Blog. Remembering William Baxter CBE

October 18, 2023 | Author:

Remembering William Baxter CBE
1960 – 2023.

William Baxter CBE, who died suddenly this week, will be widely remembered as a pioneering and much-loved entrepreneur who shaped the landscape of today's foodservice sector.  

At Hospitality Action, we will remember him as a joyful and generous man, compassionate and astute, a visionary leader and a catalyst for change. 

In his 13 years as Chair of Trustees, William oversaw strong growth in charitable grant-giving, with approaching £10m awarded to beneficiaries during his tenure. Under his guidance, the charity's benevolence has touched many thousands of hospitality households. 

In particular, he was the catalyst for the development of our Employee Assistance Programme. Launched ten years ago, the programme now protects over 200,000 hospitality lives across more than 500 companies. During this time, it has delivered some 20,000 counselling sessions. 

Thanks to William's strong leadership, Hospitality Action was able to successfully navigate its way through the global pandemic and emerge from it stronger. 

Mark Lewis, CEO of Hospitality Action said:

"William’s generosity and warmth of spirit was unparalleled. He brought the same joie de vivre to his Chairing of Hospitality Action as he did to every other aspect of his life. Being around William for any length of time taught you a valuable lesson: live life to the full, and do good to others.
William was an inspiring leader, and always encouraged us to be brave and to innovate. It’s no exaggeration to say that the lives of many thousands of hospitality families have been improved as a direct result of his dedication to Hospitality Action. 

I shall miss William’s wise counsel, his wit, and his friendship. He was loved, admired and respected by everyone who met him. It was a privilege to work with him. My thoughts and love go to Fiona and the family. Rest in peace, Bill.

In June 2023 William stepped back from his role as Chair of Trustees, handing the baton to Red Carnation Hotels CEO Jonathan Raggett who said: 

“An entrepreneur, an industry standout, and a friend, who illuminated the path of inspiration for everyone he met. William’s remarkable journey extended far beyond boardrooms; he was a friend and counsel to so many, whose presence we'll sorely miss. 

During my time as a Hospitality Action Trustee, I fondly recall the sense of humour he brought to the meetings. Moreover, whilst I was honoured to take on the role of Chair of Trustees recently, after William stepped down, it is still a daunting job to come after someone who has done such fantastic work. 

His legacy is one of enduring kindness, selflessness, and a commitment to making the world a better place, serving most recently as Chairman of Scannappeal a charity supporting NHS hospitals and services in Buckinghamshire, as well as being a life patron of Springboard and a trustee of the MESV Trust. 

In honouring William’s memory, let us continue his legacy by committing our own personal support for charities close to our hearts and, above all, by being kind in our daily lives, ensuring his spirit lives on through our actions.”

The entire Hospitality Action family sends our condolences and love to William’s wife Fiona and his children Charlie, Miles, Callum and Annabelle at this terribly difficult time.