The Directory of Social Change has paid tribute to its former long-serving finance director, who has died after a long illness.
Satinder Pujji worked for the training and publishing charity between 2002 and 2016, when he was forced to step down by ill health.
He died on Sunday at St John’s Wood Hospice in London, surrounded by his family and holding his son’s hand at the time. He was in his late sixties.
Before joining the DSC, Pujji worked for the Tower of London and prior to that for a large international private sector firm, including some time working in the US.
A statement on the DSC website said that, without Pujji’s expertise, the charity might not have survived.
“Not only was he a top-class, experienced accountant who knew the rules and regulations inside and out, but he also had that quality of seasoned, calm judgement about DSC’s business which was such a rock for the rest of the managers, staff and trustees,” the statement said. “We relied on his professional acumen hugely.”
The charity said it would do him a disservice to speak only about his skills.
“He was dedicated, empathetic, playful, humorous and even cheeky. He could be the life of the party – after our awards ceremonies, on staff awaydays, or at our Christmas buffet dinner get-togethers.
“We will remember fondly how he danced with us at his sixtieth birthday party, sharing the celebration with people he called his family.”
The DSC said Pujji helped to develop many younger staff who learned from his decades of experience, and was a mentor, coach and teacher all in one.
“His calm advice and counsel coached many a manager through some tricky spots,” the charity said.
Debra Allcock Tyler, chief executive of the DSC, said Pujji was close to his father, Mahinder Singh Pujji, who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Second World War and died in 2010 at the age of 92.
“His father was also a good friend to DSC and used to send Satinder with gifts for me every time he came back from India,” she said. “Satinder and I both smoked at the time and if the gifts were cigarettes Satinder used to pretend he’d given them to me but keep them for himself!
“When Mahinder asked Debra why she hadn’t thanked him for the cigarettes the truth was discovered! It was very, very funny!”
Pujji is survived by his wife, two children, and a sister.