In a statement, the Glasgow-based financial mutual said: “For over 30 years, Jim has been at the heart of the society’s journey and in that time his passion for our mutual life office had shown no end.
“Jim had devoted the best part of his career to strengthening, guiding and driving forward Scottish Friendly.
“Being a leader naturally endowed with wisdom, focus, purpose and ambition, Jim laid those foundations by building an experienced leadership team; dedicated to maintaining his historic vision for the mutual. Jim’s presence, dry humour and friendship will be sorely missed by everyone.”
Martin Pringle, acting chief executive, said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone in Scottish Friendly. Jim led this historic organisation with passion and vision, and he will be greatly missed by everyone.
“No one wants to take over an organisation in such circumstances but, having worked closely with Jim over the years, together with everyone in Scottish Friendly I will continue to take the society forward and ensure that Jim Galbraith would be proud of us all.”
Commercial director Neil Lovatt said: “Jim was my friend, and a great friend to so many in Scottish Friendly. We were lucky to have him in our life office.
“He believed fundamentally in the mutual ethos of Scottish Friendly and had a keen sense of its heritage and historic mission. To that end he built an incredibly deep and strong team committed to our vision and dedicated to continuing Scottish Friendly’s successful strategy.
“It is for us, the employees of Scottish Friendly, to honour his faith in us and continue to deliver for our current and future members.”
David Huntley, chairman of Scottish Friendly, said: “This is, understandably, a terrible shock for all of us at Scottish Friendly and our thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s family at this difficult time. We are also providing support to our staff, many of whom have known Jim for a significant amount of time.
“The board has appointed Martin Pringle into the role of acting CEO.”