Graham Greene CBE, most recently a director of Ed Victor Ltd and a "great cultural ambassador", died on Monday (10th October), it has been confirmed by his family.
Greene was a former m.d at Jonathan Cape and chairman of Chatto, Bodley Head and Cape. He had served as president of the Publishers Association and the International Publishers Association, and as chairman of the British Museum. Prior to this he served on the board of the British Council and was chairman of the Museums and Galleries Commission for some years, and was also chairman of the GB-China Centre. He was also associated with the Sainsbury Institute in Norwich, Compton Verney and Garsington Opera.
Greene, who was on the board of Ed Victor Ltd since the founding of the company in 1976, was praised by Ed Victor as “wonderfully wise” with a “very sly sense of humour” and “a solid rock I depended on for advice”.
“He was not just my friend, he was my mentor for many years,” Victor told The Bookseller. “People don’t really remember any more the amazing contributions Graham made to the publishing business. He was the managing director of Jonathan Cape in its very dominant years in the 60s and 70s. He was the architect of the merger of Cape Chatto and Bodley Head and the sale of that group to Random House. He opened up China to copyright when he was head of the Publishers Association, a very young man, and he led the first missions to China which ended up in them becoming signatories to the Universal Copyright Convention. So he has some extraordinary achievements in publishing.
“One of his great achievements was not in publishing but as chairman of the British Museum when he was in charge of the Millennium project to rebuild the courtyard of Norman Foster and the great Dome and reading room, and he came in on time and on budget which not a lot of them did. That was a great thing. He was an extraordinary man. And I’m afraid as the passage of time goes people forget what contributions he made to our industry: they were huge contributions."
Greene's son and stepdaughter, Alexander Greene and Charlotte Horton, said: "Graham C Greene was a great cultural ambassador. His interests lay in many fields across the arts and politics. He was a kind friend and a wise mentor to a vast and varied number of people from all walks of life from all over the world. He will be missed."