Tim Rix, 1934-2012

November 29, 2012

One of the UK's leading academic publishers has died.

Tim Rix was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire on 4 January 1934 and educated at Radley College. After national service in the Royal Navy, he studied at Clare College, Cambridge (1954-57) and, as a Mellon fellow, at Yale University (1957-58). He then joined Longmans, Green & Co and embarked on a distinguished career in educational and academic publishing. He was acclaimed as "one of the most widely respected and successful publishers of his generation" by the Publishers' Association and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1997.

Over more than three decades at what became Longman, Mr Rix worked as publishing manager for the Far East and South East Asia (1961-63) and head of English-language teaching publishing (1964-68) before beginning his rapid ascent up the ranks as a director (1968) and then joint managing director (1972). He was chief executive from 1976 to 1990, when Longman was the UK's largest educational publisher.

He was also chairman of Longman (1984-90), a director of Pearson Longman Ltd (1979-83) and president of the Publishers' Association (1981-83). English-language teaching remained a particular passion, representing around a quarter of Longman's turnover by the 1980s, and Mr Rix was delighted to be able to publish landmark works such as A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985) by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik.

Even while still at Longman, he was a board member of Yale University Press (1984-2009). He went on to a similar role at Oxford University Press (1992-2002) and became chair of Edinburgh University Press (2001-07).

Along with positions on the Arts Council Literature Panel, the development committee of what is now Oxford Brookes University and the Health Education Authority, he also served on the boards of Book Aid International, the British Council and the British Library.

Timothy Wright, chief executive of Edinburgh University Press, described Mr Rix as "an inspiration" who made "a huge impression" on him when he joined Longman as a lowly sales manager in his mid-twenties.

"Tim had a fantastic memory", he recalled, "and was a great supporter of the young in publishing. He had no airs. Whoever you were he remembered you and what you did.

"Tim was very passionate about university press publishing and about its editorial independence. He didn't ignore the bottom line, but he believed the engine room of such publishing should always be the propagation of knowledge and publication of scholarly information."

Mr Rix died of an aneurysm on 8 November and is survived by his wife Gillian and three children.


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