Tom Farmer is Founder and Former Chairman of Kwik-Fit Holdings plc, the household-name automotive repair chain.He founded the Kwik-Fit Group in 1971 and after building the chain to become the world's largest independent tyre and automotive repair specialists, with over 2,000 centres operating in 18 different countries, Farmer sold the firm to Ford in 1999 for more than £1 billion. As Chairman of Investors in People Scotland, Sir Tom is able to communicate to many organisations the successful policies that his own company employed in optimising its human resources.
Kwik-Fit continues to this day to place a great emphasis on improving its workforce through quality training programs which serve to increase productivity, and therefore profitability, within an organisation. Sir Tom stresses that by demonstrating a commitment through investing in people, a company can dramatically improve job-satisfaction and staff-loyalty. He regards a company that does not improve its staff in this way as failing to capitalise on its most precious resource.
Sir Tom also owns 90% of Hibernian football club. He invested nearly £3 million to rescue the club from receivership and he continued to fund developments of Easter Road and cover the financial losses made by the club. Before his intervention, the club had been threatened during 1990 by an attempted takeover by Wallace Mercer, the owner of their Edinburgh derby rivals Hearts and whilst Sir Tom has admitted that he has no great love of football, and he rarely attends matches, he felt it was important to the local community that Hibs should continue to exist. He had also been informed by campaigners that his grandfather had saved the club from bankruptcy approximately 100 years earlier which also played a significant role on his decision to invest.
He was made a Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, a high honour that the Catholic Church can bestow on a layman and was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in the 2009 New Year Honours for his work as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. He is a popular figure on the after dinner speaking circuit and has established himself as one of the leading business management speakers with his advice, guidance and details on how he built up the Kwik-Fit empire.