Sir Tom Hunter
Partner, West Coast Capital

The son of a grocer from the coal mining district of New Cumnock in Ayrshire, Sir Tom Hunter advanced from modest beginnings to become Scotland’s first billionaire.  He attended business school at Strathclyde University, however, when finding a job upon graduation proved difficult, he began selling athletic shoes and tracksuits out of the back of a van.  In 1984 he opened the first Sports Division store, which grew to 250 in number, making him one of the UK’s biggest retailers.  In 1998 Sir Tom sold the chain for £290 million.

After completion of the sale of his business, Sir Tom began to develop an interest in philanthropy, and together with his wife Marion, set up The Hunter Foundation to support educational and entrepreneurial projects in Scotland.  One of the first projects was to fund primary education, which ultimately entered into collaboration with the government and extended across the entire Scottish education system.  Rather than giving away funds, the Foundation works to change the way things are done.

In 2005, Sir Tom was knighted for services to philanthropy and entrepreneurship.  That same year he founded the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative with former President Bill Clinton, taking aim at alleviating poverty in Africa, and pledged £60 million to the venture.  In 2007, he stated that he would donate £1 billion to worthy causes in his lifetime.

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