The death has taken place of Phelim O’Leary, one of the seminal figures in the market research industry over the last 40 years and one of the co-founders of Behaviours & Attitudes (B&A).
Highly respected in the market research world and well liked in the wider marketing community, O’Leary passed away suddenly earlier this week.
Paying tribute to his colleague and friend, B&A’s managing director, Luke Reaper, noted his life long commitment to the advancement of qualitative research and his love of music.
“Not a lot of people know that in his early days he was a band manger, taking care of Scullion the Irish folk rock band, and was a part time music journalist, while doing Qual as well in his spare time” says Reaper.
“Hence his wonderful tales and great stories. His love of music continued throughout his life, with a record collection that Dave Fanning would be proud of! However, research was his love and he was a truly a researchers’ researcher, who was culturally curious about people and life,” says Reaper.
“From his early days in Irish Marketing Surveys, he understood the power of excellent Qualitative research. He championed and drove Qualitative research in Ireland, becoming a leading light in the industry when he joined B&A. Qualitative research was at the time as new and mysterious as Artificial Intelligence is now. But there was nothing artificial about Phelim’s intelligence,” he adds.
Reaper also says that he was well known for his wit, charm and wordsmithing. “He was a learned sage to everyone he met,” he says.
“We have been inundated with so many lovely emails, texts and calls this week, and people have described him as; a titan, legend, trailblazer and a pioneer. All are true.”
“Phelim lived life to the full and constantly pushed the boundaries, which is a lesson to us all. But most of all he was a true gentleman. And we, and I personally, will miss him very much. Our thoughts go out to his wife Judy, and children, Hannah, Sam and Georgia,” Reaper adds.
“In true Phelim style he would want the show to go on, and so it will. Keep pushing those boundaries and be at ‘full tilt boogie’ as he would say.”