Tributes paid to 'charismatic' company chairman John Wall

John Wall, of Proton Power Systems, has died, aged 60, after establishing a solid reputation in the North East business community

John Wall, chairman of Proton Power Systems
John Wall, chairman of Proton Power Systems

Tributes have been paid to a well-known company chairman who died suddenly this week, aged 60.

John Wall, of the Newcastle-registered green transport company Proton Power Systems, had established a solid reputation in the business community as the head of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Newcastle corporate finance team, and has since been involved in a wide array of other projects and charity initiatives.

It understood he died overnight between June 11 and 12 following complications arising from a minor operation, leaving behind his wife, Pat, and children.

Dr Faiz Nahab, chief executive of Proton Power said: “I am very saddened by the death of John, who I worked with and knew as a friend for the past six years.

“John joined the board of Proton Power in 2006 at the time of its admission to AIM, and has been key in developing Proton Power in both executive and non-executive roles and recently as chairman of the company.

“On behalf of all at Proton, our condolences are extended to his family.”

A graduate of Newcastle University, Wall lived mainly in Beadnell, Northumberland, but also kept a flat in Newcastle.

Joining PwC in 1976, he went on to became a partner 11 years later.

While there, he created the company’s corporate finance team in Newcastle and eventually led the establishment of its national corporate finance business.

Arguably his proudest achievement before leaving in 2004, though, came when got the chance to raise the finance required for the Metro Radio Arena.

He also worked extensively on the privatisation of the bus industry.

“We were very sorry to hear of the death of John Wall and our thoughts are with Pat and his family at this difficult time,” said Bill MacLeod, senior partner at PwC in Newcastle.

“John was an ebullient and engaging character and always brimming with enthusiasm. He made a huge contribution to the growth of PwC Newcastle and in establishing our market leading position.

“After he left us, he was particularly pleased when he became a client of PwC as chairman of Proton Power and he recently persuaded me to work with him on a Princes Trust initiative, where his enthusiasm for what the Trust does with underprivileged young people was irresistible,

“He will be sadly missed.”

After leaving PwC, Wall undertook various property development and non-executive roles, including a non-executive directorship at Bond Dickinson LLP.

Moving on to Proton - which produces fuel cells and fuel cell electric hybrid vehicles - he oversaw an exciting time at the company, which has been in talks with major transport operators and is now seeking licensing partners to help roll out its products throughout the world.

Shawn Bone, founder and director of Newcastle-based Cavu Corporate Finance, who worked for John at PwC for seven years and recruited him to sit on the advisory board of Cavu, said: “John was charismatic, energetic, and had a bit of the devil in him at times - but always in a fun way.

“He was a great influencer, was always right, and would never accept no for an answer, which is why his clients loved him.

“I recall him saying tenacity was the key ingredient for anyone in corporate finance and he had it by the spade-load, but always seemed to carry it off with a swagger.

“He was able to combine being a total professional with having great fun on the journey.

“He will also be a big loss to the Princes Trust, where he was doing some great work to give kids a better start in life. Today we have lost a big character.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer