David Herbert (1944-2024) passed away at home on January 7th 2024 aged 79. He was a Governor of Pangbourne College from 2003-2016. His wife Bethan died in 2000. He left a son Simon, a daughter Karen and four grandchildren.
His daughter Karen Catlin writes: “On leaving school, David started a career at the NatWest bank in Pentre near Treorchy in the Rhondda valley, South Wales. He worked at various branches but spent most of his working life in London. Specialising in corporate lending, he retired in 1999 as Deputy Head of Corporate Credit. He then became involved in financial consultancy work.
As a consequence, he was asked by Michael Allsop, then Chairman of the Board of Governors of Pangbourne College, to do some work in the early 2000s which took about one year. By the end of this time David had become very involved in the day-to-day operations of the College. With his very broad commercial experience, he became a Governor of the College and later took over the important role of Chair of the Finance Committee. He very much enjoyed his involvement with the school. David was also a keen golfer and passionate Welsh rugby fan.”
After David died, Michael Allsop added this detail: “David's quiet arrival at Pangbourne was fundamental to supporting what we achieved for the College. Putting it in context, at the turn of the century Pangbourne's position was parlous.
By the time I became Chairman I had had long enough at the boardroom table to know what the school needed if it was to survive. From a financial perspective, the previous decade had not been kind to Pangbourne and there was much to be done to stabilise the position. We needed more pupils, we needed to rebuild the fabric of the College, we needed to vastly improve financial planning and control and we needed to improve student performance.
Sorting the financial position had to come first. We required help from independent consultants but could not afford to employ any. Time to call in a few favours! I was a banker and my employer had its own internal consultancy practice where I had worked for several years dealing with smaller clients. There I had met a chap named David Herbert. Later our paths had crossed briefly again. David by then was making a name for himself in big ticket advances control whilst I was accumulating air miles in the investment bank. We both took early retirement when it was offered, for different reasons.
In retirement David had set up a small consultancy business with a colleague. I had huge respect for David's ability in that type of operation and his fees were modest compared to what I was used to. A deal was done! His hard-hitting report on what the College's position was, and what needed to happen, was with me in short order. The Board agreed to implement his recommendations and, as they say, the rest was history.
Except that it was not. David had become very interested in Pangbourne College, its individuality and what it sought to achieve. He saw beyond the financial picture and began to share my enthusiasm for the school and my absolute determination for it to succeed. Meantime I was quietly building a new Board and he readily accepted my invitation to become a governor. Excellent news for me - and for Pangbourne.
David then served on the Board for more than 15 years with distinction, taking over from David Griffiths in the key role of Chair of the Finance Committee when David G retired. He proved to be a superb governor, complimenting other skills and disciplines around the table. Quietly spoken but with an underlying edge of steel, he presided over the College's finances with distinction until his retirement in 2016.”
Thomas Garnier, the Headmaster of Pangbourne College for most of this period, said: “I will remember David for his financial skill, the pragmatism of his contributions to Governing Body meetings, and for the support he showed to the senior staff here.”
This last point was echoed by Ron Obbard, the Bursar at the school during the Herbert era: “David was such a kind and gentle man. I became very fond of him. He so supported me when I was at the College and was always such a very fair and considerate boss. He was the one person who always looked at everything in a pragmatic way. All of us at the College were very privileged to have known him. I still vividly remember the many debates we had on the merits of Welsh rugby!”
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