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Richard A. Pike

by Susan J. Ainsworth
October 3, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 40

Richard A. Pike, 61, former Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) chief executive, died on July 23.

Pike earned a B.A. in engineering at Downing College, Cambridge, in 1971, and a Ph.D. in engineering in 1977 from the University of Cambridge.

Pike then carved out a 25-year career at British Petroleum (BP), where he held a number of technical and commercial positions in the U.K. and in Asia. While working in Tokyo as general manager for chemicals for BP Far East, he was also appointed president of BP Chemicals, Japan, and director of Samsung-BP Chemicals, South Korea.

Upon returning to the U.K., Pike became director general of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a position he held for five years. Subsequently, he became a senior associate at Gaffney, Cline & Associates, advising on corporate strategy within the oil and gas industry.

After being named RSC chief executive in February 2006, he quickly became a leading advocate for the chemical sciences through a sustained media campaign. In addition, Pike worked toward raising standards in education, questioning whether exam boards challenged British pupils enough, while simultaneously highlighting the important role chemical scientists played in the health and well-being of the nation.

Under Pike’s leadership, RSC raised its membership to a record high of more than 47,500 and launched 10 new journal titles. Pike also aided in the opening of new offices in China, India, Japan, and the U.S. He stepped down as RSC’s chief executive in February of this year.

Pike is survived by his wife, Fiona, and three children.

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