One of Scotland’s largest landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch, is to step down as chairman of Buccleuch Estates next month as part of a management shake-up.
The Duke announced he will leave his role with the group, which comprises the business interests of the Buccleuch family, at the beginning of March, shortly after his 65th birthday. He will be succeeded by former Tesco Bank chief Benny Higgins, who has spent six years as a non-executive director of the family group.
The Duke’s elder son, the Earl of Dalkeith, will take up the position of deputy chairman. He is currently working for Native Land, a London based property company with which Buccleuch is closely involved.
At the same time, John Glen will move from his current role of chief executive of Buccleuch to focus on a “strategic review of large-scale energy projects which are at a critical phase in their development”.
The Duke said: “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 tribute to the energy and commitment of everyone within the group who has made it possible.”
Buccleuch recently joined forces with developer PSL to draw up plans for a proposed film and TV studio complex on its estate at Salter’s Gate near Dalkeith, just outside Edinburgh.
In September, the group announced the sale of a 9,000-acre estate at Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway, expected to generate more than £19 million as it looks to reduce its rural land footprint.
The Duke added: “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.”
The family’s portfolio includes estates at Bowhill, Queensberry, Dalkeith and Langholm.
Higgins said that he was excited by the opportunities offered by the position, adding: “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.”