Sir Tom Hunter, Founder of West Coast Capital, rose from humble beginnings selling trainers from the back of a van to become Scotland’s first billionaire. Tom has a fortune of £1,050 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, and is the richest man in Scotland.
The tycoon, from New Cumnock in Ayrshire, opened his first Sports Division shop in Paisley in 1984 and went on to develop a chain of more than 250 stores around the country, employing 7,500 people. He made his first serious money when he sold the chain to JJB sports in 1998, making a £250 million fortune. That year he also began to develop his interest in philanthropy and, with his wife Marion, established The Hunter Foundation.
Described by many as ‘one of the most significant drivers for change’, Hunter has donated millions to supporting educational and entrepreneurial projects in Scotland. After making the record £1bn donation, Hunter is quoted as saying ‘’ My wife Marion and myself are going to leave this world as we came into it – pretty much with nothing. I don’t want to take £1billion to my grave with me’.
As well as building his business, Hunter has invested his energies into encouraging others to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. He is a director of the Prince’s Scottish Business Youth Trust and Schools Enterprise Scotland.
Hunter was knighted in 2005 for services to entrepreneurship and philanthropy, and was awarded a doctorate by Strathclyde University in late 2001.