Ron Thomas, the second managing director at Manx Telecom, has died at the age of 82.

Mr Thomas came to the Isle of Man in 1991 for his role at Manx Telecom and has had a real impact on the island since his arrival.

Originally from Wales, Mr Thomas had 30 years of experience in the telecoms industry before he moved to the island.

He was brought over in 1991 and held his position until his retirement in 1999.

Chris Hall, non-executive director of Manx Telecom, was recruited in the late 90s by Ron.

Mr Hall said: ‘In his time it was very traditional, the main focus was on fixed mobile, but it was Ron who realised the internet was going to dominate the industry.

‘As such, he recruited me to lead a small team who launched broadband services,, and we built Manx Telecom’s first data services.

Mr Hall added: ‘He was a good leader, and an absolute gentleman. I also am personally very grateful because he brought me to the Isle of Man.’

Mike Lounde, who was chief technical officer at the time, said: ‘He is fondly remembered by those who worked with him.’

Gary Lamb, chief executive officer at Manx Telecom, said: ‘Ron was a popular chief executive officer, and long-serving members of staff here remember him well. We send our condolences to his family.

‘He was at the helm during an important period for Manx Telecom when we achieved key milestones such as the launch of the island’s first mobile network in 1996.

‘With the Isle of Man Government, Ron and his teams created the Manx Telecom Computer Bus, a ground-breaking way to bring new technology within the reach of all Manx schoolchildren.

‘At the launch of the Computer Bus 1998, Ron commented that the development of communications technology was advancing rapidly, and its applications were becoming an integral part of everyday life, today, Ron’s keen observation is pertinent.’

Mr Thomas was also president of the Chamber of Commerce for some time and non-executive director at Isle of Man Newspapers, now Media Isle of Man.

Mr Hall said: ‘He was a staunch supporter of the Chamber of Commerce and of the local business community.

‘He was keen to grow the island, and saw great opportunity for the island to become an e-commerce hub in attracting new businesses.

Trudi Williamson, deputy chairman of Media Isle of Man, said: ‘I always appreciated his good counsel, calm personality and tremendous knowledge.

‘He was a great personal mentor to me as well as a strong independent non-executive director to the board.

‘We all remember him fondly as a fine gentleman and great family man.

Ron met his wife Coral at school, and at the age of 16 they were in a relationship.

Last year they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

His wife Coral said: ‘He loved the Isle of Man, he enjoyed the community and did a lot of things in the island.’