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Change of guard

Donaldson retires from family timber business

Retiring: Neil Donaldson

Neil Donaldson has announced his retirement from timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons, and will be succeeded by his son Michael, who represents the sixth generation of the family business.

Mr Donaldson joined the firm in 1975 and took over from his father as managing director in 1985.

During his tenure, he has overseen the expansion of Donaldson’s from a small business in Fife to a national company, operating from 31 sites across the UK. It has more than 1,000 employees and a turnover of circa £225m.

In 1988 he became the first Scottish Chairman of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA). He was also President of the Scottish Timber Trade Association (STTA) from 2004 – 2006 and was President of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) from 2006 – 2008.

Michael Donaldson will co-lead and co-manage the business with his brother, Andrew who took over as chief executive, in April.

Commenting on his retirement, Mr Donaldson said: “I have been extremely fortunate to have spent my career working with something I love, making a product that I love, in a business where I have been able to develop it into what I think it should be.

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“I always wanted to work for the family business – I have wood in my DNA – and I think I can say that I’ve made the most of my time here! I always said that I hoped to retire at 65, in our 160th year of business, and the time is definitely right to pass the business on to the next generation.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done with the business over the last 45 years – and indeed over the last 160 – and I’m happy to be going out on a high. To have both Mike and Andy taking over is the ideal scenario and I’m excited to see where they take it next.”

He is former chairman of spa hotel resort, Crieff Hydro; former chairman of Securities Trust Scotland; and the current chairman of Baillie Gifford’s Shin Nippon in Japan.



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