Iconic shortbread maker Walker’s in safe hands appointing ex-goalkeeper as new MD

Shortbread maker Walker’s has kept it in the family after appointing a new managing director.

Nicky Walker, who kept goal for Rangers, Heart of Midlothian and a string of othe clubs, joined the iconic Scottish food firm 25 years ago, was appointed to the board in 2007 as production director, and is said to have been instrumental, working alongside his late father, Joe, in developing the company’s facilities in Aberlour and Elgin.

He said: “It is an enormous honour to be given this responsibility to lead the family business. As joint-managing directors, my father and my Uncle James transformed what was a village bakery into an internationally-renowned business and brand.

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“Working with other members of the fourth generation and an outstanding board and management team, I am confident we will achieve great success together.”

The board of Walker’s Shortbread announced that Nicky Walker has been appointed managing director with immediate effect.

Bryony Walker, daughter of former joint- MD Jim, has been appointed to the company’s executive committee in the role of head of commercial strategy, reporting to commercial director Steve McCarney.

Jim now steps aside from day-to-day responsibilities after 60 years of active service but will continue as a director and will represent the company in an ambassadorial capacity.

He said: “I am delighted that my nephew Nicky is taking on the position of managing director. His late father and I shared this role for almost 60 years, working closely with our sister Marjorie and it is very rewarding to be passing the reins to the next generation who are ably supported by a fantastic board and professional management team.”

Chairman Bob Brannan added: “These are exciting times. With a clear vision, focused strategy and a strengthened executive committee, Walker’s is a great example of how an international brand can thrive under consistent, long-term, family ownership.”

In October, the firm, which ranks as one of Scotland’s top food exporters, said it was struggling to find sufficient production staff to meet demand as it battles the fallout from Brexit.

Publishing financial results for the year to December 2020, described by bosses as the “toughest in living memory”, the food producer warned that trading conditions continued to be challenging in the current year.

The firm, based in Aberlour-on-Spey, released results which showed turnover declining to £132.4 million, compared to £148.8m in the prior year.

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