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Electrosonic Co-Founder and Audiovisual Icon Robert Simpson Passes Away at 82

Electrosonic, Robert Simpson
(Image credit: Electrosonic)

It is with great sadness that Electrosonic (opens in new tab) announced that co-founder, Robert Simpson passed away peacefully at the age of 82. Mr. Simpson, who went by Bob, was an innovator and an industry icon who dedicated his professional life to understanding and expanding the audiovisual industry through a vision to invent and use technology in creative ways to build lasting experiences where people live, work and play. 

The world has lost a visionary and a kind and thoughtful man. Simpson shaped and formed what has become the contemporary audiovisual and experiential technology industry; it’s now commonplace to expect jaw-dropping, large-scale, and complex audiovisual installations in theme parks, museums, corporate campuses, and cultural landmarks, but that wasn’t always the case. There always has to be a first to do something extraordinary and Simpson was the pioneer that took the first step. 

Electrosonic, Robert Simpson

(Image credit: Electrosonic)

“It is heartbreaking to have heard the news this week," commented Ewan Smith, Electrosonic’s global president and managing director. "My heartfelt condolences to Bob’s family and his loved ones and to every individual that had the privilege to meet, to grab a drink with, or if you’re lucky enough, to work with Bob. We have lost such an incredible soul and an icon in the industry.”

Simpson co-founded Electrosonic on March 3, 1964, alongside Denis Naisbitt and Michael Ray. Electrosonic’s origins were humble and the three co-founders very first office consisted of two unfurnished rooms above a potato stall in the Greenwich Vegetable Market. With the leadership of Simpson, Electrosonic grew exponentially to become a global powerhouse and go-to technology advisor for the world’s biggest theme parks, entertainment figures and Fortune 500 organizations with offices in the UK, U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Asia. From its inception up until 2004, Simpson served as Chairman of Electrosonic and from 2005-2015 served as a director of and advisor to the international Electrosonic Group up until his retirement in 2016. 

“Of all the people I have known, Bob, through his ability to combine deep professionalism with such a good sense of what it means to be a human being, has had a special position in my life as a valued person to look up to,” said Philip Aminoff, chairman of Helvar Merca Oy Ab (the ownership group of Electrosonic).

To complement his massive contributions to Electrosonic, Simpson was an industry figure, publishing several books including "Videowalls—The Book of the Big Electronic Image" and "Lighting Control—Technology and Applications" as well as "Electrosonic—50 Years on the Audio-Visual Front Line." These many contributions to the industry led to his inclusion as a life member to the SMPTE, a fellow of the BKSTS, being awarded the InfoComm Distinguished Achievement award, and in 2017 awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the audiovisual industry. 

Through his work, leadership, and efforts to advance Electrosonic and the audiovisual industry, Simpson touched the lives of thousands of people around the world. His legacy, influence, and inspiration will forever be felt with his Electrosonic family and beyond.

The AVNetwork staff are storytellers focused on the professional audiovisual and technology industry. Their mission is to keep readers up-to-date on the latest AV/IT industry and product news, emerging trends, and inspiring installations.