Charles Orr Stanley

Charles Orr Stanley was born in Ireland in 1899.

In 1923 C.O. started a publicity company called Arks Publicity and worked for both W.G. Pye and Mullard.

In 1926 he recognised the potential of radio and started a business selling kits to make a radio receiver at home.

In 1928 Philips, the Dutch electronics company bought the business of Captain Stanley Mullard who made valves which were used by Pye.

C.O then took an interest in Pye and suggested that Philips buy the W.G. Pye instrument and radio business. W.G Pye refused but eventually he asked C.O. to broker a deal whereby Philips would buy the radio part of Pye for £60,000.

C.O. asked Philips for £5,000 commission for himself. Philips baulked at the idea of commission, so C.O. offered to buy the Pye radio business himself for £60,000 with a down payment of £5,000.

At the time, C.O. did not have £5,000 but showed the Pye Model 25 portable to his bank and persuaded Barclays to grant him a loan to buy the Pye radio activity. Later in 1928, C.O. launched Pye Radio Ltd as a public company, enabling him to pay W.G. Pye out of the share proceeds, while he acquired a personal controlling interest via his own shareholding.

By 1933 Pye was producing more than 40,000 radio sets per year.

He was a free enterprise activist, and was a thorn in the flesh of the establishment throughout the 1950s. He agitated for commercial television as a Director of ATV, and by 1965, he was involved in 109 companies.

‘CO’ led the Pye Group for 35 years, transforming a small specialist radio manufacturer into the UK’s biggest electronics company with a global presence.

In May 1966 C.O. Stanley was forced to resign as Chairman by something close to a “palace revolution” by the board of management.