Editorial: Dr Stewart Murray – Metallurgist, CEO, Ultimate Professional

Ruth Crowell

By Ruth Crowell
Chief Executive, LBMA

I first met Stewart when I walked through the doors of LBMA as a temporary PA to the Chief Executive in 2006. At this point, Stewart was seven years into this role as Chief Executive and had already made substantial innovations to LBMA. He established the annual Precious Metals Conference, expanded the Membership outside of the UK and enhanced the ‘crown jewels’ of LBMA, the Good Delivery System.

Good Delivery – the de facto Global Gold Standard

Stewart was responsible for introducing double blind technical testing for Good Delivery List applications, establishing the Referees Group, creating LBMA Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) and of course founding the Assaying & Refining (A&R) Conference. Put simply, Stewart is the reason LBMA’s Good Delivery system leads the world.

He not only set up the governance and testing process to be indisputable, Stewart also supported the world’s leading assay labs to come together and challenge one another, in order to create better and higher standards from which the entire industry benefits. Prior to joining LBMA, Stewart was already one of – if not the – leading gold industry expert.

He set up Gold Fields Mineral Services (GFMS) serving as Chief Executive for nine years continuing the work of publishing the Gold Survey which Consolidated Gold Fields (CGF) had pioneered in the late 1960s. His extensive knowledge and contacts from his time at GFMS served LBMA well. He was able to expand LBMA Membership globally to key stakeholders in all major markets and brought the annual Conference to be run by the industry it served, moving it away from the Financial Times’ control. ‘By the industry, for the industry’ continues to be the tag line for this flagship event which now attracts over 800 delegates from all over the world. The Conference is a key moment in the industry event calendar, firmly established by Stewart with the first Conference held in Dubai in 2000.

Traveling to India, Japan and China with Stewart to organise Conferences and Forums were some of the highlights of my early days at LBMA. He introduced me to so many leading figures in the global industry. He also helped my understanding of the interconnectedness of Good Delivery and what our work meant to people all around the world. He sent me on my own to India, Japan and Peru, always with a solid pre-read, briefing, introduction to the major contacts and an enormous task list. His confidence in me looking
back was incredible. I learned an enormous amount from Stewart. I was far from alone in that, as many people have shared similar sentiments with me since he died.

He was always very generous with his knowledge and a strong advocate for so many of us. A tough task master, but someone who inspired excellence through his own commitment, passion and joy in work.


When I joined Stewart and LBMA on a permanent basis in 2007, the LBMA Executive was very different from today. We had four full-time members of staff and one parttime GDL consultant. Stewart and I basically shared a desk, separated by a low-level divider.

I remember audio typing his Management Committee paper on modern slavery in the gold supply chain in Peru. Once completed, I mentioned my Master’s dissertation was on modern slavery and I would be happy to help if he would like me to. Stewart insisted that I write the paper and present it to the Management Committee. I agreed, despite being completely terrified.

Stewart ensured the Committee listened as well as he could, but they just weren’t ready. I remember being shocked by one member saying: “Come on now Ruth, don’t ruin my day. It’s Christmas”. It would take until 2010, hard US legislation, as well as wisdom from industry leaders for us to get involved.

Stewart left the regulatory work to me. His passion was always the technical Good Delivery side of the business, a legacy which continues to positively impact the market.

I am forever grateful for his support and expertise when I took over as Chief Executive in 2014. He continued to run the Good Delivery system until we appointed our Chief

Technical Officer, Neil Harby, in 2015. From 2015 onwards, however, he was still a guiding force for Good Delivery and we will miss him greatly. I’m grateful for all his years of work with the Referees Group, the A&R Conference and most recently as curator of the Wonders of Gold exhibition.

We all have so much to be grateful to Stewart for, but I think for me and for so many it was his kindness, his true friendship and his laughter over a drink which I will miss the most.

By Ruth Crowell


Ruth Crowell

By Ruth Crowell
Chief Executive, LBMA