A former regional daily reporter who went on to set up his own communications consultancy has died in France of a brain tumour at the age of 47.
He left the title in 1987 to become media relations manager with British Airways, during which he volunteered to help out rivals PanAm in the wake of the Lockerbie bombing, and went on to a series of PR roles, including with Airbus and Vodafone.
Derek, who lived in Toulouse, France, set up his own consultancy in 2011, Dekros Communication, but became ill last March and has now died from an inoperable brain tumour.
An obituary in The Courier said that he took his first steps into the world of newspapers as an evening copy boy for the paper, an experience which convinced him that he wanted to be a journalist.
Derek became a trainee reporter with the DC Thomson titles in 1982 and worked in their Dundee and Cupar offices before becoming The Courier’s aviation reporter.
He then spent eight years with British Airways, leading the PR campaign for the proposed Heathrow Terminal Five and led media coverage of several high-profile accidents and the handling of flights home of Middle East hostages.
On the night of the Lockerbie disaster in 1988, he walked into the London HQ of rivals PanAm and volunteered to help, taking calls throughout the night from relatives and the world media.
In 1996, Derek became head of internal communications with Airbus in Toulouse and launched the company magazine.
He moved to Barcelona as head of communications for General Electric in 2003, then joined Vodafone in Berkshire in 2007 as head of internal communications, before moving back to Budapest as chief corporate communications executive for Norwegian telecoms company Telenor in 2009.
Derek set up his own consultancy business, Dekros Communication, in 2011 and landed contracts with General Electric and another American giant, Tyco.
He met his wife Florence while on holiday in St Tropez and they married in 1994.
Derek enjoyed skiing, cycling and running and as a schoolboy had been selected for the Scotland under-15 rugby squad.
He leaves Florence, daughter Alexa, son Jacques, his parents Ron and Wilma and brother Colin.