Obituary: Ian Brown, former chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, 66

Ian Brown, the former chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, has died, aged 66.

Born in Hawick, Mr Brown attended the local high school prior to joining the police force, in 1961, as a cadet. Having served four years as a cadet, he qualified as a constable and was assigned to the beat in the towns of Melrose, Jedburgh and Galashiels. Later he was appointed to patrol car duty in the Borders. However, after serving 11 years as a police officer, he decided that a lifetime in the force was not for him and in 1972 he was appointed road safety officer for Durham County.

After a two-year spell in that post, he returned to Scotland where he took up appointments with both the Road Haulage Association and Transport Action Scotland, the Scottish campaigning organisation of the British Road Federation.

In this role, he achieved considerable success in promoting campaigns for better road transport. These included the need for a bypass around Edinburgh – the route that was eventually built – and in making the case for improved routes to the north to serve the expanding North Sea oil industry off Aberdeen.

In 1985, he was appointed chief executive of the Scotch Quality Beef and Lamb Association. His duties included many promotional trade missions abroad, including Europe and the Far East.


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Representing the interests of business at home and abroad was also part of his remit when he was appointed chief executive of Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and then to the same post in the Edinburgh chamber.

His Edinburgh appointment in 1990 came at a time when the former Lothian Regional Council was making efforts to build bridges with business and enter into a new partnership.

He also played a leading part, along with representatives of the regional council, Edinburgh City Council and Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Limited, in discussing the need for properly organised Hogmanay celebrations which were then lacking. This work helped to lay the foundations for the Capital’s internationally-acclaimed Hogmanay street party.

After six years with the Edinburgh chamber, ill health resulted in Mr Brown taking early retirement in 1995 at the age of 50.


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He recovered sufficiently to use his free time to take up a wide range of interests. These included serving on a committee of the Law Society and on a committee which adjudicates on complaints against NHS staff.

Mr Brown was diagnosed with cancer in recent years, an illness he fought with great courage, dignity and even good humour. He is survived by his wife Moira, daughter Jacqueline, son Alistair, daughter-in-law Susan, his three grandchildren Hamish, Cameron and Finlay, sister and brother-in law.