Obituary: Calum Alexander MacLeod CBE, LLD, MA, LLB, businessman

Calum MacLeod: Former chairman of Grampian TV who helped dozens of other organisations and even found time to be a virtuoso on the piano
Calum MacLeod: Former chairman of Grampian TV who helped dozens of other organisations and even found time to be a virtuoso on the piano
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Born: 25 July, 1935, in Stornoway. Died: 27 October, 2013, in Aberdeen, aged 78

Calum MacLeod was a lucky man. He had an idyllic island upbringing, a traditional Scottish education and was surrounded by a large circle of loving family and friends. So many of us will miss his hosting skills, his sharp wit, his wicked sense of humour and his virtuosity at the piano. Playing by ear, he could conjure up any tune after hearing a few bars. Our Hogmanay parties will never be the same without him.

Born in Stornoway, a son of the manse, he was the youngest of a family of four. He went to the Nicolson Institute there before moving in 1944 to Drum, where he attended the Glenurquhart High School in Drumnadrochit and, in 1949, where he met the love of his life, Betty Davidson.

They were married in 1962 and had three children, Allan, David and Edythe, who blessed him with ten grandchildren, of whom he was intensely proud.

All the family enjoyed visiting the holiday home Dunalasdair in Uig on the Isle of Lewis and, despite his suffering from Parkinsons, which resulted in his untimely death, Calum enjoyed the golden wedding celebrations last year. It was a complete family occasion and a fitting highlight for the party animal he was.

Sport, music, travel and reading were his main hobbies and he was known to dabble in fine wines and spirits, especially on his trips with fishing friends.

Calum was a regular visitor to Pittodrie, to Murrayfield and to his golf clubs Royal Aberdeen and Nairn West. He was a member of the Royal Northern and University Club and of the Junior Chamber organisation, first being local and then national president. It was during this time that he became recognised as a talented public speaker.

Calum had a long association with the University of Aberdeen. He graduated MA in 1955, LLB in 1957 and was Chancellor’s Assessor from 1979 to 1990. His service was recognised in 1986 when he was awarded an Honorary LLD.

After graduation and a spell in the RAEC during national service, Calum joined Paull & Williamsons, became a member of the Law Society of Scotland in 1958 and was made a partner in P&W in 1964. He went on to specialise in the financial sector with Scottish Northern Investment Trust and became an expert in board management and chairmanship. He left P&W in 1980 to devote his skill and energy to the wider industrial world.

During his lengthy and distinguished career Calum was chairman, deputy chairman or occasionally acting chairman of a wide variety of companies.

These included Albyn Ltd, Grampian TV, SMG, Aberdeen Development Capital, Scottish Eastern Investment Trust, Martin Currie Portfolio Investment Trust, Lyle Shipping, F S Assurance and Britannia Building Society.

Outside company duties he chaired the IOD Scotland from 2000 to 2002 and Grampian Health Board from 1993 to 2000. Calum also found time to be an elder in Rubislaw Church in Aberdeen for many years.

His expertise spread to the field of education. He was chairman of the governors at Robert Gordon’s College, the Scottish Council of Independent Schools and he was a governor of the UHI Millennium Institute and later the University of the Highlands & Islands. He served on the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

He maintained his strong connections with the north and west of Scotland through his involvement with the Northern Board of the Bank of Scotland, the White Fish Authority, North of Scotland Hydro Electric, Macdonald Hotels, Highlands & Islands Development Board and the Harris Tweed Association. Other board memberships included Caledonian Reserves Foundation and the Bradstock Group.

Calum’s exceptional contribution to business and the world of finance was recognised by his being given several awards culminating in 1991 when he received the honour of becoming a CBE.

His all too short life was full and rewarding. He helped and enriched the lives of so many people along the way.

He will be sadly missed.

Calum MacLeod is survived by his wife Betty, sons Allan and David, daughter Edythe and ten grandchildren.