Death of a titan

Sir Angus Grossart dies after short illness, aged 85

Sir Angus Grossart
Sir Angus Grossart: titan of Scottish business (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish businessman and patron of the arts Sir Angus Grossart has died aged 85 after a short illness.

Noble Grossart, the Edinburgh-based investment bank he co-founded in 1969, confirmed he had passed away at home on Friday with his family by his side.

Sir Angus Grossart was born in Glasgow, and trained in law at Glasgow University before going on to practise law in Edinburgh.

He was prolific dealmaker and investor who remained active in supporting businesses throughout his life. Two years ago he doubled his stake in Scotland’s only listed house builder, Springfield Properties when he bought £1 million worth of shares from its chairman.

Among his many board memberships he was a former vice chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland and previous chairman of the Scottish Investment Trust and of Edinburgh Fund Managers. He was a former non-executive chairman of the Sunday Mail and Daily Record and a director of Scottish & Newcastle.

Sir Angus served as chair of several other organisations including the National Museums of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, communications firm Charlotte Street Partners, auction house Lyon & Turnbull, the Scottish Futures Trust and Edinburgh International Culture Summit.

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He was instrumental in the refurbishment of The Burrell Collection, donating £1m to the project and chairing The Burrell Renaissance. Only two months ago he was awarded the Lord Provost’s Loving Cup by Glasgow city council for leading the £8 million fundraising effort.

A Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, he was awarded a CBE in 1990 and was knighted in 1997.

He founded Noble Grossart with Sir Ian Noble and through the decades it backed many of Scotland’s biggest and most successful enterprises including Argyll Foods, which later became Safeway supermarkets, and Kwik Fit, established by Sir Tom Farmer. It also supported Goldcrest Films, which made of Chariots of FireGandhi and Local Hero.

Sir Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University, tweeted: “It’s such sad news that Sir Angus Grossart has passed away. A proud @UofGlasgow alumnus, Angus was a good friend and always generous with his wise counsel. I will miss his warm company where we benefited from his razor-sharp mind and his wonderful wit, knowledge and wisdom.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described Sir Angus as “a titan of Scotland’s business community”  while Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, the former defence secretary and secretary-general of Nato, said he was a “formidable Scotsman, patriot, mentor and banker extraordinaire.” 

Former First Minister , Alex Salmond, described him as “a giant of Scottish business and commerce”. He added: “Angus was an engaging companion, a good friend and a thoroughly memorable character. He will be greatly missed by friends and family and by the many organisations, public and private, which have benefited from his wit and wisdom.”

Sir Angus is survived by his widow, Gay, and daughter, Flure.

See also: Obituary



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