Former director of the Company of Master Jewellers, Judith Hart, says whomever succeeds Willie Hamilton as the groups’ chief exec is going to find he is a difficult act to follow.

Talking exclusively to Professional Jeweller, Hart comments: “As a member I can only hope that the new board of directors are aware of the loss to the group of this dynamic and sometimes flamboyant CEO.

“I was privileged to work with Willie over the ten years that he has transformed the CMJ from the small, sleepy buying group to the progressive, industry leading business that it is today. However the future direction of the CMJ is firmly with the board and whomever succeeds Willie is going to find that he is a very difficult act to follow.”


Judith Hart was on the buying group’s board until 2014, when she retired from her position. Today, Hart remains a retail member of the CMJ with her business Judith Hart Jewellers.

Reflecting on her time working with Hamilton, Hart says his “reactive and progressive” leadership led to phenomenal growth, noting that in particular that his intellect and negotiating skills helped forge a relationship between Pandora and many independent retailers, which in turn benefited the trade as a whole.

“Many people benefited from ‘Willie’s Wisdom’ and he took time to visit and suggest ideas that helped members when they encountered difficulties within their business,” Hart shares.

Hart also says Hamilton was proud to forge with CIBJO and had a passion for Fairtrade, which he promoted to the industry. He also knew how to network and throw a party, which on a serious note resulted in young people being more attracted to the trade and Hamilton used this to encourage succession planning.

The jeweller concludes: “Above all of this I firmly believe that the jewellery industry as a whole would not be the same without the influence of Willie Hamiltion.”