South Scotland

Duke to step down as Buccleuch chairman

Duke of Buccleuch Image copyright Buccleuch Group
Image caption The duke will step down in March as chairman of the Buccleuch group

The Duke of Buccleuch is to step down as chairman of the group representing his family's business interests.

He will leave the post at the beginning of March - shortly after his 65th birthday.

Benny Higgins, former Tesco Bank chief executive officer, will take his place as chairman of the Buccleuch group.

The duke's elder son, the Earl of Dalkeith, will become deputy chairman while John Glen leaves his current chief executive role.

Image copyright Clive Nicholson
Image caption Bowhill House in the Borders is part of Buccleuch's operations

He will focus on a strategic review of large-scale energy projects which are at a "critical phase in their development".

The Buccleuch Group has a range of interests but at its heart is a "vast land resource" running to hundreds of thousands of acres.

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.

Image copyright Buccleuch
Image caption The group owns a "vast land resource" much of it in the south of Scotland

"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."

The duke said the group had endured some difficult years following the 2008 financial crash but was now trading profitably and was committed to driving forward its business objectives.

What does the Buccleuch group do?

Image copyright Billy McCrorie
Image caption Tourism is part of the Buccleuch portfolio including Drumlanrig Castle near Thornhill

The organisation has a wide range of business interests including:

  • Managing hundreds of thousands of acres of land on a number of estates including Boughton in Northamptonshire, Queensberry and Borders in southern Scotland and Dalkeith Country Park
  • Energy projects such as the Glenmuckloch wind farm and pumped storage scheme near Kirkconnel
  • Tourism and hospitality with sites like Bowhill House, Drumlanrig Castle and the Crawick Multiverse
  • Property with residential developments in London, housing in the central belt of Scotland and the Borders and hotels throughout the UK
  • Rural business including a forest tree nursery, dog food production and Buccleuch beef

Source: Buccleuch Group website

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."

Image copyright Buccleuch
Image caption Mr Higgins said he looked forward to taking over as chairman and contributing to the "prosperity of rural Scotland"

He said he was "absolutely delighted" to see Mr Higgins take over.

Mr Higgins 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."

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.

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