Marcus Sieff, Baron Sieff of Brimpton

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Marcus Joseph Sieff, Baron Sieff of Brimpton OBE (2 July 1913 – 23 February 2001[1]) was a British businessman and chairman of his family company, the retailer Marks & Spencer, from 1972 to 1982. He was also a leading figure in UK Zionism.[2]

Sieff was born in Didsbury, Manchester, the second son of Israel Sieff.[2] Starting work for the family company in Hammersmith, London in 1935, Sieff first visited Mandatory Palestine in 1939. He joined the Royal Artillery in the British Army at the outbreak of World War II and received an OBE in 1944 for gallant service.[3] Exiting the British Army with the rank of colonel, he returned to Marks & Spencer, but was asked in 1948 by the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, to become an adviser on transportation and supplies to the Israeli Defence ministry. Sieff joined the Israel Defense Forces and helped co-ordinate Marks & Spencer goods and finances to support the new state.[4]

Sieff returned to Britain in 1951 to take over the Marks & Spencer food department. He later became chairman of the Export Committee for Israel (1965 to 1968), honorary president of the Joint Israel Appeal, president of the Anglo-Israel chamber of commerce and Chancellor of the Weizmann Institute of Science.[2] In 1974 the British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan asked Sieff to become the UK's Ambassador to Israel, but Sieff declined.[4] Under Sieff's management the Marks & Spencer food department expanded from 14% of total sales in 1956 to over 25% in 1968. He was made a director and chairman of in 1974 and served on the board until his death. After stepping down as chairman in 1984, he became honorary life president. In retirement he was a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and the first chairman of Newspaper Publishing, the publishers of The Independent, from 1986 to 1993.[5]

Sieff was knighted in 1971[6] and was created a life peer on 14 February 1980 as Baron Sieff of Brimpton, of Brimpton in the Royal County of Berkshire.[7] Married four times, Sieff's fourth wife was a Polish widow, Lily Moretzki (née Spatz), whom he married in London in 1963. She ran most of his charitable associations and then nursed him during his final years.[8]

Arms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barker, Dennis (26 February 2001). "Guardian Obituary: Lord Sieff of Brimpton". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 February 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Sieff, Marcus Joseph farlex
  3. ^ "No. 36436". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 March 1944. p. 1362. 
  4. ^ a b Body
  5. ^ Sieff, Marcus Joseph - Hutchinson encyclopedia article about Sieff, Marcus Joseph
  6. ^ "No. 45325". The London Gazette. 19 March 1971. p. 2509. 
  7. ^ "No. 48103". The London Gazette. 19 February 1980. p. 2655. 
  8. ^ "Obituary: Lady Sieff of Brimpton". Independent, The (London). 6 March 1997.