The Madras College Archive


Former Pupil Biographies

Sir John Carmichael KBE (1910 - 1996)

Sir John Carmichael, industrialist; born April 22, 1910, died January 8, 1996

His wide-ranging career included more than 20 years with the Sudanese Civil Service, as well as involvement with the chemical, fishing, gas, and jute industries - and the Independent Television Authority. A native of St Andrews, Sir John studied at the university there and graduated with first-class honours in mathematics and physics. He later went to the University of Michigan as a Commonwealth Fund fellow.

In 1935 he joined the Sudan Government Civil Service and in 1953 was appointed Permanent Under-Secretary to the Ministry of Finance. From 1955-59 he served as financial and economic adviser to the Sudan Government. He was appointed KBE in 1955.

Sir John was a member of the United Kingdom delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1959 and the following year joined Fisons as chairman of its pest control subsidiary. Two years later he was appointed to the company's board and became executive vice-chairman.

He also served on the Scottish Gas Board, as deputy chairman of the ITA, and as chairman of the Herring Industry Board. He was a director of the National Commercial Bank, the Abbey National Building Society, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Grampian Television. He also held several directorships in the US.

In 1966 he accepted an invitation to become a non-executive director of the then Jute Industries (Holdings) Ltd. Four years later he became chairman and soon after the company changed its name to Sidlaw Industries in recognition of the diversification it achieved in other fields, including man-made fibres.

Sir John joined the R&A in 1954 and served on numerous committees, including chairman of the general committee from 1968-70. He was captain of the club during the 1974-75 season and in 1982 was appointed to St Andrews Links Trust. He was elected chairman in 1984, a position he held for a number of years. During his chairmanship, the trust embarked on a major development programme and began to develop sources of off-course income.

Donald Macgregor, vice-chairman of the trust, said: "Sir John, with his local knowledge, contributed greatly to the work of the trust and his interest continued throughout the years since he demitted office. All those who were involved with him on the trust will miss him greatly."

Sir John was also a member of the Augusta National Golf Club, Pine Valley Golf Club, and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.