Godric Bader obituary | Business

My father, Godric Bader, who has died aged 98, was a passionate advocate of common ownership in industry. Guided by his beliefs as a Quaker, he sought the complete transformation of industry, to bring about peace and justice in the world. For him, common ownership meant that businesses should be directed for the benefit of all employees, and run in accordance with clear ethical, spiritual, social and environmental values.

Godric was born in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, one of the five children of Dora (nee Scott) and Ernest Bader. His father, a Swiss émigré, had moved to the UK in 1912. He settled in east London and started in business as the sole agent for a Swiss manufacturer of celluloid. In 1926, the business expanded to the point when he acquired premises in Stratford for chemical manufacture. These premises were destroyed by bombing in 1941. The business, Scott Bader, was then moved to its present site in Wollaston, Northamptonshire.

Godric was educated at the Friends’ school, Saffron Walden, and Queen Mary College, London. He followed his father’s example in claiming exemption from wartime military service on conscientious grounds. He was sent to the west country for agricultural work, but later chose to join the Friends’ Ambulance Unit as a medical orderly.

Godric Bader and the Scott Bader Commonwealth were awarded the Gandhi Foundation international peace award in 2014
Godric Bader and the Scott Bader Commonwealth were awarded the Gandhi Foundation international peace award in 2014

Having considered and rejected a medical career, he decided to join his father in the family business as a polymer chemist. Soon he was drawn into discussions with his father concerning ownership of the company. Ernest had developed his company into a very successful enterprise, but he recognised and feared the power he had over the lives of those he employed to be “wage slaves”. This concern led Ernest and Godric in 1951 to place the ownership of the company into a new trust with a visionary constitution – the Scott Bader Commonwealth – that viewed employees as equal and vital partners in the business.

In 1956, Ernest appointed Godric managing director of Scott Bader, in which role he remained until he also assumed from his father the chairmanship of the company in 1966. This was a period in which Scott Bader was an international pioneer in the development and use of unsaturated polyester resins.

In 2014, Godric and the Scott Bader Commonwealth were jointly awarded the Gandhi Foundation’s International Peace award in recognition of their alternative business model. The centenary celebrations of Scott Bader in 2021 also marked 70 years of common ownership.

Godric was a very gentle, kind and thoughtful man. His hobbies were skiing and swimming, but his hobby horse was always around anything that would make the world a better place.

His first wife (my mother), Doreen (nee Cox), died in 2000. In 2004 he married Anne Atkinson-Clark. Godric is survived by Anne and me, and by his grandson, Harry.

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