Chartered accountant and business mentor

Born: July 6, 1963;

Died: December 10, 2019

JIM Muir, who has died from cancer aged 56, rose from a humble background to become an influential chartered accountant, mentor and world class networker.

He played a major role guiding and influencing a plethora of British businesses, often at their most difficult moments. Thousands of people remain securely employed today without knowing what they owe to the judgement and wise counsel of Jim Muir.

Jim, whose father was an engineer at the Singer Sewing Machine factory, attended Earnock High School, in Hamilton. He was a gifted footballer who played trials for Hull City as a boy, sparking a life-long love affair with the game as a supporter of Celtic and a season ticket holder at Manchester United.

He went to Glasgow University where he was awarded a BAcc in accountancy and law before joining Peat Marwick in 1984. He qualified as a CA in 1987 and wore that badge proudly. Like so many other CAs, hewn from the same bit of Clydeside, he was resolute in his dealings with those who did not share the same ethical clarity.

His early days as an audit senior saw him working across a range of companies which epitomise a moment in the industrial history of Scotland. They included Timex, Caledonian Automotive and General Accident.

Now well embarked on his career, Jim married his first wife Charlotte and moved to Strathaven where they had three boys, Christopher, Craig and Garry.

In 1988, Jim took up the finance director’s role at Kelvin Homes and found himself not just turning his attention to housebuilding but also managing the finances of St Mirren Football Club, which had been purchased by his company.

Next he worked for Barclays Stockbrokers overseeing their role in the tide of demutualisation of Britain’s building societies, including the Halifax, Alliance and Leicester and the Woolwich. Jim organised his team into three eight-hour shifts, worked 24/7 and trebled the accounts held by Barclays in a matter of months.

Behind the tales of business legend, lay the true measure of Jim’s success. His skill was bringing the right people together. Connecting and helping others. His network was extensive. As one close friend described it, “If you needed a plumber at Land’s End or a joiner in John O’Groats, Jim knew one.”

Jim’s whirlwind professional journey hurtled on to KPMG, as a director in their financial services practice for eight years. Then to API Software, Autorek, RSM and Swinton Insurance.

His personal life advanced too as he married Clare and embraced into his life his step-daughter, Hannah. But within a few weeks of their union Clare was struck by a brain tumour and died.

Jim was a man of great compassion always willing to help those who had a misstep in their careers. He was also a committed supporter of children’s charities. He sat on the board of several, including the Children’s University Trust. He was passionate about giving poorer kids a chance as someone had once done for him.

In 2015, Jim married Lacy who he had met while coaching through the redundancy process at Bradford & Bingley, and was delighted with his new stepdaughter Caitlin, who plays football for Liverpool.

Just more than a year ago, Jim founded Merlin Consultancy along with Bill Kane. They quickly brought together their shared network of contacts and clients and another business success story was under way. Jim was also Audit Chair of the Dudley Building Society; and a non-executive director at Namos Solutions and Warrington Disability Partnership.

He and Lacy were in the process of buying a villa near Valencia when Jim was diagnosed with cancer of the head and neck in 2018. Jim had been selected for an experimental trial but he became too ill to participate.

His Merlin business partner, Bill Kane, described Jim as “a much-loved chair who brought candour, humour and momentum to our board meetings”.

Many tributes have been posted to Jim on LinkedIn. The common themes are his remarkable ability to connect and help people.

As one colleague wrote, “They don’t make many like Jim. They never will.”