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Geoff Polites honoured with scholarship

Remembered: Linda Polites (second from the right) outside Coventry University with JLR union representative Bob Nason, Coventry University vice-chancellor Madeleine Atkins and JLR CEO David Smith.

Australian-born former Jaguar CEO to be remembered with an automotive scholarship

General News logo22 Jun 2009

GEOFF Polites, the Australian-born automotive industry executive who died last year, is to be remembered with a scholarship named in his honour at Coventry University in the UK.

The Jaguar Land Rover Geoff Polites Memorial Scholarship will help three children of JLR workers to pursue careers in the automotive industry or the sporting sector – the two areas in which Mr Polites was passionate.

Mr Polites’ widow Linda attended the scholarship launch in Coventry on June 3, along with JLR chief executive officer David Smith, and also met with university vice-chancellor Madeleine Atkins to discuss the scholarship.

Three JLR-sponsored scholarships, worth £4000 ($A8220) a year, will be awarded this year, directed at courses linked to the automotive sector and sport.

The scholarships will be made available to any full-time student (UK, EU or overseas) who are children of a permanent JLR employee and are beginning their studies in September 2009 on one of the selected courses.

 center imageLeft: Geoff Polites.

Mr Polites battled cancer for two years and died at the age of 60 in April 2008, just a few weeks after concluding the sale of JLR to India’s Tata Motors.

He was president of Ford Australia from 1999 to 2004 before moving to Europe, where he was then responsible for leading Jaguar Land Rover back to profitability as chief executive from 2005 until his death.

In a 40-year automotive career, Mr Polites proved to be an inspirational leader and Jaguar engineering chief Kevin Stride said last week he made a huge impression on the company during his time in Coventry.

Mr Stride said the new scholarship was a fitting tribute to a man who was still sorely missed by the company’s employees and would long be remembered with fondness.

To mark the occasion of the scholarship announcement, JLR not only made a Jaguar XF available for display in University Square on the day but also previewed the new Land Rover Discovery 4, which will not reach British showrooms until October.

Coventry University began as a college of design in 1843, amalgamated with two local engineering and technology colleges in 1970, when it was renamed Lanchester Polytechnic in honour of legendary British automotive engineer Fred Lanchester, and officially became a university in 1992.

The university emblem is the phoenix, a mythical bird that rose from the ashes, just like the city of Coventry after being destroyed during World War 2.

Coventry University runs several automotive engineering courses, as well as specific courses in vehicle dynamics, vehicle safety and engine design.

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