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NEWS3 November 2014

Bill Pegram remembered

News UK

UK — Bill Pegram died in his sleep on Friday 10th October while on holiday in New Orleans, US.

With his passing, our community has lost a pioneering researcher, a major supporter of the Market Research Society but, most of all, a really good guy. Responses to his death illustrate the breadth of people who knew him and – whether as a friend and colleague, or as a boss – the same words reoccur time and time again: talented, enthusiastic, helpful, friendly and fun. 

Bill began his career in the early 60s with the advertising agency Lintas where he started in the Accounts Dept.  Fortunately for those of us who were to spend a good deal of time with him, almost nothing of this particular discipline appeared to have rubbed off. He then moved across to the newly created RBL which was set up to service the research needs of Unilever’s main operating companies.  Bill brought an everyday worldliness to what was then a rather academic approach to research and it was perhaps no surprise that he found himself developing the third-party side of the business, particularly in the area of leisure and alcoholic drinks.

In 1982, Bill founded Pegram Walters Associates, where he continued to set the company tone of full-on innovative research mixed with huge amounts of fun. It is testament to his leadership style that many ex-employees have commented that it was the most enjoyable place they ever worked.

After Pegram Walters, Bill worked for the newly formed Synovate, eventually leaving in 2007 to run his own consultancy.

On top of all the fun things we remember, he also pioneered the use of new research techniques in the UK such as Eye-Tracking and Real-Time Advertising Assessment.

But it was Bill’s humanity and great people-skills that most of us will remember first and foremost. He helped and encouraged an enormous number of people new to the industry to appreciate and enjoy research. He was also a great presenter, engaging with his audience on a personal level and bringing the findings alive with his insight and humour. 

Bill was always a keen sportsman and in particular an excellent cricketer. In his youth, he was on the fringe of the Essex county team and then played for many years in the Middlesex League before becoming a playing member of the MCC and a regular visitor to Lords.

Bill was unique and loved by virtually everyone he met. We will mourn him with great sorrow but he leaves us with so many happy memories and times we wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Alan Walters, Sue Chambers & Pat Dowding

@RESEARCH LIVE

9 Comments

4 years ago

As well as all that he was superb with us clients. He was the only supplier I ever met who could tell you that your ITT was rubish but made you think it was great and then you'd work out with him how it really ought to be done before adjourning for refreshment. As some one said at his funeral - one of nature's gentlemen.

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4 years ago

Very sad news indeed. I have very fond memories of working at Pegram Walters and was privileged to have known Bill.

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4 years ago

So sad ... Bill was a lovely man. I knew him both through market research and as a cricketer. I nearly joined Pegram Walters and remember several great lunches with Bill !

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4 years ago

Bill was a great friend and colleague. I remember in the seventies how all of us who worked at RBL were desperate to get into his group - not only did they research alcohol, but they had the most fun! Many years later, in 2007/8, Bill, Jay Wilson and I teamed together to build an entirely new multinational research company. We had $200 million of venture and debt capital behind us and three companies ready to be acquired. Then came the crash and our financing went away - we were extremely lucky to escape unscathed! However you knew or interacted with Bill, he was a sweet, gentle, fun and caring human being. We will all miss him dreadfully.

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4 years ago

One of my favourite ever researches. I worked with Bill early in my career and learnt an enormous amount from him. I can still remember Bills phenomenal moderating skills and seeing him have some ladies telling him what a savings account was qhwn he pretends not to know much about such things. Amazing. I have told many people this story over the tears will be greatly missed

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4 years ago

Bill was a super chap and I'm so pleased to have known him. His wife, Joan, and I were work colleagues at Allen Brady & Marsh and it was through her that I met Bill. We did some work together - he was a delightful business colleague.

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4 years ago

It was with great sadness that I have just read of Bill's untimely death in October. I had not been in touch with him for some years but, having worked with him as a consulting graphic designer, I remember him with great affection. He was always friendly, amusing and supremely professional in his business affairs. I know that he will be greatly missed.

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3 years ago

In his later years Bill worked for Pulse group. Nice guy and sad loss. Rip bill

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3 years ago

I was extremely saddened to hear about Bill's passing. Bill served as a member of my board when we brought Pulse public. He guided us with his wisdom, wit, and generosity. We had a lot of wonderful times together and he will be sorely missed. Our condolences to Bill's family. Bob

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