Sir Alcon Copisarow, top consultant and friend to royalty, dies aged 97

Civil servant who worked with Churchill and Wilson before becoming McKinsey's first non-American partner


Sir Alcon Copisarow, the civil servant who in a long and varied career helped reorganise the Bank of England and worked with royalty and Sir Winston Churchill, has died at the age of 97.

He was born in 1920 in Moss Side, Manchester, to a family of Jewish émigrés from the Russian empire.

During the Second World War he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, before entering the civil service, where he spent two decades.

In 1966, he was tempted into the private sector, where he became the first non-American senior partner of McKinsey & Company, where he worked on projects including the re-organisation of the Bank of England, and the restructuring of the Conservative Party Central Office in 1977 at the request of then opposition leader, Margaret Thatcher.

In 2014, Sir Alcon released his memoirs, Unplanned Journey, detailing his eventful life, which included a stint working with Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson and working relationships with the Prince of Wales (Sir Alcon was a former chair of the Prince’s Trust charity), the Duke of Edinburgh and Sir Winston Churchill.

He told the Financial Times in 2014 that “being Jewish” was one of four factors contributing to his life and work, along with “being British”, his “upbringing and education”, and his “long and happy marriage” of 64 years to his wife Diana. He celebrated his second barmitzvah, at the age of 83, at the New West End Synagogue in 2003.

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