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Board level changes

Mann steps down as pound hits Woodlands profits

Colin Mann Ralland BrowneScottish Woodlands boss Colin Mann is standing down amid major board level changes, as the forest management company blames the strong pound for a dip in profits.

The group, which is 80% employee-owned, unveiled pre-tax profits of £1.32 million for the 12 months to the end of September– down from £1.56m the year before – and also announced changes at senior level in the business which are described as a succession plan. Turnover dipped to £69.5m, from £73.8m.

Mann is leaving the post of managing director he has held since a management buy-out of the company in 2005, and will become deputy chairman. He will be succeeded in April by deputy MD Ralland Browne, who has been with Scottish Woodlands for 29 years.

Commenting on the results, Mr Mann said: “We are very pleased with our 2014/15 results because, although turnover and profit are very slightly down on last year, this was largely because of the strength of sterling and not because of less activity in our markets.”

The latest figures are up on the 2012/13 financial year, when the forestry firm reported a £63.9m turnover and £1.23m in pre-tax profits.

Other senior changes at Scottish Woodlands include Geoff Craythorne, who finishes his term as finance director and company secretary. He is handing over the roles to Richard Walker, previously Chief Accountant. And chairman Tom A Bruce Jones retires from office after a decade and hands over to his son, Tom R Bruce Jones.

Mann added: “Although our board level changes sound significant, they are part of a well-organised and carefully thought-out succession plan. They will assist the business in expanding into the next chapter of our development in what is now one of the country’s most vibrant industries – a sector worth £1 billion according to Forestry Commission research.”

The Edinburgh-headquartered company employs 141 people and has 85 “staff shareholders”. It is one of the larger employee-controlled companies in Scotland, although operations also cover the main forest growing areas of northern England and Wales.

Photo: Colin Mann and Ralland Browne

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