“He could talk to anyone – from world leaders to tractor drivers and building caretakers.”
These words were given in tribute to the late 6th Duke of Westminster at his memorial service this week by the most senior manager heading up Grosvenor Estate who worked with him for more than 30 years.
Jeremy Newsum, who addressed those gathered at Chester Cathedral including the Grosvenor family, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate, said: “His most enduring contribution to the success of the estate was one he may not even have been conscious of – his concern for people, as individuals. His interest in our jobs, his frequent presence in all of our offices and workplaces around the world and the small lunches he held with younger people – these always left us inspired, reinforced by his easy light-hearted manner.
“He could talk to anyone – from world leaders to tractor drivers and building caretakers (and everyone got the same no-nonsense attitude and that loud burst of laughter) – but he was drawn to people who were straightforward and uncomplicated, virtues which chimed most strongly with his outlook on life.
“He certainly didn’t like fakes or sophistry. He liked and rewarded loyalty which he believed very strongly was a matter of giving as well as receiving.”
Mr Newsum will step down from his role as executive trustee at the end of the year, a post he has held since 1993.
A former chief executive within the group, Mr Newsum, who is mainly London-based but known across the organisation including the North West, will continue as a non-executive trustee for three years.
Current chief executive Mark Preston, who has been in post since 2008, will be promoted to executive trustee on January 1, 2017, while retaining his existing role.
The late Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster, who appointed the executive trustee in his role of chairman of the board of trustees, said of Mr Newsum’s retirement: “Jeremy and I have worked together for a long time during which a great deal has changed.
“He has been a visionary, showing that a business such as ours with a history stretching back to the 17th century can grow and thrive in the 21st century without compromising any of our values – in particular the commitment to long term thinking and integrity.”
Jeremy Newsum, who has served Grosvenor Estate over 32 years, held several industry positions during his tenure as executive trustee including being the first non-American to serve as chairman of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an organisation who acted as economic troubleshooters in coming up with an action plan for the Chester economy.