Obituary: David Ball, 56

TRIBUTES have been paid to David Ball, a financial services IT expert, who was tragically killed in a skydiving accident at the age of 56.

He was hailed by friends as “utterly brilliant” in his professional life and as someone who “lived every day as if it was his last”.

Educated at Stewart’s Melville College, David later graduated with a degree in economics and accounting from Edinburgh University in 1979.

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He was an excellent student, despite suffering from a degenerative eye disorder, and was known for taping lectures and then painstakingly transcribing them in the evening.

Always aware of the latest trends, David made rapid progress after joining Ernst and Young as a graduate and quickly became a chartered accountant with specialist expertise in banking, manufacturing, brewing and insurance. He was among the first to recognise the impact that information technology would have on the growth of the global financial services industry.

Later, as chief manager of Bank of Scotland’s direct mortgaging operations, David’s vision was key to his success in setting up the company’s e-commerce department.

His introduction of digital technology to increase efficiency was quickly recognised and, in 1994, he was appointed head of IT at the bank’s corporate division.

The challenges he faced multiplied following the bank’s merger with Halifax in 2001 to create HBOS.

In 2007, when the position of head of group technology for HBOS (Europe) became vacant, he was chosen for what was one of the biggest IT roles in UK banking.

David never lost his thirst for new challenges and, shortly before his death, he set up his own company – DCB Consulting – and was employed by the Co-operative Bank as a member of the team overseeing the acquisition of branches put up for sale by Lloyds.

Although dedicated to his career, David was known by those around him as down-to-earth and a “people person”.

He married his wife, Ruth, a hairdresser, in 1982 and the couple raised three children – sons Elliot and Oscar, and daughter Rowan.

Known for stocking up on Pot Noodles when travelling to India, he also pursued his private interests as passionately as his career.

An “adrenaline junkie”, David enjoyed hobbies ranging from golf and motorcycling to skiing, scuba-diving and hang gliding. He was also an experienced skydiver and is understood to have completed between 50 and 100 jumps.

Those who knew David described him as “one of the nicest guys around”.

One friend, who did not want to be named, said: “He was a great friend to so many people. He was an adrenaline junkie and he loved his boy toys. But he wasn’t a risk-taker. He was very careful.”