Anthony (Tony) David Cox, MBE, died on July 3, 2006. He was 68. Scottish by descent, Tony had only recently returned to Perthshire, to retire. Born in London, he was a lifelong lover of football and became a British schoolboy international soccer player by the age of 14 years. He was so focused on the game by then that school seemed irrelevant.

Leaving formal education he began to cast around for some means ‘to keep body and soul together’ given the low standard of pay received by footballers in those days. He inadvertently sent an employment application to the wrong address and ended up being interviewed by Frank Johnston of Frank Johnston & Sons Ltd (before Frank Johnston left McConomy & Co Ltd to set up his own business). Frank’s powers of persuasion were such that Tony started work as a cable clerk with McConomy & Co Ltd at a time when that company was one of world’s largest trading houses in the industry.

History was to repeat itself in a similar way when, 29 years later, Tony Cox left McConomy & Co Ltd, to set up his own company. The intervening period had seen him rise to boardroom level with responsibilities for trading mainly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Africa and South Africa.

Mandatory military service meant that he spent time with the Royal Airforce. Returning to civilian life his interest in soccer persisted. He gave up playing football only to take up refereeing. He became one of the top British referees, officiating in 17 different countries and a permanent fixture on the British Premier league until 1979 (a FIFA referee).

Meanwhile he had met Carole in 1979 (his wife and business partner for 26 years) when he visited the tannery in Scotland where she was managing director. Pooling their resources they set up Andaco Limited (the two first letters of each of his names) in his wife’s native country, Scotland. The company traded internationally during the 1980s and then began to concentrate on management services as he foresaw the shift in world leather trading patterns from west to east.

Twice president of SHALTA, the former British trade association, he served on its council and as a trade arbitrator for more than 30 years. Few people in the industry possessed his in-depth knowledge of the International Contract which resulted from his involvement with its evolution and re-drafting over a great many years.

When attending the ICHSLTA annual general meeting, as a British delegate, he was asked to become treasurer in 1983, a position which was merged with his later role as director general – which he held from 1991 until 2004, succeeding Rolf Teichart from Hamburg. The appointment of Tony Cox as director general was at the instigation of the then ICHSLTA president, William Carey.

In 1994 he was appointed secretary general of SHALTA little dreaming of the day when, on March 20, 1996, the British Parliament would place a total ban on the export of UK hides – a measure introduced when BSE hit Britain.

He was appointed an authorised field officer of MAFF with powers to monitor and audit a high percentage of the movement of UK hides from the abattoir floor to the tanneries for statutory wet-blueing. The SHALTA offices worked flat out, generating mountains of paperwork, in order to help ensure no hides entered the food chain.

SHALTA was then struck by a second national trade crisis in 2001, Foot & Mouth Disease, which was a major contributory cause of its later closure in 2003. In each case the strain had been enormous both on the association and Cox, attempting to defend the industry against the weight of government legislation emanating both from London and Brussels. During these crises he was frequently called to attend meetings both with the British and EU governments. Brussels was already no stranger to him having been involved with the ongoing, hugely troublesome and complex EU trade legislation known as The Balai Directive 92/118.

However in 1998 he was granted Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to the leather industry. He attended Buckingham Palace for the investiture.

In 2001 Tony Cox was nominated by the ICHSLTA council to receive the Frank Johnston Award for ‘outstanding dedication to the ICHSLTA council and long service to the leather industry’. This award was made following the ICHSLTA agm which by then was held annually in Hong Kong. ICHSLTA had attended the Asia Pacific Leather Fair since the early 1980s.

Tony Cox has been a familiar face at exhibitions all over the world – he had attended nearly all the editions of Semaine Internationale du Cuir in Paris, from the time of its inception.

Tony was also frequently invited to speak at international meetings and conventions including those of UNCTAD/ WTO, the FAO and UNIDO. He loved the industry and the people he met through his work. At all times during his involvement with the administration of SHALTA and ICHSLTA his wife Carole worked alongside him. They made a powerful team.