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‘Inspirational’ motor industry leader Jim Tyrrell dies, aged 60

Tributes have been paid to SsangYong Motor UK executive chairman and former Mitsubishi Motor UK managing director and chairman Jim Tyrrell

SsangYong Motor UK executive chairman and former Mitsubishi Motor UK managing director and chairman Jim Tyrrell has died suddenly at the age of 60.

AM understands that Tyrrell, who also spent almost 15 years at Ford Motor Company in an extensive career in the UK, dies from a suspected heart attack at his home in France on Saturday (June 11).

A statement issued by SsangYong Motor UK said: “We are very sad to hear of the unexpected passing of Jim Tyrrell. Our condolences go out to his partner, Julia, and children, Katie and Anna.”

Katie Tyrrell responded to tributes paid from across the automotive sector this week, simply stating that her father had been “the most outstanding dad I could have ever wished for”.

Outside automotive, Tyrrell was a keen fan of Gloucester RugbyFormer Mitsubishi Motors UK managing director Lance Bradley, now the chief executive at Gloucester Rugby – of which Tyrrell was a lifelong fan – described the news of his sudden death as “unbelievably sad”.

Bradley, who joined Tyrell at Mitsubishi during a period that transformed the Japanese car brand’s UK fortunes, said: “I’d known Jim for 33 years; he was my second boss at Ford, two months into my career. I followed him to Mitsubishi, and learned pretty much everything I knew about the auto industry and leadership from him.”

Tyrell left Mitsubishi in 2009 and worked for Paisley-based car retailer Phoenix Car Company prior to its acquisition by Arnold Clark.

He joined Ssangyong Motor UK as executive chairman following Paul Williams’ 2019 resignation as chief executive.

Earlier this month AM reported that the SsangYong Motor UK business – operated by UK importer Bassadone Automotive – had hailed its return to profitability after seven years of losses as a “major milestone” in a year of restricted new car supplies and continued COVID-19 disruption.

It delivered an 18.6% rise in turnover to £44.2 million and turned around a £4.7m pre-tax loss in 2020 to deliver a £506,000 profit in the 12-month period to December 31, 2021.

Bradley said: “He was a truly inspirational figure. His love of Gloucester Rugby was immense. He’s going to be hugely missed by everyone who knew him.

“Our thoughts go out to his partner and especially his two daughters.”

Taking to LinkedIn to pay his respects, Marshall Motor Group group commercial director Adrian Wallington said: “Jim was always incredibly supportive, a true loss to our industry.”

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