Entrepreneur and member of the Salvesen shipping dynasty
Entrepreneur and member of the Salvesen shipping dynasty
Born: February 26, 1963 Died: April 10, 2014
Loading article content
Jeremy Salvesen, who has died in a skiing accident aged 51, was a leading member of the Scottish shipping dynasty and a noted entrepreneur and benefactor. He was also a winning round-the -world yachtsman and a renowned shot.
He was born Jeremy John Russell Salvesen in Kelso, Roxburghshire ,the son of John Salvesen, a local farmer and Alison (nee Russell). His great-great grandfather was Christian Salvesen, who founded the family shipping company of the same name in Leith in 1872. The firm made its name as shipping agents and with a steamer line to Norway before expanding into trawling and whaling, particularly in the Falklands. It was Salvesen whalers who donated the first penguins to Edinburgh zoo.
He was educated at Cargilfield school in Edinburgh from 1972 to 1976 and Haileybury College public school in Hertfordshire from 1976 to 1981 before attending the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester from 1982-1985. But he never planned to be a farmer. His interests in the land lay rather in how it was managed and he joined Savills and became a chartered surveyor, or as he preferred to put it an unsuccessful chartered surveyor.
Throughout his life, he retained a love for the outdoors. He had an absolute passion for shooting and enjoyed all aspects of the Scottish countryside. He lived in many places around Scotland, from Angus, to Edinburgh, Innerleithen and Dunsyre. But it was Sauchur House in Elie, Fife where he had been settled for the last 10 years and that idyllic East Neuk village, that became his lasting home.
After Savills, backed by family money, he set up Tantallon International Limited, an Edinburgh-based investment company and one of its first moves was to acquire the Duncan's of Scotland chocolate company, which was about to go into receivership. He saved the company and its employees and remained proud of what he achieved there. Groovy Chocolate, an online chocolate company creating personalised chocolate, was a spin-off from the business.
He also invested in the set up of Edinburgh Financial Publishing and was a founder investor in Financial News.
He quickly developed into a true serial entrepreneur, investing in a wide range of businesses, in all of which he would provide an enormous amount of support and good advice to the management. His investments included the jeweller Hamilton and Inches, the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay, Spark Energy in the Borders, an American rewards company, a major commercial and leisure property development in Brazil, a media technology company, a medical business and an agronomy business.
He also believed in the family tradition of philanthropy. Through The Prince's Trust, he mentored and inspired many young business people in Scotland and supported Stanmore School in Lanarkshire where his daughter Tessa is at school.
One of his hallmark qualities was a sense of duty and loyalty and he was enthusiastic in drawing his bow as a member of the Royal Company of Archers, HM the Queen's Bodyguard For Scotland.
Adventure, in all its guises, always held an endless attraction for him, whether it was absurd games and ludicrous sports in the annual Elie Challenge, or at more serious levels - he embraced it eagerly.
He also achieved some fame as a yachtsman and what is perhaps most extraordinary is that he had taught himself sailing from scratch. Not one for doing things by halves, he then bought a 40ft ocean-going yacht, an Akilaria RC1 Class 40 named Mowgli (which was also in later years the name of his beloved spaniel).
With his friend David Thomson as partner, he signed up for the 2008/9 inaugural round-the-world Portimão Global Ocean Race. Leaving from Portimão in Portugal, they sailed round Cape Horn down to New Zealand then across to Brazil and the United States before returning to Europe. It took them eight months and they finished third.
It was an extraordinary, exhilarating adventure, but not without its moments of terror. Mowgli was struck by a huge storm on Christmas Eve 2008 in the Southern Ocean and at one point it was thought the sailors would not survive.
When he stepped off his boat in Portsmouth, he vowed never to sail competitively again. He simply could not put his family through that same sort of anguish. That did not, of course, prevent him from enjoying a memorable sailing holiday in the Caribbean with his three boys.
He was also an expert shot. As one close friend and shooting companion put it, "he had the shooting characteristics of a Mongolian assassin".
When not out in the field or the hill or the sea, he was in his element in the kitchen. He had a love of the impromptu. As a close friend recalls, "he would appear at your door at five with a must-be-obeyed invitation for supper that evening. He knew you would always turn up."
He was an enthusiastic golfer, like so many, equally as enraged as he was encouraged and for the last two years had been a member of the Golf House Club in Elie, having previously been a member of the Thistle at Earlsferry.
And, of course, he was an accomplished skier. He bought a run-down chalet (le Bercail) in La Clusaz in the French Alps in 2010 and developed it into a beautiful luxury chalet, which became his second home. He was immensely proud of it, and spent many happy holidays there, hosting huge crowds of friends and family.
He was skiing in La Clusaz with a family group including his second son, Raleigh when the accident happened. Jeremy and Raleigh were heading down a slope at some speed, laughing as usual. It was to be the last run of the holiday
Jeremy Salvesen's was always a presence that one instantly noticed on entering the room. It was to do with his eyes. As one friend put it, 'those piercing blue eyes'. Then the smile followed: a huge, cheshire cat grin. And the smile was followed by the voice. Booming, deep and irrepressible. His close friends often called him Tigger. He revelled in expressing his opinions, many of which were controversial, at times outrageous. But he was always ready to argue the point and did so with great skill.
He was married and divorced twice, firstly to Louise (nee Rowe), mother of his four children, and secondly to Verity (nee Missen). He is survived by his children Oliver (24), Raleigh (22), Toby (19) and Tessa (17), his partner Jacqueline, his mother Alison, his brothers Michael and Nigel and his sisters Penny and Rachel.