Michael J. Thomas


Michael J. Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Marketing at Strathclyde, died on the morning of Saturday 30 January 2010

 ARC: Connections: ELMAR: Posting

Emeritus Professor Michael Thomas OBE OM (Poland)

Michael J. Thomas died on the morning of Saturday 30 January 2010. An Emeritus Professor of Marketing at Strathclyde, it could be said that Michael did all that was expected of a professor and much more. He was a past director of the Marketing Management Division of the American Marketing Association. A past Chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, President of the Market Research Society and a member of the Institute of Export’s Professional Qualifications and Examination Board, his contribution was highly significant but that was not all. He published textbooks, he wrote journal articles and founded the journal: Marketing Intelligence and Planning. He contributed greatly to the development of marketing and to management education generally and in Poland particularly, he organised management seminars for the Solidarity Foundation while Poland was still a communist country. He then went on to help administer British Government support on a British Council/ Foreign Office committee which targeted resource under the PHARE Knowhow Fund programme for Poland at key specific projects, one of which was the Gdansk Managers’ Foundation where he helped initiate an MBA programme in partnership with the University of Strathclyde that is still continuing today although not with Strathclyde. In 1994, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Polish Order of Merit for his contribution to the economic transformation of Poland. Later, in 1999, he was awarded the OBE for his work in management education. In 2005, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by De Montfort University.

Yet he never liked simply to be called a marketer but a market researcher. The distinction of continually emphasising the importance of analysis before recommending any particular course of action was always front of mind. He had boundless energy and travelled extensively, teaching for Strathclyde in Hong Kong and Singapore. He also created overseas branches of the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Poland. He travelled extensively across Poland helping encourage and develop the spread of management education. He might best be described as an activist who enjoyed getting involved whether it was to do with the health service in Poland or the marketing of the arts in Scotland, the continuation of the paddle steamer Waverley on the River Clyde in Glasgow or development on the Isle of Bute where he had made his home.

He held Visiting Professorships at Georgetown University, Washington, USA; Indiana University, USA; University of Tennessee, USA; Syracuse University, New York, USA; Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, USA; Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; University of Malta; Karlstad University, Sweden and Helsinki School of Economics, Finland. He was interested in strategy and change, and the future of professionalism, particularly as it affects marketing but in his own inimitable style, he stated on his web page that he was developing a reputation as a post-modernist but believed only in the efficacy of ornithology as a means to saving souls!

More details can be found in the memorial website that has been created at:


A special commemorative issue [29(1)] of Marketing Intelligence and Planning the journal which Michael founded in 1983 and continued with for about 23 years, has just been published with vol. 29 issue 1. It has a strong contents list comprised of marketing luminaries including Philip Kotler, of former colleagues who had worked with him and people who had been influenced by him. You can view the contents below:

Words of a feather: confessions of a Thomas Twitcher
Stephen Brown (pp. 9 – 21)

By his works ye shall know him (Matthew 7:16)
Keith Crosier (pp. 22 – 29)

Critical vision in a challenged world
Gerard Hastings, Roger Sugden, Mark Grindle (pp. 30 – 38)] |

Marketing empowerment and exclusion in the information age
Michael Saren (pp. 39 – 48),

Marketing responsibility in an era of economic and climactic challenge
Helen Borland, Stan Paliwoda (pp. 49 – 62)

Poland: the brand
Dorota Mielewczyk, Tomasz Czuba (pp. 63 – 68)

Revisiting experiential values of shopping: consumers’ self and identity
Helen Woodruffe-Burton, Susan Wakenshaw (pp. 69 – 85)

Foreword: Philip Kotler

Guest Editorial

Michael James Thomas (1933-2010) A Appreciation
Stan Paliwoda, Keith Crosier, Maciej Rydel

The Eider’s tale
Michael J. Thomas