A personal tribute from Sir Stephen Brown, Joint President of the BKS

Written by: Stephen Brown  |  Posted on: October 25th, 2020

Dr Robert Hawley CBE FREng FRSE:

Life Member British Korean Society


We learned with sadness that Dr Robert Hawley CBE FREng FRSE passed away on 11 October.


Dr Hawley will be well known to all members of the British Korean Society following his long association which started with the Anglo Korean Society. Bob was Chairman for 5 years to 2007 when he became Joint President, a role he held for 10 years.


As Chairman of the Society he was active in promoting closer understanding between the British and Korean people. He kept the Society viable and relevant. His efforts were recognised by a succession of ambassadors to the UK from the Republic of Korea as well as the many friends of Korea living in the UK.


I first encountered Bob when I was appointed HM Ambassador to Seoul in 1997. At that time, he Co-Chaired “Partnership Korea”, a body created by the Department of Trade & Industry to promote trade and investment with the Republic of Korea.


He was a frequent visitor to Korea to chair business meetings, seminars and conferences. He was active in putting British and Korean business leaders together in an environment where business could be done. He was highly regarded and respected by his Korean interlocutors because of his impressive record as a British business leader and his high profile, particularly in the power engineering sector.


His role encompassed meeting and hosting delegations of senior Korean business leaders to UK and in advising the British government. He played an important part in building mutual trust and confidence and undoubtedly contributed to increased commercial ties. He remained a powerful advocate for targeted government assistance for trade promotion and inward investment.


No tribute to Bob would be complete without acknowledging his passion for engineering; not just as a practitioner but as also an advocate. You could never spend long in Bob’s company without him extolling the virtues of engineering as a discipline and its contribution to human progress. He was awarded a CBE in 1987 for services to industry and to engineering. He was an acknowledged international expert on power generation, energy and the environment.


As we remember and thank Bob for his contribution to UK-Korea relations we also remember his wider contribution in his chosen profession.


We send our deepest condolences to Pamela and the family.


Sir Stephen Brown

Joint President

British Korean Society

2 Responses

  1. Jeremy Lock says:

    Very sad to hear the news, I worked directly for Dr Hawley for 20 months during the privatisation of Nuclear Electric and creation of British Energy plc, the successor public nuclear utility. Have fond memories of the helping research and create his presidential address to the Institution of Electrical Engineers and accompanying him on the many test runs o the speech around the UK. Those were heady days where every challenge was taken on with relish and I had to admire his work ethic. The era of true Captains of Industry of which Dr Hawley was certainly one. My condolences to his family.

  2. Jeremy Lock says:

    To add it was in this period that Dr Hawley was appointed by the UK DTI to lead a new initiative ‘Parnership Korea’ which was also one of the ex-curricula activities myself, and my colleagues Val Martell and Nigel Knee helped coordinate on his behalf.

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