Sadly, our Chair Jim Muir died earlier this month aged 56. It came as a bit of shock to find that he had died. I knew he was battling with cancer but was not aware that he was in a hospice in his final days. I read with sadness his obituary in the Glasgow Herald and on LinkedIn but I also wanted to provide my own personal tribute and recognise his impact on myself and guiding me to set up Golden Marzipan.
I first met Jim when he became a partner in the London offices of RSM in 2015. We were located in two separate offices; we knew of each other but were not close colleagues. When I did engage with him at team meeting, I recall that he was often larger than life, with his distinctive gruff Glaswegian accent. I was a little surprised when I received an email to say that he had left the firm as his impact was much greater that his short stay.
It was maybe a year later, when I had also left RSM, that I received a LinkedIn message from inviting me for a catch-up. We both lived in the Warrington area, but little did I realise at the time how fortuitous that decision would be. We had a long chat about what we had been up to. Jim was open about his illness but I saw someone who was a battler, it never crossed my mind that he might eventually lose that battle.
We continued to meet regularly at the Park Royal Hotel, with my colleague Jason Kingston. Jim was always late! We would order him a hot chocolate and he would start our meeting with an amusing story of the past week as he was always on-the-go. We shared a love of sport talking about football and his passion for St Helens rugby league. He was encouraging in helping Jason and I with our business ideas – imparting his pearls of consulting wisdom and then opening his contact book to introduce us to people who he thought might help us. I usually spent the next two days fielding emails and calls from the people who he had put us in touch with. This was the pattern of our regular business and coaching sessions.
It was at a meeting in early 2019 that he first came up with the idea of developing a more collective consultancy offering and this is when Golden Marzipan was born. He then introduced me to Helen McLeod who was instrumental in developing our brand and the Battenburg concepts. Helen subsequently joined the team. Jim was invited and accepted the role of Chair.
Sadly, throughout this period Jim’s illness became more intrusive. Despite that, he was always positive and optimistic. My last meeting with him was in August. I had gone to update him on our new business, but we ended up spending most of the time talking about his upcoming holiday to a small village in Spain where he was hoping to find a place to buy. I had not realised then that would be the last time I would see him.
I will miss Jim’s no-nonsense business advice delivered in that Glaswegian accent, his endless funny stories, his encyclopaedic knowledge of football, his warmth and his willingness to share contacts but probably most of all is the opportunity to buy him his favourite drink – a “Hot Chocolate”.
Many tributes have been posted to Jim on LinkedIn. The common themes are his remarkable ability to connect and help people. Golden Marzipan is just one example.
23 December 2019