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James Allan McColl OBE (born 22 December 1951[1]) is a Scottish businessman[2] and entrepreneur. He is responsible for the development of Clyde Blowers. In 2007, he was placed tenth on the Sunday Times Rich List in Scotland.[3] The Daily Record reported in November 2008 that McColl had overtaken Tom Hunter as "Scotland's richest man" with an estimated fortune of £800million.[4]

Jim McColl OBE
James Allan McColl

(1951-12-22) 22 December 1951 (age 67)
Carmunnock, Scotland
EducationRutherglen Academy
Strathclyde University
Known forClyde Blowers
Net worthIncrease £1 billion,
(US$1.4 billion) or more



Born in Carmunnock,[5] the son of a butcher was raised in a small village outside East Kilbride,[6] and educated at Rutherglen Academy.[5]

McColl left school at 16 to take up an engineering apprenticeship with Weir Pumps of Cathcart, Glasgow. After gaining City & Guilds certificates at lower and higher level,[7] he gained a BSc Degree in Technology and Business Studies at Strathclyde University. He returned to Weir Pumps in 1978, studying for the next three years for an MBA.[8]

McColl joined Diamond Power Speciality Ltd in 1981, an engineering company supplying equipment to the power industry worldwide; during his tenure he studied part time for a Master's degree in International Accounting and Finance. Head hunted by Coopers & Lybrand, in 1985 he became a consultant, working with companies in financial difficulties that needed guidance. In 1986 he left Coopers to become a self-employed "company doctor", during which he made money through two successful turnarounds.[8]

Clyde BlowersEdit

In 1992 McColl bought 29.9% of the family-owned engineering company Clyde Blowers plc for £1million,[7] which was then losing money on a turnover of £4million, but had a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. After taking it private company and increasing his holding to 70% in 2001,[7] over the following five years Clyde Blowers bought six of eight major competitors, and now have a 55% global market share of their original core business. In May 2007, Clyde Blowers bought Weir Pumps from the Weir Group plc, the same company McColl started his career at. In September 2008, McColl led a team which enabled Clyde Blowers to acquire the entire Fluid & Power Division of Fortune 500 multi-industry company Textron, in a deal worth over $1 billion.[6] Clyde Blowers presently consists of 85 companies in 27 different countries, employing 5,000 people around the world, with an annual turnover in excess of £1.35 billion.[8]


McColl was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours.[9] McColl won an "Alumnus of the Year" award from Strathclyde University in 1998,[10] was awarded an honorary doctorate by Napier University in 2003, and an honorary doctorate by Glasgow University in 2007.[11] McColl won the Entrepreneurial Exchange 'Entrepreneur of the Year Award' for 1999/2000, and the Ernst & Young "Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award" for 2001. In July 2005, McColl was awarded The Prince Philip Medal 2005 'Certificate of Achievement' for an outstanding contribution to the engineering industry. In May 2006, McColl was presented with a Scottish International Business Achievement award from The Princess Royal.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

McColl and his wife Shona are now resident in Monaco.[6] They also have a home outside Glasgow, and McColl is a keen car enthusiast for both modern and classic cars.

McColl was a supporter of the Scottish Government's policy of independence for Scotland, but in early 2015 changed his viewpoint stating that "the decision's been made" following the 2014 referendum though he supports the idea of further tax devolution.[12] His is a member of the Scottish Government's Scottish Council of Economic Advisers, and spends much of his spare time working on a Glasgow based welfare-to-work programme.[13]

The 2017 edition of the Sunday Times Rich List estimated his fortune at £1.07 billion.[14]

Possible Rangers takeoverEdit

On 28 March 2010, it was reported in the Sunday Herald that, after discussions with the Rangers Supporters Trust about a takeover designed to make the football club a supporter-owned entity, McColl was believed to be backing their bid for Rangers.[15] McColl later told BBC Scotland that he had no interest in any personal financial involvement but was providing finance advice to the Rangers Supporters' Trust.[16] McColl was part of a consortium, led by former Rangers manager Walter Smith, that attempted to buy Rangers from liquidators BDO for £6million.[17]


  1. ^ Beresford, Philip (30 April 2003). "The City & Guilds Vocational Rich List". City & Guilds. Retrieved 14 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "List of companies related to James Allan McColl". Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  3. ^ Sunday Times Rich List: Scotland: Jim McColl (accessed 14 January 2009)
  4. ^ "Sir Tom Hunter sells French villa for £50m". Daily Record. 6 November 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "Jim McColl". Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  6. ^ a b c "Jim McColl refuses to believe anything is impossible". The Scotsman. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  7. ^ a b c "Jim McColl". City & Guilds. Retrieved 4 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ a b c "Biography – Jim McColl". CydeBlowers. Archived from the original on 18 January 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  9. ^ "No. 56237". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2001. p. 12.
  10. ^ Alumnus of the Year Archived 26 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Entrepreneurs to be awarded Honorary Degrees". University of Glasgow. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  12. ^ Johnson, Simon (5 March 2015). "Jim McColl drops support for Scottish independence". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  13. ^ Penman, John (9 November 2008). "Clyde Blowers chief pumps up the volume". London: The Times. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  14. ^ "Rich list 2017 - Wealthiest in Scotland". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  15. ^ Martin Williams and Stewart Fisher (28 March 2010). "Tycoon McColl to back Rangers buy-out?". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 28 March 2010.[dead link]
  16. ^ BBC Scotland=BBC Scotland (30 March 2010). "No Jim McColl cash for fans' Rangers takeover proposal". BBC News. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  17. ^ Darrell King (14 June 2012). "Walter Smith fronts new bid to buy Rangers". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2012.

External linksEdit