James passed away in hospital at Taunton, Somerset, after a short illness on March 13.
He had a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry lasting over 40 years. He served as a main board director of Beecham Group, eventually holding the executive role of chairman of Beecham Pharmaceuticals UK Division.
In 1986 James was elected as president of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry and awarded CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours a year later.
Born the youngest of three children in 1924 in Lennoxtown to shoemaker, John, and his wife, Isabella, James was encouraged by a local professor to study chemical engineering at the then Royal Technical College in Glasgow.
His first position was for the Ministry of Supply during the war, financing and manufacturing penicillin.
In the late 1940s, James moved to Liverpool and began working for the Distillers Company. James’ achievements included inventing a new and important antibiotic process, which is still used worldwide today to make the antibiotic streptomycin and helping Distillers double production of penicillin in the post war years.
In 1951 he married Winifred Seagrave and they had a daughter, Ann, and a son, Kevin. His grand-daughter Rebecca Helsby said: “For colleagues fortunate enough to work with him he was an outstanding strategic thinker with principled views about howfirms should be managed. He was dedicated and knowledgeable.”
James retired from his career in 1988. He became a keen gardener and travelled the world with Winifred, his wife of 62 years.