Gilbert, who recently retired as chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments after establishing the company as Aberdeen Asset Management in 1983, will succeed Eleanor Cannon at the end of her six-year term at Scottish Golf’s AGM in March.
It is a great move by the governing body as Gilbert, who has just become a non-executive director of the European Tour, has supported the Scottish game for over 20 years, first through Aberdeen Asset Management then Aberdeen Standard Investments.
Under Gilbert’s guidance, the two companies have sponsored some of Scotland’s top professionals, including Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie an Catriona Matthew, and are now title sponsor of both Scottish Opens, as well as backing the game at grass-roots level through Scottish Golf.
“This is a tremendous coup for golf in Scotland and the entire board is delighted that Martin, whose passion and support for the sport are very widely known, has agreed to take on this role next year,” said Cannon.
“His achievements, both in business globally and in his role as the biggest supporter of Scottish Golf over the past two decades, speak for themselves and I am sure his dynamic approach will allow Scottish Golf to flourish.
“I am extremely pleased that our members and our sport will benefit from Martin’s guidance and undoubted love for golf in the years ahead.”
Gilbert, who is close to both Lawrie and Marc Warren, added: “As many people know, golf has been a lifelong passion of mine and I’m hugely excited to be taking up this role in the home of golf.
“I commend Eleanor and her team for their sterling leadership of the new, amalgamated body since its inception in 2015.
“The strategic direction that has been adopted by Scottish Golf is bold and exciting. I am very much looking forward to progressing this strategy and working closely with the board, the team and the membership in continuing to develop the game, at all levels, in Scotland.”
Lawrie led a chorus of praise for Scottish Golf’s success in securing the services of Gilbert, saying it was a “fantastic appointment”.
The 65-year-old, who became chairman of Revoult, Britain’s most valuable tech start-up, in January, is the perfect person to be taking over from Cannon.
The governing body has gone through some choppy waters over the past few years, with Hamish Grey, Blane Dodds and Andrew McKinlay all having come and gone as chief executive since the amalgamated body was formed.
Karin Sharp is now running the ship in her role as chief operating officer, supported by Iain Forsyth, the chief commercial officer, and they can look forward to being guided by a steady hand in Gilbert.
The news comes hot on the heels of Lawrie and fellow major winner Catriona Matthew signing up to help deliver the next generation of Sottish champions through a mentoring programme with the country’s top young talent.
The duo will also contribute to a broad review into the structure of Scottish Golf’s performance programmes and player pathway.