“I was always struck by his passion for his work and the depth of his thinking. But when I’m asked to reminisce, it’s his gentle wit and colourful personality that leap to the fore.”

David Runnalls, President and CEO International Institute for Sustainable Development

It is traditional in writing of this kind to describe the fallen figure as a giant. With Konrad, that was true in more ways than one. Standing 6 feet 9 inches tall, or nearly 2.1 metres, and often affecting a black opera cape, Konrad physically dominated a room like few others. In fact, one of my fondest memories of our time together came on our first trip to Beijing in 1994. Konrad had persuaded our hotel to give us two brand new, jaunty yellow bicycles so that we could cycle to Tiananmen Square. The bikes were not only yellow, with bright red writing saying Bugatti on the side, but they were also designed for rather diminutive Chinese riders.

Dressed in his grey cashmere overcoat, Konrad looked like an enormous, if rather uncomfortable, bird of prey.When we arrived at the square, the queue waiting to enter Mao’s tomb dissolved into laughter. All of the Chinese tourists waiting to view their revered leader lost the legendary discipline of the Chinese queue as they pulled out their cameras to capture this Kodak moment. I think that Konrad had his photo taken that day more frequently than did the famous guardsmen who goose step their way along the front of the square, opposite the entry to the Forbidden City.

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