Queen Margaret University
Sir Tom Farmer was Queen Margaret University’s Founding Chancellor, appointed when the University gained full university title in 2007. He stepped down from his post in 2015, having done much to promote the University and to inspire students during his eight years of service.
Sir Tom Farmer is one of Scotland’s leading and most highly respected entrepreneurs. He was born in 1940, the youngest of seven children and brought up in Leith. Tom opened his first tyre business in 1964 and by 1969 had sold it and “retired” to the USA with his family. He has been married to Anne for 46 years and they have two children and three grandchildren.
By 1971 Tom returned to Edinburgh to found Kwik-Fit, which became one of the world’s largest automotive repair specialists, operating through more than 2,300 locations in the UK and Europe and employing over 11,000 people. It grew into a £1billion business by 1999 when it was purchased by the Ford Motor Company.
Sir Tom joined the board of Ford Customer Service Division in the USA and resigned in 2002 to carry on with other business interests. Those interests include property development and investments in new business start-ups, and he is a major shareholder in the Hibernian Football Club.
Sir Tom’s business career has brought him many accolades and he has also received many honours both at home and abroad for his tireless work as a philanthropic leader in the community.
In 1990 he was awarded the CBE and in 1993 the President of Poland awarded him The Knight Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. In 1996 Queen Beatrix awarded him Officier in de Orde van Orange-Nassau of The Netherlands. In 1997 he was knighted by the Queen and also received the highest accolade possible from Pope John Paul II when he was made Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St Gregory the Great. In 2006, he was the first Scot to be awarded the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.