All change at Ryden as Morton steps aside

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Ryden, the Edinburgh-based property consultancy, has unveiled a shake-up at the top which will see chairman Fiona Morton leave after almost a quarter of the century at the firm.

Morton, who served two three-year terms as managing partner before taking up the role of chair in 2011, is due to step down from the business in October. She joined Ryden in 1989 but previously trained at the firm in the early 1980s.

Under the management changes, the head of the firm’s fast-growing Aberdeen practice, Bill Duguid, will assume the role of overall managing partner with immediate effect. There are no plans to have a chairman under the new structure.

Morton, who is staying on until the autumn to ensure a “smooth transition for clients”, said she would not be retiring from the world of business. “I am still only 53,” she told The Scotsman. “I am not planning to cease work as such. My current thinking is that I would like to explore opportunities to contribute to other businesses as a non-executive director, but I am at the beginning of that process. I don’t have any firm plans at the moment.”

Morton added: “It has been a great privilege to lead the Ryden business over the last eight years and I am confident in Bill’s ability to take Ryden forward.”

Duguid, who joined the firm in 1985 as a senior surveyor, has led the Aberdeen office since 1997. Over the past 12 years, the size of the operation has quadrupled.

He said: “This is a great business with a strong balance sheet and excellent people. We believe the time is right in improving economic conditions to plan for growth.”

Duguid, an ex-paratrooper, added: “Teamwork across the whole business and working in partnership with clients will be the key to delivering this.”

The changes came as the firm announced a 7 per cent increase in full-year turnover to £11.3 million, driven in large part by a buoyant market in the Granite City. Transactional activity increased by a “very significant” 20 per cent.