NEIL Hood had a remarkable career, spanning both the academic and commercial sectors in a way that maximised the advantages to all parties.

Born in 1943, Neil left school at 18, initially going straight into the steel industry. From there he left to go to Glasgow University to read regional geography and economic development. On graduation in 1968, Neil joined first the Scottish College of Textiles and subsequently Paisley College of Technology.

He finally left Paisley at the end of 1978 to join the Government Economic Service in Edinburgh as economic adviser. This brief spell ended in September 1979 when Strathclyde University secured his services as professor of business administration, while encouraging him to remain involved with the then Scottish Development Agency as consultant in inward investment and small firm development.

Neil rose rapidly through the academic ranks, becoming associate dean in 1982 and dean in 1985. He established in 1983, in partnership with Professor Stephen Young, the Strathclyde International Business Unit at Strathclyde, and saw it develop into a highlyregarded centre of excellence for research, particularly in the study of the subsidiaries of multi-national enterprises, co-writing innumerable articles and book chapters, as well as complete texts and working closely with national and international funders.

His involvement in the world of financial management also grew during this period, with several directorships. In 1986 he was approached by the Scottish Office to become director of Locate in Scotland, having been one of its advisers for some years, and the university had the foresight to offer Neil leave of absence, initially for two years and then extended for a third. His time at Locate in Scotland was highly fruitful: Neil brought a keen understanding of the determinants of foreign direct investment to bear elegantly on the practical business of actually winning inward investment projects, including the successful negotiations with Sun Microsystems.

During his secondment to Locate in Scotland, Neil lectured on a one-day-a-week basis in the university, and then agreed the unusual but highly appropriate offer of a part-time position starting in 1990, while also holding the new post of director of employment and special initiatives within the SDA. This load included a parttime appointment as a special adviser to successive principals, initially to enhance the reputation of the university and to help the profile of the development office and latterly to advise the principal on matters of strategic importance, advice that always proved immensely valuable.

Throughout the 1990s, Neil's involvement with the private and public sectors grew, in parallel with his growing academic reputation. Neil's attitude to those companies with which he became involved was exemplary; he was not interested in short-term associations, believing that a minimum association should be for three years.

Faced with an industrial problem, his first response was not: "I have written a textbook in this area; have you read it?" but rather: "I have a set of analytical skills that may be helpful; can we work together?" The experience he gained by this approach not only enriched his teaching but caused him to become wholly accepted by the commercial sector, his proudest moment coming when one contact commented: "We had forgotten that you are an academic."

In recognition of his contribution to the public and private sectors in Scotland, Neil was awarded the CBE in 2000 and an honorary doctorate of Strathclyde University in 2003.

IN JANUARY 2001, NEIL BECAME deputy chairman of Scottish Enterprise, a post he held until February 2004. His background as both a practitioner and a distinguished academic added considerable value to the work of Scottish Enterprise, and he took the lead in reviewing the enterprise network's project activities. A major success during his time with SE was his role as founding chairman of Scottish Equity Partners Ltd. , which developed quickly under his guidance into a major venture capital house.

More recently he took up the role of chairman of the Clyde Waterfront Strategic Partnership Board, charged with driving the regeneration of the Clyde corridor. The weaving of the three strands of academic life, government policy and direct involvement in business was Neil's life-work, but there was another strand to Neil's life, equally important: Neil was a committed and active Christian, seeing this as imbuing his whole life. As an undergraduate, though one from a family of strong faith, he fell under the influence of writers such as William Barclay, a man of immense erudition, who demonstrated that the Christian life was entirely consonant with the intellectual life.

Neil passionately believed in the relevance of Christianity to all peoples at all times; he put his extraordinary skills to the benefit of many charities, including Send the Light Ltd. He found his ethical and moral principles to be the key to many of his business decisions, and persuaded many a board not to adopt strategies that might be of financial benefit in the short term if they carried with them long-term risks to the moral reputation of both the company and its directors.

He also wrote a series of books in his final years, distilling his unique blending of Christianity and business; the final book was written during his last illness and completed only weeks before he died. Its title, A Seeker's Guide to Christ, perhaps summarises his own life of seeking and finding; it will be published in August.

Neil was supported strongly in his extraordinarily busy life by his wife Anna and his PA, Irene, and his debt to both is incalculable. He will be remembered across the university, by Scottish Enterprise and by very many of his friends and business partners not just for his broad economic expertise and keen academic mind, but for his integrity, his warmth and his compassion.

His untimely death has deprived Scotland of one of its most inf luential and remarkable citizens; he represented the true embodiment of the Strathclyde University ethos of Useful Learning.

Neil Hood; born August 10, 1943, died, February 2, 2006.