ISO (International Organization for Standardization) today announced the passing away of Michael Smith, Secretary of the ISO Technical Management Board (TMB), who had dedicated 32 years' service to the organization.

Mike Smith

"Mike" as he was affectionately known to his colleagues at ISO Central Secretariat (ISO/CS) in Geneva, Switzerland, and many hundreds of standards developers worldwide, died suddenly on Sunday, 25 September 2011, in New Delhi, India, where he had been attending a meeting of the TMB and ISO's 34th General Assembly.

ISO Secretary-General, Rob Steele, issued the following statement to ISO/CS colleagues from New Delhi today: "I am so sorry to tell you that last evening Mike Smith, our dear colleague and friend, passed away as a result of a heart attack, suffered here in New Delhi.

"This loss is especially hard to bear as Mike, having worked for the entire lifetime of the ISO Technical Management Board, had recently announced that he would retire later this year as Secretary of the TMB after a long and distinguished career at ISO.

"Mike has been involved from the start as an integral and key part of the TMB and a number of special TMB events have been held in the last week in New Delhi to honour Mike’s achievements. A farewell was also planned for him for the ISO/CS in November.

"Certainly the events held earlier this week in New Delhi to celebrate him were typically 'Mike' with lots of fond memories, tales of events and issues and of the work of the TMB that Mike has been so intimately involved in and with lots of humour and above all respect for what Mike has achieved. And it was not only in the TMB that Mike was honoured but also in the ISO General Assembly where all delegates applauded Mike’s work to help to make ISO what it is today.

"ISO has lost a great person, one who acted with deep knowledge of ISO and what it meant to be part of an organization that can, and is, making a difference in the world. But more importantly, we have lost a man who had integrity, respect and a wonderful sense of the reality and the humour of the world. We will all miss him.    

"ISO is working to support Mike’s partner and family to the maximum extent both in New Delhi and directly from the ISO Central Secretariat."

On Monday, 19 September, Mike Smith's TMB colleagues had presented him with a souvenir book of personal messages and photos. The ISO Secretary-General contributed an introduction and tribute to the book, from which the following extract is taken:

"This book of messages is dedicated to Mike Smith, Secretary of the ISO Technical Management Board, who is retiring from ISO after 32 years of dedicated service.

"Mike Smith was the TMB Secretary since its inception in 1994, during which his exemplary leadership qualities in an international environment were most valued. He helped build a strong team within the ISO Central Secretariat and brought out the best in those he led.

"During his tenure, Mike witnessed several dramatic changes and developments in the ISO standards development processes. Mike's conflict resolution skills were second to none and he played a key role in guiding committees and ensuring coherence within the technical community. He played a major role in overseeing numerous improvements, including in the development of standards, the ISO Chairs' conferences, and ISO business plans. In addition, Mike was instrumental in contributing to the launch of some of the most well-known ISO standards, including ISO 9000, ISO 14000 and ISO 26000.

"Without a doubt, Mike's extensive knowledge of ISO and of the standards business makes him a pivotal force in standardization. He is arguably one of the most knowledgeable people of the ISO community and its inner workings. Ask Mike anything and he will tell you the date, the people involved and the applicable sections of the ISO/IEC Directives. His colleagues fondly refer to him as the 'Wikipedia of the TMB' – and often rely on his profound knowledge and wealth of experience.

"Mike is a great champion of ISO and its growth, and his dedication to the ISO vision has been unfailing. To put it simply, Mike went 'beyond the call of duty' with his time, energy and commitment. His legacy will live on…"