On behalf of the Emerald Group & the Family of Dr Keith Howard OBE
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr Keith Howard OBE, Emerald’s founder and owner, who died peacefully at home at the age of 89. Throughout both his academic and publishing career, Keith was an inspirational, respected and committed leader, and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
After a stellar career in both academia and industry, Keith formed Emerald back in 1967 with a group of academic colleagues from the University of Bradford. Famously dissatisfied with the publishing outlets available to management academics at the time, they acquired Emerald’s first journal, Management Decision, for just £1. Since that time, the Emerald portfolio has grown to over 350 journals, alongside a thriving books and cases programme. From modest roots in Bradford, Emerald has also grown into a global business with over 450 colleagues across the Group and across all parts of the world. All of this is testament to Keith’s leadership, guidance, and appetite for both trying something new and being close to our communities.
From the very early days of the business, Keith always held a firm belief that Emerald had an opportunity to enable the body of management research to grow and make an applied, real impact in the world. That remains our philosophy to this day, a purpose that unites our colleagues globally and creates a real passion and drive within our employees. In 2015, this philosophy was further brought to life with the first of three acquisitions which now form Emerald Works, the Group's Corporate Learning arm, seeking to bridge the gap between research and practice.
Keith was also a key part of the local community, widely recognised as a philanthropist and great supporter of the arts and sport. Though he was ever modest, he was honoured to be presented with a Medal for Arts Philanthropy by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2009; and in 2011 the Queen awarded Keith an OBE for services to business, sport and the arts in West Yorkshire. Opera North’s famous Howard Assembly Room was named in honour of Keith, and he has also been a key contributor to major development works underway at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. Equally, both through the Emerald Foundation (Emerald's charitable arm) and personally, Keith was a strong supporter of Yorkshire Cricket, and the Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Clubs.
Keith was delighted to be able to celebrate Emerald’s 50th anniversary in 2017; to look back as well as look forward. He stepped down as Chairman of the Emerald Group at the end of 2017, but he remained on the Board and was a regular and welcome presence in the office. Known and loved for his sharp wit, dry sense of humour, and absolute commitment to the business and all its employees, Keith will be much missed by the whole Emerald family.