Appointed just two weeks before the society’s flagship event – the Royal Highland Show – Laidlaw, 38, from East Lothian will officially take up the reigns of the organisation at the end of summer.
Currently head of property at The Crown Estate in Scotland, the society said that Laidlaw’s role will be to strengthen its influence in promoting and protecting the interests of land based industries on behalf of its 15,000 members.
He will also oversee the £20 million investment in the 280-acre Royal Highland Centre site at Ingliston, adjacent to Edinburgh Airport.
A passionate advocate for engaging the next generation and strengthening the relationship between producer and consumer, Laidlaw will also work with the board of The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) to create a food literate generation through the charity’s extensive outdoor learning programme.
RHASS Chairman Willie Gill said: “Alan’s commercial, business and property experience, combined with his obvious passion for the success of Scotland’s rural economy, makes him an ideal candidate for this position. He impressed us with his understanding and appreciation of the Society’s aims and objectives and gave us every comfort that he has the skills and drive to deliver our charitable aims.”
Stating that he was deeply honoured and excited at the appointment, Laidlaw said he would be able to look at the show with fresh eyes before taking over.