NEWS21 January 2013

Obituary: Cliff Holmes, statistics expert

News UK

UK — Cliff Holmes, a statistics expert and veteran of the UK market research industry, died last week aged 76 after a short battle with cancer.

Holmes most recently ran his own consultancy, providing advice and support in the areas of survey and sample design, advanced analysis and other statistical techniques. However, during his career he has worked for a number of different agencies including Pegram Walters, Marplan, BDL, ORC/GSR and Now Research.

After Pegram Walters was acquired by Synovate in 2001, Holmes became head of group sampling and statistics. In 2007, media research agency Essential made him a non-executive director.

David McCallum, managing partner of Gordon & McCallum, worked with Holmes at Marplan in the 1970s. He said: “In late 1977, I turned up at Marplan with an appointment to meet Cliff Holmes, looking for my first job in research. The position had gone by the time I got there but instead Cliff offered me the role of his assistant statistician, predominantly, I was later told, because I was the only candidate (at a time of high graduate unemployment) to stand up to his refreshingly frank and somewhat hectoring interviewing style.

“Over the next three years, Cliff gave me one of the best foundations any aspiring quantitative researcher could wish for in their career. As a talented and practical statistician, he passed on copious amounts of advice and guidance on the disciplines of analysis, interpretation and reporting. Of equal importance – he was then chair of the MRS’s Professional Standards Committee – he imbued in me the importance of honesty and ethics, both in dealings with clients and respondents, and in the objective and fair delivery of research findings.

“Cliff was a great boss and mentor and I have been pleased to see him recognised as a major contributor to the market research industry.”

Holmes is survived by his wife Pat and daughter Miranda. His funeral takes place on 24 January at 10am at Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium. His wake will follow at Finchley Golf Club. Donations in his name can be made to North London Hospice in lieu of flowers.