Stokes was born in 1914 and became a student apprentice at Leyland in 1930.
After World War II, he became the head of the company's export efforts and won large contracts, including the sale of buses to Cuba.
He was trained as an engineer and became chairman of the Leyland board in 1967. The company then expanded with purchases that included Rover, another British automaker.
Leyland merged with British Motor Corporation which then produced Leyland, Rover, Jaguar, and Standard-Triumph brands. Stokes resigned from the company in 1975 and the company was then split up and sold off.