A eulogy to Les Hayman from Martin Metcalf, CEO of Basis Technologies:
Les Hayman, the Chairman of Basis Technologies, passed away suddenly on Sunday 5th September 2017 at the age of 72, an enormous loss for everyone close to him and for those who had the good fortune to meet him. Les was still a young man and it's ironic because the first advice he gave me when we first worked together some 14 years ago was, "once you get to my age there are three important things you must remember...". Les was the age I am today when we first worked together and it was immediately obvious to me that I was working with a multi-talented raconteur.
This was to be the first of many stories and amusing anecdotes he shared with me over the years. Sometimes the same story more than once, but who was counting when the person telling the story was one of the worlds greatest communicators who captivated all those around him no matter where or what social status or background? Presidents of nations and corporations, professors and philosophers, a team of charity workers, an individual he met for the first time on his travels - Les transcended social class, religion and race. His intelligence shone through his gift of communication and on top of all that, he had a natural paternal love which underpinned everything he strived to achieve. This in my humble opinion made him a true leader of people. I thank him for sharing his valuable time and his wisdom over the years, he was always there if I needed him and always a joke to tell to lift the occasional gloomy moment or to dissolve occasional prejudices.
Les had many loves in his life: his family, friends, observing and commenting on the good and the hypocritical in the world, French food and wine, the people he chose to work with, telling a crude joke as only he could, but his one true love, his soul mate and beautiful wife is Victoria Hayman. You only needed to have spent a short time with them together to feel the completeness of their relationship. Our thoughts and love are with Victoria during these difficult times.
"Never walk past a toilet" was the first important thing I had to remember. Wow, I thought. A big cheese in a big corporation, who must be ancient (58 and the biggest eyebrows in the business as it turned out) just started to share his medical issues with me. The first of many similar medical tales over time, I might add. Les enjoyed the fact he'd laughed death in the face ten years earlier and wasn't shy with sharing that victory with those close to him.
"The second important thing to remember is never trust a fart." I'm now feeling ever so slightly awkward but that cheeky smile said don't worry, this is going to be funny. I was relieved that my new boss in this big German corporation was not only human but also had a sense of humour. I can't explain the relief I felt that such an efficient machine, run by even more efficient people, actually had the good sense to promote a person with this much humility, humour and presence, to its board of directors.
"The third thing to remember is never waste an erection." Boom, big laughs, tension gone, ears open, mind open, ready to learn. Isn't that just a massive superpower to have? Les had this power in spades.
Board meetings will never be the same again. Our company will never be the same again. He leaves us richer people through his mentoring and he leaves us with the notion we can achieve much greater things. In his memory we will strive to achieve our fuller potential.
We will miss Les enormously and will always remember him with fondness, respect and much love.
Martin Metcalf and the team at Basis Technologies.