (far left) conducts a tour of the IMI factory.  (Photo kindly supplied by Steve Glover of the Air Conditioning Agency)
Roy (far left) conducts a tour of the IMI factory.
(Photo kindly supplied by Steve Glover of the Air Conditioning Agency)

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