Born: October 31, 1939;

Died: July 15, 2020.

FRANK O’Callaghan, who has died aged 80, was an astute businessman whose ability to make sense of complex financial situations saw him spearhead some of Scotland’s most high-profile business acquisitions. He was a key figure at Stakis plc, co-founded the Macdonald Hotels business, and was for a time a non-executive director at Celtic FC.

He was born in Glasgow in October 1939, the eldest son of Frank and Agnes O’Callaghan. He had five siblings: a sister, Anne, and four brothers: the late Bobby, Desmond, Gerard and the late Martin.

At St Aloysius’ College he achieved not only an exemplary academic career but also found time to captain the 1st XV rugby team. After leaving the College he was a prime mover in the founding of the Old Aloysian Rugby Club, an alumni team that owed its existence in large part to his considerable drive and energy.

This allegiance to St Aloysius’, and gratitude for the education he received, remained with Frank all of his life and he maintained an additional connection to the school by serving on its Board of Governors. As a dedicated family man and proud grandparent, he was immensely proud when his children and, more recently, his two eldest grandchildren continued the long family tradition of attendance at “The College.”

Following an MA at Glasgow University he became a chartered accountant. It was as a young CA with McLintock, Moore & Murray that he caught the eye of Sir Reo Stakis, who was impressed by his ability to get to the root of a problem without fuss.

He was appointed financial controller in 1972, at the time of the company’s flotation, and was to become its Finance Director shortly thereafter, a position he held until his departure in 1989. In those 17 years the share price increased 23-fold.

Together with Donald Macdonald and Gerry Smith, Frank founded Macdonald Hotels in 1990. He was chairman of the company until his retirement in 2012, a period of 22 years. During that time he was a pivotal figure in the £700 million deal for the company’s transition from public to private ownership in 2003 – the largest deal of its kind in Scotland. The trio maintained a friendship and successful business relationship for nearly 50 years.

Donald Macdonald said that in his 48 years as Frank’s close friend, business partner and colleague he had many deep, searching discussions about not only business but life in general including the spiritual, social and material contribution of business into communities and society.

No matter how long these discussions went on for, at the end of them there was always a better way forward and Macdonald and his colleagues felt enriched by Frank’s side of the debate. He was proud that during that time athey never had a cross word. Frank valued relationships above everything else.

Following his departure from Stakis plc he took on a number of non- executive positions including Outreach plc. It is a mark of his influence that some 30 years later its managing director, Wilson Paton, commented on seeing Frank’s death notice in The Herald: “During the 10 years that Frank held his position he provided all of the directors with exceptional counsel and support through some very challenging times. For all his advice, encouragement and support, I and others involved will be eternally grateful. His friendship, wisdom and unfailing good humour were inspirational.”

Frank’s financial acumen was also recognised by Celtic plc where, as a lifelong fan, he was delighted to take on the position of non- executive chairman from February 1999 until June 2000. There is little doubt that the financial foundations which he and others laid down provided the platform for much of the club’s success in the last 20 years.

Together with his wife Elizabeth, he maintained a long-term relationship with the Celtic and they were warmly welcomed to the Executive Box for many home games.

Frank had a particular passion was golf. Whilst some would view golf as an individual game, he managed to create a team spirit, organising many annual competitions and holidays where the atmosphere was more ‘Ryder Cup’ than ‘Open’.

Frank was a member of Royal Troon, Pollok, Haggs Castle, Kenmare and Ring of Kerry. His eye for detail and problem-solving saw him join the committee of Royal Troon in 2005. His financial and business acumen ensued that an extensive renovation and refurbishment of the clubhouse remained within budget.

Many people acknowledge that their life would have been much poorer without Frank’s friendship. He was generous, loyal and always ready to encourage others with a perceptive comment on their strengths and achievements.

Successful business figures such as Reo Stakis and Donald Macdonald seldom work alone. Behind them exists a team of brilliant individuals who rarely step into the limelight. Frank O’Callaghan is the embodiment of this; a team player whose energy and drive saw him build successful teams and inspire others to emulate his understated greatness.

Frank is survived by Elizabeth, his wife of 55 years, his two children, Claire and Frank, son-in-law Jamie and daughter-in-law Orlaith, and his grandchildren Sarah, Emma, Roisin and Frankie, who were his pride and joy.