On the move: executives taking on senior roles
A roundup of some of the more significant recent appointments across Scotland
Dr Tom McNeilly takes on the role of scientific director and chief executive at the Moredun Group in October. The group which promotes livestock health and welfare through research and education includes the Mordun Research Institute and Moredun Scientific which specialises in animal health and aquaculture product development and biosafety testing. McNeilly, who joined the institute in 2006, has been a head of department since 2016. The qualified veterinary surgeon, immunologist and infectious disease biologist takes over from Professor Julie Fitzpatrick who has led the organisation for nearly 20 years.
Fergus Thomson and Lucy Murray will lead the newly formed Rural Asset Management division at property firm Rettie & Co. Former Scotland rugby international Thomson, a chartered surveyor, joined Rettie in 2021, while rural consultant Lucy Murray started with the company in 2017. Both are based at the firm’s Berwick office. Meanwhile associate director, Hugh Rettie, has moved to head up the firm’s Borders office in Melrose, following eight years in the Edinburgh lettings team.
Scottish Financial Enterprise, the member body for Scotland’s financial services industry, is welcoming Ben Rose as director of public policy and communications and Christina Anthoulaki as programme director. Rose was senior public policy manager for NatWest Group – and was chair of SFE’s public affairs and communications forum between 2021 and 2023. Rose replaces Sandy MacDonald, who has been appointed executive director, impact assessment and reporting, at Scottish National Investment Bank. In a new role designed to ensure SFE’s key programmes are delivered in line with Scotland’s Financial Services Strategy, Anthoulaki brings experience from NatWest Group and law firm Mishcon de Reya.
ThinkPR has promoted account director Leigh-Ann Rogie to be managing director. Specialising in internal and crisis communications, Rogie joined the firm in 2019. Clients for the Aberdeen-based agency’s recently-secured marketing projects include Spirit Energy, Hazchem Safety, 3t Transform and SBP Accountants.
James Taylor joined Rangers Football Club as chief finance officer (CFO) in September. A chartered accountant, Taylor moved from Zonal, the hospitality solutions provider, where he was CFO, having previously held similar roles at Mastercard and Yoyo. As well as 20 years of financial experience, Taylor has personal ties to the football industry with his father, David, having served as both the Scottish FA chief executive and UEFA general secretary.
The merger of two Scottish law firms to form MORTON FRASER MACROBERTS sees Chris Harte of Morton Fraser becoming chief executive and Neil Kennedy of MacRoberts taking on the role of chief operating officer. Subject to approvals, the merger is expected to go live on 1 November.
The commercial services practice at law firm Brodies has been strengthened by a trio of appointments. Alison Bryce joins as partner from Dentons and brings more than 20 years of experience with a focus on IP and innovation in the food and drink, fintech and green energy sectors. Also joining the commercial services team from Dentons are associates Ally Burr and Rebecca Ronney.
Don Johnstone takes up the position of chief executive at Visit Inverness Loch Ness in October. He joins the tourism business improvement district from VisitScotland, having previously worked for Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.
Charles Norman joined Golden Charter, the funeral plan provider, as its chief executive on 1 September. Formerly managing director of DriveTech and finance director of the AA Road Services, Norman succeeds Suzanne Grahame who will play a consultative role.
Hub North Scotland, the community infrastructure development partner for 16 public sector authorities, has a new leadership structure. Richard Park is promoted from his role as developments director to become chief executive, while Paul McGirk becomes non-executive chair. McGirk has had executive responsibility for the business since it was last re-organised in 2019.
A chief of spaceport operations has been appointed by Orbex, the UK-based spaceflight company. Lesley Still will take take charge of developing the Sutherland Spaceport ahead of the launch of Orbex Prime, the mainland’s inaugural vertical rocket launch. An aerospace veteran, Still’s career began at British Airways, then working for Loganair and Bond Offshore Helicopters, before managing Sumburgh airport in Shetland.
A former chief executive of the Scotland 5G Centre has joined Clarus Networks Group, a connectivity and network specialist based in Bathgate, as chief technology officer. Paul Coffey takes up his post as Clarus has almost tripled revenue over the last year and doubled the number of employees. It is one of a handful of companies chosen to partner with Starlink, Elon Musk’s low orbit satellite system providing high-speed, low-latency broadband internet service.
Fife gin and whisky distiller Eden Mill has appointed Rennie Donaldson as chief executive following the departure of its co-founder and managing director Paul Miller. Donaldson joined Eden Mill as chief operating officer in February 2022 from William Grant & Sons where he was head of corporate development. Eden Mill’s distillery and visitor centre is due to open next summer at St Andrews University’s Eden Campus at Guardbridge.
Fife-based Muir Group has appointed Martin Smith as its chief executive. Smith joins from ISG where he was director of operations for major projects, having held senior management positions at Miller Construction, Robertson Group and Interserve Construction. However, Smith’s first role in the industry was in 1994 as an engineer with Muir Group. The group has six subsidiaries including construction, homes, timber systems, property development and property investment arms, as well as owning and operating Deer Park Golf and Country Club in Livingston.