Jim McColl

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Jim McColl OBE
James Allan McColl

(1951-12-22) 22 December 1951 (age 69)
Carmunnock, Scotland
EducationRutherglen Academy
Strathclyde University
Known forClyde Blowers

James Allan McColl OBE (born 22 December 1951)[1] is a Monaco-based 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] In 2021, The Sunday Times Rich List estimated his fortune at £1 billion.[5]


The son of a butcher, McColl was born and raised in Carmunnock,[6] a small village outside East Kilbride,[7] and educated at Rutherglen Academy.[6] He 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,[8] he gained a BSc Degree in Technology and Business Studies at Strathclyde University. He returned to Weir Pumps in 1978, studying during the next three years for an MBA.[9]

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. The following year he left Coopers to become a self-employed "company doctor", during which he made money through two successful turnarounds.[9]

Clyde Blowers[edit]

In 1992, McColl paid £1million to buy 29.9% of family-owned engineering company Clyde Blowers plc;[8] the company was then losing money on a turnover of £4million, but had a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. After he took the company private and increased his holding to 70% in 2001,[8] over the following five years Clyde Blowers bought six of its eight major competitors, and now[when?] has a 55% global market share of its original core business. In May 2007, Clyde Blowers bought Weir Pumps from Weir Group plc, the company at which McColl had started his career. 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.[7] 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.[9] In 2018, it was announced that Clyde Blowers exited their portfolio company, Cone Drive, The Timken Company for a reported multi-million dollar deal.[10]


McColl was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours.[11] McColl won an "Alumnus of the Year" award from Strathclyde University in 1998,[12] was awarded an honorary doctorate by Napier University in 2003, and an honorary doctorate by Glasgow University in 2007.[13] 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.[6]

Personal life[edit]

McColl and his wife Shona are now resident in Monaco.[7] 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 view, stating that "the decision's been made" following the 2014 referendum; however, he supports the idea of further tax devolution.[14] He 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.[15]

The 2017 edition of the Sunday Times Rich List estimated his fortune at £1.07 billion.[16]

2010 rumoured Rangers takeover bid[edit]

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 the Trust's bid for Rangers.[17] 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.[18] McColl was part of a consortium, led by former Rangers manager Walter Smith, that attempted to buy Rangers from liquidators BDO for £6million.[19]


  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". www.flixens.com. 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. ^ "The Sunday Times Rich List 2021". www.thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Jim McColl". geo.ed.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  7. ^ a b c "Jim McColl refuses to believe anything is impossible". The Scotsman. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  8. ^ a b c "Jim McColl". City & Guilds. Retrieved 4 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b c "Biography – Jim McColl". CydeBlowers. Archived from the original on 18 January 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Clyde Blowers Capital agrees to sell US-based subsidiary Cone Drive". Insider.co.uk. 24 July 2018.
  11. ^ "No. 56237". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2001. p. 12.
  12. ^ Alumnus of the Year Archived 26 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Entrepreneurs to be awarded Honorary Degrees". University of Glasgow. 27 March 2008. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  14. ^ Johnson, Simon (5 March 2015). "Jim McColl drops support for Scottish independence". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  15. ^ Penman, John (9 November 2008). "Clyde Blowers chief pumps up the volume". The Times. London. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  16. ^ "Rich list 2017 - Wealthiest in Scotland". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  17. ^ Martin Williams and Stewart Fisher (28 March 2010). "Tycoon McColl to back Rangers buy-out?". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 28 March 2010.[dead link]
  18. ^ BBC Scotland=BBC Scotland (30 March 2010). "No Jim McColl cash for fans' Rangers takeover proposal". BBC News. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  19. ^ Darrell King (14 June 2012). "Walter Smith fronts new bid to buy Rangers". Sunday Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2012.

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