William Rootes - the first Lord Rootes, was Chairman of Rootes Motors Limited until his death in December 1964.
His lifetime spanned that of the industry itself and he had taken an active and prominent part in nearly every stage of its growth.
As a small boy, he had observed its infancy from his father's cycle and motor engineering business in rural Kent. As a young man he became, during the industry's formative years, one of its most successful salesmen.
In the years of maturity, he played an historic role in its development as the creator - in partnership with his brother, Sir Reginald Rootes - of one of Britain's major motor manufacturing groups.
As the manufacturer of the original Hillman Minx, he fathered a classic model which was among the first medium-sized cars to bring inexpensive and economical family motoring to Britain.
As a pioneer car exporter, his efforts led to great prosperity for the industry and a huge source of revenue for the national economy.
During the War, he took on additional responsibilities such as the leadership of the Aero Engine Committee of the Aircraft Shadow Industry in the desperate days of 1940. In peace-time he was a tireless international ambassador for British Trade and also found time to make his impact felt in spheres as far apart as agriculture and education.
He was knighted in 1942 and created Baron Rootes of Ramsbury in 1951.
Upon his death, his elder son, Geoffrey Rootes, succeeded to the title and is now Chairman of the Company.
Sir Reginald Rootes was Chairman of the Company until his retirement at the age of 70 in 1967.