Tom Farmer

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Sir Tom Farmer

Born10 July 1940 (1940-07-10) (age 83)
Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Years active1964–present
TitleCEO of Kwik Fit (1971–2002) [1]
Non-executive director of
MyTravel Group (1994–2007) [2]
Director of Scottish Power (2009–2017) [3]
Spouse(s)Anne, Lady Farmer
Children1 daughter
1 son

Sir Thomas Farmer, CVO , CBE , KC*SG , FRSE , DL (born 10 July 1940) is a Scottish entrepreneur.


Early life

One of seven siblings in a devoutly Catholic family, in 1964 Farmer founded his own tyre retailing business which he sold in 1969 for £450,000. Farmer retired to the United States, but became bored and decided to find a new challenge. [4]

Business career

According to the Sunday Times Rich List in 2020, Farmer is worth an estimated £126 million. [5]

Kwik Fit

Farmer founded the Kwik Fit chain of garages in 1971. The firm grew quickly, mainly through acquisition, including opening in the Netherlands in 1975. Farmer was named Scottish Businessman of the Year in 1989. [6] [7] After building the chain to become the world's largest independent tyre and automotive repair specialists with over 2,000 centres operating in 18 different countries, Farmer sold the firm to Ford in 1999 for more than £1 billion. He is the first Scot to be awarded the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Medal for philanthropy.

Hibernian FC

Farmer owned 90% of Hibernian, a professional football club based in Edinburgh, between the early 1990s and 2019. [8] He invested nearly £3 million to rescue the club from receivership and he continued to fund developments of Easter Road and financial losses made by the club. [8] Before his intervention, the club had been threatened during 1990 by an attempted takeover by Wallace Mercer, the owner of their Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts. [9] Farmer admitted in 2006 that he has no great love of football, and he rarely attended matches. [10] He felt it was important to the local community that Hibs should continue to exist, as he was informed by campaigners that his grandfather had saved the club from bankruptcy approximately 100 years earlier. [11] Farmer delegated control of Hibs to other figures, such as Rod Petrie. [10] [12] [13] He sold the majority ownership of the club to American businessman Ronald Gordon in July 2019. [14]

Political activism

In 2006, Farmer donated £100,000 to the Scottish National Party to help fund their campaign for the 2007 Scottish Parliament general election. Farmer commented at the time that it was not an indication of his political allegiance but that he wanted the SNP to be able to compete financially with their better-funded political opponents. [15] Farmer repeated his endorsement for the SNP in the 2011 election. [16]

Personal life

Farmer was married to Anne (née Scott) and lives in Edinburgh. They have one daughter, one son and four grandchildren. Lady Farmer died in 2023. [17]

Farmer also owns the island of Inchkeith in the Firth of Forth. [18]

Awards and accolades

Farmer was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2009 New Year Honours for his work as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. [19] Farmer was made a Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, and he was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1997.[ citation needed ] He was appointed as the founding Chancellor of Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University in 2007 taking over from Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester who had been the institution’s Patron. Sir Tom served in that role until 2016.

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  2. "My Travel Group Limited; Farmer, Tom, Sir". Companies House. Retrieved 5 August 2017 via GOV.UK.
  3. "Tom Farmer CBE, KCGS - Appointments". Companies House. Retrieved 5 August 2017 via GOV.UK.
  4. "Kwik-Fit founder shares his knowledge at RGU". Robert Gordon University. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  5. "Rich List 2020: profiles 906‑982=". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers. 16 May 2020. ISSN   0140-0460 . Retrieved 23 September 2020.(subscription required)
  6. "Kwik Fit founder named Scotland's top businessman". Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. Retrieved 8 October 2006.
  7. "The Entrepreneurial Exchange". Entrepreneurial Scotland.[ dead link ]
  8. 1 2 Hardie, David (29 July 2003). "Hibs reveal depth of Farmer's investment". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  9. Buckland, Simon (22 June 2003). "Sleeping with the enemy". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  10. 1 2 "Farmer content with Hibs backseat". BBC Sport. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  11. Lugton, Alan (1999). "14 'Down but not Out: 1891–1893'". The Making of Hibernian Volume 1. John Donald Publishers. pp. 189–204.
  12. "Petrie takes over as Hibs chair". BBC Sport. 14 December 2004. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  13. "Farmer backs ground decision". BBC Sport. 29 October 2003. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  14. "Hibernian: Ronald Gordon takes ownership from Sir Tom Farmer". BBC Sport. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  15. "Sir Tom donates £100,000 to SNP". BBC News. 7 October 2006. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  16. Barnes, Eddie (1 May 2011). "Scottish Election 2011: Kwik-Fit founder backs SNP". Scotland on Sunday. Archived from the original on 2 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  17. "Death of Lady Anne Farmer announced". Edinburgh Reporter. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  18. "UK: THE DAVIDSON INTERVIEW - TOM FARMER". Management Today. Haymarket Media Group. Retrieved 14 April 2015.(registration required)
  19. "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 3.