A NORTH Yorkshire businessman who was instrumental in the development of Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre has died.
Charles McCarthy, who died on New Year’s Eve, founded McCain Foods’ UK business and was chairman for 32 years.
Known as Mac, he was heavily involved in the redevelopment of the Stephen Joseph Theatre alongside Sir Alan Ayckbourn and the late Lord Downe, and chaired its board for many years.
Nick Vermont, regional chief executive of McCain GB, said he started the company from an office above his garage in Grimsby, retiring in December 1997 just before his 70th birthday.
“In the 32 years he led the GB business he was the driving force behind one of the most successful businesses in the McCain Group and the UK frozen food industry.”
Mr McCarthy was also a director of the global company board and numerous committees and boards within the wider frozen food and potato industries. He was awarded the CBE for his contribution to the industry in 1993.
Mr Vermont said: “As well as the fantastic business results Mac achieved, he will be remembered as much for the way in which he conducted his business, his boundless drive, energy and determination, a tough negotiator but with absolute integrity, the firmest of handshakes and a big smile. Mac played a vital role in building and living the culture and values that still makes McCain such a special place to work.
“Our thoughts are with his widow Sheila and family.”
Sir Alan said without Charles McCarthy the Stephen Joseph Theatre in its current form would not exist.
He said: “His characteristic drive and determination drove the project through from start to finish. An astute, tough businessman, but at the same time a caring family man and generous friend, I believe he delighted in the cut and thrust of the real-life commercial arena almost equally as much as he did the make-believe magic of the arts world.”
Richard Grunwell, chairman of Scarborough Theatre Trust, said: “Mac McCarthy was a man who had colossal influence on Scarborough life.
“As head of the biggest employer, he used his position, his time and his talents to improve the lives of Scarborough people in so many ways.
“He was a man without whom Scarborough would have been substantially the poorer.”