Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden, the Scottish business doyen and patron of the arts, has died. He was 95.

Lord Macfarlane rose to prominence through the Glasgow-based commercial stationery company that still bears his name that he founded in 1949, and floated on the stock market in 1973.

He stepped down as chief executive of Macfarlane Group in 1990, when he became chairman, having overseen its first move into the packaging distribtution business it is known for today with the acquisition of Abbotts Packaging in 1980. He retired as chairman of Macfarlane in 1998.

Lord Macfarlane's glittering business career also saw him hold the position of chairman of United Distillers, which came after he joined Guinness plc in 1986 as the merger with United was going through, and honorary life president of successor firm Diageo.

Born Norman Macfarlane in 1926, he was knighted in 1983, and created a life peer in 1991. He became a Knight of the Thistle in 1996.

A prominent supporter of the arts, he chaired the committee that oversaw the refurbishment of the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, raising £13.5 million to complete the works.

Stuart Paterson, chairman of Macfarlane Group, said: “I know I speak for everyone across Macfarlane Group who ever met ‘Lord Mac’, as he was invariably known, when I say that we are deeply upset by his passing. He was an inspirational leader, an astute businessman and a strongly supportive shareholder.

“He made countless friends, both across the packaging industry and within the company, during his time at the helm of Macfarlane Group and I know he will be dearly missed.  The thoughts of everyone within the Group are with Lady Macfarlane and the members of the Macfarlane family at this time.”

Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, said: “Lord Macfarlane was a towering figure in Scottish business and society, making an exceptional contribution throughout his remarkable career and life.

“He played a crucial role in laying the foundations for the success of Diageo today and was an inspirational leader across our whole industry. He was also a wonderful supporter of the cultural life of Scotland through his patronage of the arts and sport.

“Most of all Lord Macfarlane was held in the highest regard and affection by everyone who had the good fortune to work with him and to meet him, and he will be remembered with great fondness. All of our thoughts and our condolences are with Lady Macfarlane and her family.”

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said: “The CBI Scotland team is saddened to hear about the passing of Lord Macfarlane of Bearsden. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

"Lord Macfarlane was a towering figure within the Scottish business community who made an equally invaluable contribution to cultural life in Scotland.

“A longstanding CBI member, Lord Macfarlane’s kindness, expertise and passion for industry was valued across the CBI – and particularly among those that served with him on a numerous CBI councils.”