Death of Prof Stewart Hamilton announced

By ICAS

15 May 2014

The death has been announced of Professor Stewart Hamilton CA.

Professor Stewart Hamilton CA, who has died aged 69, was a highly respected academic who was not afraid to voice forthright views on the accountancy profession and the factors behind the corporate failures of the past few decades.

A qualified CA, both in Scotland and Canada, Prof Hamilton was a professor of accounting and finance at the IMD business school. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he qualified as a CA in 1969 with Robertson & Maxton Graham in Edinburgh.

His career took him to Armitage & Norton, where he was a partner up until 1987.
In 1981 he was appointed as professor of accounting and finance at IMD, the leading business school based in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2008 and 2009 he was also dean of finance and administration.

Prof Hamilton wrote many articles for the professional and financial press, and was the author of numerous case studies on corporate failure, including award-winning case studies of the Barings Bank and Enron collapses. He was the author (with Alicia Micklethwait) of the seminal Greed and Corporate Failure: The Lessons from Recent Disasters.

Prof Hamilton served on many professional committees and working parties on law and policy, and latterly was a non-solicitor (lay) member of the council of the Law Society of Scotland.

The president of the Law Society, Bruce Beveridge, said, "Stewart was a great friend to the Law Society. We were extremely fortunate to benefit from his considerable knowledge and expertise. He brought patience, common sense, calmness and determination, a great eye for detail and a steely wit."

In the late 1970s, Prof Hamilton was the first member to stand (unsuccessfully) for election against the ICAS Council's official slate. ICAS past president Sir David Tweedie CA recalled his regular attendance at the Wednesday Forum debates held at the ICAS Queen Street HQ in that decade. Sir David said, "He was both a rebel and a force for good in the profession."

Jeremy Dawson CA, of JD& Associates, said, "Prof Hamilton was a lecturer in the 1970s at ICAS for all apprentices and will be remembered fondly by many students now in their sixties. He was stroppy, deeply ethical and argumentative; he was also a fantastic confidant and mentor in a most gentle way."

Prof Niall Lothian CA, also a past president, said, "Stewart's thinking cut through the smokescreen thrown up by officialdom and his proposed solutions were well thought through, punchy, and usually totally unacceptable to those whose comfort zones he had in his focus. Hitting nails firmly on the head was his specialism.

"What a breath of fresh air he brought to the teaching of accounting and finance; what an ambassador for ICAS … what a loss his death will mean to his many friends who relished time spent with him in Edinburgh or further afield."

Prof Hamilton is survived by his wife Mairi and three daughters.

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