Tributes paid to 'inspirational' former Bell & Bain boss

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, October 11, 2019

Bell & Bain’s current chairman has paid tribute to the company’s former managing director and chairman Ian Walker, who has passed away at the age of 67.

Walker, who worked at the Glasgow-headquartered book printer for 15 years until 2015, died on Wednesday (9 October) after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

Born on 16 April 1952, he was brought up in South Lanarkshire and achieved Bachelor of Science with honours from Heriot-Watt University, which he graduated from in 1977. He later gained an MBA from the University of Strathclyde in 1991. Prior to joining Bell & Bain, he had worked at organisations including De La Rue, Metal Box and Bank of England.

He was described as “a super passionate, inspirational individual” and “wonderful man” by his former colleagues, who said he had “an enthusiasm and zest for life”.

Walker is survived by his wife Maureen, daughter Rebecca and son Gregory.

Stephen Docherty, who became group chairman of Bell & Bain earlier this year, paid tribute to his former boss: “Ian was such a nice man, and my thoughts are with his wife and family.

“He educated me in numbers and balance sheets but then educated me from the factory floor that confrontation could in actual fact be a debate at a higher level.

“Maureen said he loved his time at Bell & Bain and felt the people were honest and had so much capabilities to educate, which he took immense pleasure in passing on.”

A Dundee football fan all his life, Walker was also captain of the football team at Heriot-Watt University.

Docherty said Walker “adored and was immensely proud of his family”.

He added: “He loved the simple things – he was a bread and cheese and pint of beer kind of guy.

“And every annual night out, when everyone had no room for dessert Ian pitched in with an option of personal disposal!”

Last month Bell & Bain revealed the latest stage of its ongoing £20m-plus investment programme – two new Rapida 145 large-format presses from Koenig & Bauer. The business has a long relationship with the manufacturer and purchased a number of its presses during Walker’s tenure.

The company, which has also recently invested in a Ventura MC 200 book sewing machine from another longstanding supplier, Muller Martini, acquired local stalwart commercial operation J Thomson in July to create a near 300-staff, £30m-turnover group.

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