Recognition for businessman

Merchant Company honour for Sir Charles Fraser

Charles FraserRetired Scottish businessman Sir Charles Fraser has been installed as an Honorary Member of The Merchant Company, Scotland’s pre-eminent livery company.

Sir Charles joins a small, highly distinguished group of people who have been invited to become Honorary Members of the Edinburgh based company. Previous recipients include The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Winston Churchill and Andrew Carnegie, 

The Merchant Company was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1681 to protect the trading rights of the capital’s merchants. Now its 540 plus businessmen and women members play an active role in education and charitable works throughout the city.  

Sir Charles was welcomed into the company by Pat Denzler, Master of The Merchant Company. 

She said: “We are delighted that Sir Charles Fraser has accepted the invitation of The Merchant Company to become an Honorary Member.  He has had a long and distinguished career which has included law, finance, advisory roles to government and a wide list of public service appointments.

“In his role as a businessman, Sir Charles has incorporated all the honourable traits that The Merchant Company stands for. He also has a long history of raising substantial funds for charitable purposes and I am pleased to welcome him to the company today.”

Sir Charles said: “I am honoured to be installed as an Honorary Member of The Merchant Company. Over many years of business in Edinburgh I have observed and admired the work of the Company. One aspect of this which I have particularly noted is the Company’s acceptance of change and its willingness to adapt where appropriate. In so doing it has enhanced its massive contribution to education and to charity”.

Sir Charles was born in 1928 and educated at Hamilton Academy and the University of Edinburgh. He was a partner in the Edinburgh solicitors W & J Burness WS and was a director of British Assets, Scottish Media Group, the Scottish Widows Fund, Scottish Business in the Community and hotels group Stakis. 

He was also non-executive vice-chairman of United Biscuits, chairman of Morgan Grenfell (Scotland) and Adam & Company. 

He was a member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland, Purse Bearer to the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and sat on the Court of Heriot Watt University.

He chaired Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise, served as chairman for the Secretary of State for Scotland’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Development, and was a Trustee of the World Wildlife Fund.

He has served and chaired committees at the Botanic Gardens, the Patrons of the National Galleries, the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Development and was a Trustee of the Fidelity Foundation of Boston.

Through opening their garden at Shepherd House in Inveresk under Scotland’s Garden Scheme, Sir Charles and his wife Ann, Lady Fraser, have raised substantial funds over many years for charities. He was made KCVO in 1989 and appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of East Lothian in 1984. He holds an Honorary Degree from Edinburgh University and another from Napier University, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Fifteen members from Edinburgh’s business community have become the latest members to join The Merchant Company.  They are: Justin Lamb (Director, Justin Lamb Associates), Sean Westwood (DC Pension & Financial Wellness Consultant, Mercer Ltd), Andrew Niblock (Partner, Henderson Loggie), John Lewthwaite (Senior Manager, Mace Group), John Gibson (Banker -Retired), Russell Dalgleish (Partner, Exolta Capital Partners), Oliver Wilkes (Associate, Adam & Company), Marcella Macdonald (Director and Principal, The MGA Academy of Performing Arts), Kenneth Scott (Partner, EPPS LLP), Iain Sinclair (Managing Director, Murray Place Group Ltd/Murray Energy), Anthony Kelly (Guest House Proprietor), David Bradley-Bird (Company Director/Owner, Multiply (UK) Limited), Harry Crombie (Managing Director, Crombie & Co Property Management), Gordon Taylor (Head of Legal (Funds & Derivatives) Baillie Gifford & Co) and Susan Mendelssohn (Associate, Murray Beith Murray). 

The new members signed the Roll of The Merchant Company which has the signatures of all members dating back to the Company’s inception by Royal Charter in 1681. 

Photograph: Pat Denzler, Master of The Merchant Company welcomes Sir Charles Fraser as an Honorary Member.  (Steven Donald)

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