Click for Bookshop

Sir William (Bill) Gammell


1952 -

Entrepreneur and sportsman. Born in Edinburgh, the son of an investment banker, Gammell was educated at Fettes College and the University of Stirling. An accomplished rugby player, he made his international debut at Murrayfield in 1977 against Ireland, scoring two tries to help Scotland to a 21-18 victory. He was capped on five occasions before his career was ended due to injury.

Gammell then embarked on a successful business career. He founded Cairn Energy in Edinburgh with venture capital, which bought the rights to explore unlikely prospects and remote areas. Following modest success in the USA, Cairn refocused on South Asia and discovered substantial reserves in Rajasthan (India). This multiplied the value of the company and pushed Cairn into the FTSE 100. In addition to India, the company now has operations in Greenland, Peru, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Australia. On a rising oil price, the company was worth £4.2 billion by 2008.

Gammell was in the unusual position of maintaining close personal friendships with both American President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Gammell and Blair had become friends at school, while the Bushes had been family friends since the Gammells invested in their oil business in the 1950s. George W. attended Gammell's wedding in Glasgow in 1983.

Gammell was recognised as UK Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004 and was knighted in the New Year Honours list of 2006 for services to industry in Scotland.


Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow


By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better