Change at top
Higgins to succeed duke as Buccleuch group chairman
Stepping down: the Duke of Buccleuch
Former banker Benny Higgins is to take over as executive chairman of the Buccleuch property investment and land management group from the Duke of Buccleuch who is stepping down next month after his 65th birthday.
Mr Higgins (pictured below), a former chief executive at Tesco Bank and veteran of the financial services sector, has been a non-executive director at Buccleuch for six years.
The Duke’s elder son, the Earl of Dalkeith, will become deputy chairman while John Glen will move from his current role of CEO to focus on a strategic review of large-scale energy projects which are at a critical phase in their development.
The Duke said: “The last decade had seen a transformation of the group with promising diversification into important new areas and the modernisation of our management structures and practices.
“I am pleased to announce the end of my chairmanship at a time when the business is in a very healthy position. I express warm appreciation to John Glen for his huge part in achieving that and pay to tribute to the energy and commitment of everyone within the group who has made it possible.”
He said: “Buccleuch, like many businesses, has to continually adapt and change. The implementation of a strategy to reduce our overall rural footprint and realise property sales, while continuing to invest in a range of projects which contribute to the rural economy, has proved successful and means the business is well-placed to face the challenges and opportunities which Brexit and the future may bring.
“Buccleuch is engaged in a diverse range of business activity. We have an accomplished and settled management structure in place and the time is also right for us to assess the potential of our significant interests in the energy sector.”
The Duke added: “I am absolutely delighted that Benny Higgins has accepted the board’s invitation. With his huge experience in business and finance, he will ensure we make the most of recent investments and the talents of our workforce and his passion for culture and the arts ties in closely with our own family vision.”
The Duke will continue to be involved in heritage elements of the family holdings, including historic houses and the art collection, and will continue to chair the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust.
Mr Higgins’ career has taken him to Standard Life, RBS and HBOS. He chaired the government-appointed group which recommended the setting up of a Scottish National Investment Bank. He was recently appointed honorary professor at Glasgow University’s Adam Smith Business School and is chairman of the National Galleries of Scotland.
Speaking of his appointment at Buccleuch, he said: “The group has taken tremendous strides recently and I look forward to working with the family and everyone within Buccleuch to make sure that we contribute as richly and widely as possible to the prosperity of rural Scotland.”