The UK’s leading independent timber and construction supplier, Donaldson Group, has appointed Alyson Donaldson as Group Chief Financial Officer.

Alyson joins the Group from leading global veterinary care provider, IVC Evidensia, where she was UK & ROI Chief Financial Officer. Here she was responsible for the UK-wide finance operations for the billion-pound business, with a focus on transformation and performance improvement.

Alyson was promoted to the post at IVC Evidensia after working as Chief Financial Officer for its major subsidiary, Vets Now. Prior to this she spent eight years in senior finance and strategy roles at Diageo, latterly as Finance Director, International Supply, where she was responsible for managing a large global finance community and performance of a multi-billion pound cost base.

A chartered accountant, Alyson started her career at KPMG LLP on their graduate training programme. She graduated from Stirling University with a first-class degree in accounting and economics, and in 2020 she completed a post-graduate course in Leadership, Strategy and Innovation with Napier University.

Alyson is the first female Donaldson family member to join the Group in an executive role, in its 163-year history. She succeeds Arlene Cairns who took on the role of CFO in 2020.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Donaldson, CEO of Donaldson Group, said: “The board and I are thrilled to have Alyson joining us as Group CFO. She has an impressive track record of demonstrative success, leading finance functions and driving strategic transformational change and improvements in industry-leading organisations. She will be a fantastic addition to our senior leadership team and we’re all very much looking forward to working with her. This is also a very proud milestone for us as a family business, as we welcome another Donaldson into the Group.”

Alyson adds: “As a family business, this is so much more than a career move for me; it’s something I feel incredibly passionate about. I’m looking forward to working with the Group Executive and finance team, supporting the business as it continues to pioneer in its market, and I’m excited to be contributing to the success of the business for now and for generations to come.”

Currently led by the sixth generation of Donaldson, the 163-year-old Donaldson Group comprises a total of 16 specialist timber and building product businesses and brands, operating throughout the UK from 49 locations employing over 1,700 people. The businesses that make up the Group trade and operate independently, sharing best practice, innovation, purchasing synergies, and market analysis.

Leading timber expert, Donaldson Group, has appointed Graeme Bell as Operations Director of the Interiors division, in addition to his existing position as Director of Smith & Frater.

In his new role, Graeme will be responsible for strategy development for the businesses within the Interiors division, including Kitchens International, Smith & Frater, Stonecare, Optima Kitchens, and MGM Kitchens. Working with Gerry Watson, CEO of Interiors, and the divisional board, Graeme will play a key role in meeting ambitious growth goals, while retaining quality and service.

Graeme brings 37 years of experience in the furniture manufacturing industry, having worked in kitchen manufacturing, across procurement as well as operations and commercial management, for 25 years. He joined Smith & Frater in 2010 as Operations Manager and was later promoted to Commercial Manager, before taking on his current roles as Operations Director of the Interiors division and Director of Smith & Frater. As a leading supplier to the independent retailer and construction industries, Smith & Frater manufactures bespoke kitchens from its production facility in central Scotland.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Donaldson, CEO of Donaldson Group, said: “As the Donaldson Group continues to invest in its interiors offering, we are delighted to bring Graeme on board to drive growth within the division. With a wealth of experience at Smith & Frater, Graeme has a thorough understanding of the opportunities and challenges for the Interiors brands in order to take them to the next level.”

Graeme added: “I am excited to take on this new role as Operations Director within the Interiors division. This is a fantastic opportunity as the Donaldson Group expands its interiors offering, on the back of the newly launched MGM Kitchens brand. I look forward to continuing to work with my team as well as new colleagues to grow the businesses within the division while delivering the high-quality products and services that our customers rely on.”

Currently led by the sixth generation of Donaldson, the 162-year-old Donaldson Group comprises a total of 17 specialist timber and building product businesses and brands, operating throughout the UK from 46 locations employing over 1,700 people. The businesses that make up the Group trade and operate independently, sharing best practice, innovation, purchasing synergies, and market analysis.

Scotland’s largest independent specialist timber merchant, MGM Timber, has increased its interiors offering with its dedicated kitchen brand, MGM Kitchens.

MGM Kitchens products are available to view in showrooms at 12 of MGM Timber’s sites across Scotland.

Open to both trade and public customers, MGM Kitchens is now the UK’s largest partner of Baumann group’s Kitchen Family, becoming the leading independent supplier of German trade kitchens throughout the nation, providing access to the full Bauformat and Burger collections of precision-crafted, German-engineered, high-quality kitchens.

As well as its collection of innovative German kitchens, MGM Kitchens also supplies premium brand appliances, sinks and taps, including Neff and Hotpoint appliances, and German Blanco sinks and taps.

Paul Brown, regional kitchen development manager for MGM Kitchens, said: “All over the world, German innovation and engineering is highly sought after as it is a hallmark of design quality, precision and the highest standards. That’s why we are particularly pleased to be the UK’s largest partner of the Bauformat kitchen family, which is one of Germany’s most respected manufacturers. Together we will deliver everyday functionality underpinned by state-of-the-art design to result in personalised, outstanding kitchens for every home and every budget.

“For all of our customers, buying is as easy and quick as possible. With one single point of contact from concept to completion, our customers will have high-quality products and all the help and support they need, which is an ethos shared across the rest of the Donaldson Group.”

MGM Kitchens can be viewed at most of the MGM Timber merchant branches and are open to both trade and public customers. The 12 branches across Scotland are located in Clydebank, Dundee, Dunfermline, Edinburgh (Newcraighall), Edinburgh City (Lochend), Glenrothes, Grangemouth, Hamilton, Inverness, Paisley, Perth and Prestwick.

Leading timber expert, Donaldson Group, has appointed Mark Murphy as Chief Risk Officer in a newly created role.

Mark’s appointment will see him join the Group’s board and executive team, and follows a period of significant growth for the business. As Chief Risk Officer, Mark will continue to support the expansion of the Group into a more diverse product range and service offering through the ongoing delivery of a risk management strategy. By building on the safety culture which has been driven by him and his team to date, and also creating and implementing standardised best practices across the Group, Mark will continue to identify and mitigate risks to make the business more resilient and more secure for stakeholders, and especially for colleagues.

Mark joined Donaldson Group in 1986 as a management trainee before taking roles as a production assistant, quality assurance representative, stock manager and mill foreman. He then moved into systems management firstly as integrated systems manager, and then head of occupational risk and compliance management.

Mark has a MSc in quality assurance and throughout his time with the Group, he has led many advancements and improvements, including developing roof truss offloading procedures that later became the standard specification for the main housebuilder forum; developed and installed a mobile phone app for emergency procedures, which was noted by insurers as best in class; and implemented the health and safety training and e-learning system across the Group, which was recognised by external auditors as the best in the industry.

This breadth of experience with the business over three decades gives Mark a thorough understanding of the Group’s strengths and challenges, and the needs of the evolving business.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Donaldson, CEO of Donaldson Group, said: “Creating the role of Chief Risk Officer not only reflects the Group’s commitment to a sustainable future for the business through our ESG strategy and dedication to continuous improvement, but it also recognises the significant impact Mark and his team have made over the last few years. Mark is a highly respected member of the Donaldson Group – both with colleagues and with customers – and this is a very well deserved promotion.”

Mark added: “Given my new role, it’s hard to believe I started with Donaldson Group before the internet was invented. There has been a lot of change over the last 30 years, and we have welcomed many new team members in recent times, but throughout this growth I continue to love working for the business.

“I am fortunate to have visited every site in the Group and I believe we have the best colleagues who all want to strive for the same objectives: to make customers happy; to act and behave safely and with integrity; and to be a sustainable business. I’m proud that both of my sons work for the company, which I think also represents the family core values of the Group. This is an exciting opportunity to further develop our safety and risk processes and overall culture, and I’m looking forward to working with the board to drive this forward.”

Leading timber expert, Donaldson Group, has appointed Graham Johnston as CEO of its Retail and Distribution division in a newly created role.

Graham joins the Donaldson Group from ASDA where he was senior director of omnichannel customer support, running a large UK and international operation alongside delivering a technology and cultural transformation programme to provide an innovative customer experience for millions of customers, across multiple channels. He also spent a decade at Hutchison 3G UK (Three), where he was most recently head of omnichannel, responsible for the creation, deployment, and delivery of a strategy to provide best-in-class customer experience across online, app, retail, contact centres, and indirect channels.

Following a period of growth and expansion, Graham’s new role forms part of a new structure for the Group and the creation of three new divisions: Offsite, Interiors, and Retail and Distribution.

Graham will be responsible for leading the Retail and Distribution division of the business, including timber merchant MGM Timber; distributor of insulation and drylining products James Donaldson Insulation; Nu-Style Products, which manufactures Perform Panel, a high-performance wet wall panel; and Plane & Simple, an online DIY marketplace.

He will work alongside the CEOs of Offsite and Interiors divisions and will collaborate across the key areas of the business, with a key focus on innovation. The vision is to leverage the individual online and offline businesses to harmonise them and create a seamless customer experience.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Donaldson, CEO of Donaldson Group, said: “Retail behaviours have been evolving across all industries, with a move toward online purchasing being expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic. As our Group portfolio continues to grow, we aim to ensure that our offering grows with our business and with our customers. Graham’s excellent experience optimising multiple customer channels for globally-recognised brands is an enormous asset to the Donaldson Group, and we are looking forward to his expertise and insight as we develop our own retail and distribution channels.”

Graham added: “Bringing together the physical and digital retail businesses is a refreshing and forward-thinking move by the Donaldson Group, and I’m delighted to be joining this newly formed division as CEO.

“Joining a business that has such a rich history of innovation and growth over the past 162 years is a real honour and I’m looking forward to working with our talented teams across the group to carry on that spirit of innovation and shape the next chapter for the retail and distribution business.”

Currently led by the sixth generation of Donaldson, the 162-year-old Donaldson Group comprises a total of 17 specialist timber and building product businesses and brands, operating throughout the UK from 46 locations employing over 1600 people. The businesses that make up the Group trade and operate independently, sharing best practice, innovation, purchasing synergies, and market analysis.

As the Donaldson Group has been around for over 162 years, it’s no surprise that the business has evolved gradually over this time. However, its growth has accelerated massively over the last few years with multiple acquisitions, a business re-organisation and re-brand as well as a change in the business name from James Donaldson & Sons to Donaldson Group.

All of these positive changes point to the forward-thinking vision for the group as the sixth generation of the Donaldson family look to build for the next generation.

For example, one of the aforementioned acquisitions, Stewart Milne Timber Systems (which has now rebranded as Donaldson Timber Systems), saw the group become market leader in the timber frame market and further secure its place within the future of housebuilding, thanks to timber being the sustainable solution for UK House builders.

But future proofing the business doesn’t stop there. The business has also embraced innovation, as it continues to modernise its offering to its customers, through the latest in Continuous Improvement initiatives, as well as expanding its presence in the e-commerce space with the likes of MGM Timber, TimberCut4U and its new online DIY market-place

As such, Donaldson Group has been shortlisted for some upcoming awards, in recognition of its achievements and to also celebrate the direction it’s headed in.

Deals and Dealmakers Awards 2022

The Scottish Business Insider Deals & Dealmakers Awards acknowledge and reward excellence in corporate finance transactions. This year, Donaldson Group has been shortlisted in two categories, as a result of its acquisition of Kitchens International, Stonecare and Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS) which all took place in 2021.

Taking place on Thursday 25th August, Donaldson Group is a finalist in the following categories:

  • Acquisitive Company of the Year
  • Transformational Deal of the Year

Chief Financial Officer, Arlene Cairns, comments on the awards shortlist: “We are delighted that Donaldson Group has been shortlisted for these awards. The acquisitions of Kitchens International, Stonecare and Donaldson Timber Systems (formerly SMTS), have added great skills, experience and leadership expertise in their respective fields to the Group.”

Arlene continues: “SMTS was the biggest acquisition the group has ever made and overnight, we became the market leader for timber frame, further strengthening our plans of building a sustainable business and supporting a sustainable industry. We’re really excited about playing our part in the future of industry.”

The Herald Digital Transformation Awards 2022

The Herald Digital Transformation awards recognise Scottish businesses from across all industries and sectors who are using digital technology in new and innovative ways, as well as recognising those extraordinary individuals who are setting trends, showing passion and creativity, and making a significant contribution to their sector.

Donaldson Group has been shortlisted for two awards, both of which speak to the business embracing innovation and also empowering talent for the future.

3D Design Technician Euan Gibson-Smith has been named as a finalist for the Digital Young Person of the Year Award, thanks to his lead role in designing an online kitchen selector tool which will allow housebuilders and their customers to specify and visualise their kitchen in a high-resolution 3D render.

Euan’s skill, knowledge and attitude towards learning and challenging convention in a somewhat traditional industry, has enabled the business to create an offering that is revolutionary within the industry.

Euan comments: “I feel very privileged to be shortlisted for this award, and I feel that this nomination reflects the hard work of the whole project team. Managing a large project from start to finish has taught me so much, and I want to thank the Donaldson Group for recognising and representing my efforts, putting me forward for Digital Young Person of the Year. I cannot wait to see what my future holds at the company!”

MGM Timber, a Donaldson Group family company, has also been shortlisted for the Digital Marketing Campaign award. After launching a new e-commerce website in November 2020 which enabled it to continue to service customers despite lockdown restrictions, a digital marketing strategy was implemented to help drive sales through the website. Since the launch of campaign in March 2021 until June 2022, the ecommerce website generated a revenue of over £2.2million – with 50% of this revenue being contributed from digital paid channels and thanks to this success, has allowed for a model for forward digital marketing investment.

Managing Director of MGM Timber, Steve Galbraith, comments: “When the pandemic hit and the country went into lockdown, we wanted to ensure we were still able to meet the needs of our customers, even if they couldn’t visit our branches. By transforming our website into an e-commerce platform, not only was the business able to survive during a really challenging time, but it had a massive impact on our revenue and as such it is now a critical channel for future revenue growth as well as optimising our customer’s experience.”

Andrew Donaldson, Group CEO comments: “As the sixth generation of the Donaldson family, my brother Mike and I are caretakers for the next generation, and as such, we need to ensure what we are doing in the business today, is building for tomorrow. Being a 162-year-old timber company, we are in the fortunate position of providing a sustainable resource and we are able to lead the way through timber frame, modern methods of construction and offsite manufacturing.”

He continues, “Not only that, but we want to ensure that we continue to provide a number one customer experience – ensuring we are giving our customers what they want. This is why embracing innovation through initiatives such as our kitchen selector tool and MGM ecommerce website is so important and so we will continue to expand and improve our offering to make sure it matches the needs of our diverse customer base.”

3 August 2022

The Donaldson Group announces senior appointment

Leading timber expert, Donaldson Group, has appointed Steve Galbraith as Managing Director of two of its merchant retail and distribution subsidiary businesses, in addition to his existing position as Managing Director of Nu-Style Products.

In his new role, Steve will take on the management of Scotland’s leading independent timber merchant, MGM Timber and insulation material and specialist building product supplier, James Donaldson Insulation.

With responsibility for the development of the businesses, Steve will be supported by MGM Timber’s senior leadership team, and James Donaldson Insulation. The teams will play a key role in meeting ambitious growth goals, as well as building on their already prominent reputations.

Well known in the industry, Steve has 23 years of experience in merchanting and distribution. He joined the Donaldson Group in 2018 as commercial director of Nu-Style Products, where he was brought on board to support the company’s UK-wide growth trajectory. A high-quality laminate panel manufacturer, Nu-Style Products is best known for its shower panel brand, Perform Panel, which the business has been manufacturing for over 35 years.

Steve became Managing Director of Nu-Style Products in April 2019, and has been leading the five-year strategy for the business, which has included a £1 million investment to increase both capacity and the opening of its first branch in England. New machinery and an upgraded site has substantially increased production capacity for Perform Panel, enabling Nu-Style Products to grow sales across the UK, while boosting the product range, moving from 16 decors to over 50.

Before joining Nu-Style Products, Steve worked at SIG for 19 years in a number of roles, including internal and external sales, warehouse and stock control, multi-site management and, most recently, for 10 years as branch director of SIG in Aberdeen and Inverness.

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Donaldson, CEO of Donaldson Group, said: “Steve has proved to be an excellent leader over the last four years with Nu-Style Products. He has taken the business through a transitional period, with a new branch in England and a second to follow before the end of the year. He’s ideally placed to work with the excellent teams at MGM Timber and James Donaldson Insulation to take both businesses to the next level, and I look forward to seeing them develop under his leadership.”

Steve added: “This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m proud to be taking on this new role within Donaldson Group. I’m extremely fortunate to be inheriting such a strong, experienced, market-leading team, and I’m looking forward to working with them to grow the businesses in line with the Donaldson Group strategy. Core to this will be ensuring the teams have even better tools and skills with which to do their jobs – adding value for our staff, which will result in even better service and added value for our customers.”

Currently led by the sixth generation of Donaldson, the 162-year-old Donaldson Group comprises 11 specialist timber and building product businesses, operating throughout the UK from 46 locations employing over 1600 people. The businesses that make up the Group trade and operate independently, sharing best practice, innovation, purchasing synergies, and market analysis.


For further information, please contact:

Holly Russell

Pagoda Public Relations

07850 662849


Notes to Editors:

About Donaldson Group

The Donaldson Group has been operating in Fife for over 160 years, and over time has grown exponentially through innovation and acquisition, and investment in key businesses that complement the Group’s current capabilities.

The 11 businesses that make up the Group trade and operate independently and are market leaders in their respective fields of timber engineering, saw-milling and distribution, merchanting, roofing and cladding distribution, and laminate manufacturing. As part of the JDG family, they share best practice, innovation, purchasing synergies, and market analysis.

James Donaldson Timber Ltd: forest product importer, further processor and national distributor.

Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd: leading national manufacturer of roof trusses and flooring systems.

Donaldson Timber Systems: the UK’s market leading offsite timber systems manufacturer.

MGM Timber (Scotland) Ltd: Scotland’s leading independent timber merchant with 14 branches. Open to trade and public.

James Donaldson Insulation Ltd: distributor of insulation products to the trade.

Nu-Style Products Ltd: manufacturer of laminate panels, including Perform Panel brand and furniture.

Rowan Manufacturing Ltd: joinery manufacturer of door sets, stairs and windows.

Smith & Frater Ltd: design and manufacture of kitchens and home office furniture.

Kitchens International Ltd: Scotland’s leading independent kitchen retailer with 6 showrooms across Scotland.

Stonecare: leading supplier of solid worktops to the UK kitchen industry.

Plane & Simple: online DIY marketplace, featuring high quality building materials and home improvement supplies.


The Donaldson Group took home three awards at this year’s Fife Business Awards – Community Partnership; Creativity & Innovation; and Marketing Award.

The Fife Business Awards took place on Friday 27th May at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews and recognises the best of Fife Businesses and on this occasion, their resilience over the last 2 years.

Community Partnership Award

This Award recognises a business that has had a successful partnership with a local charity or community project in Fife in the last two years, in which its involvement is contributing to the charity’s success.

Donaldson Group won this award as a result of its charity partnership with Maggie’s which included raising over £53,000 over a 12-18month period, working with Maggie’s to develop a calendar of fundraising events to engage with our colleagues across the UK, and our donations to local foodbanks at Christmas.

Creativity & Innovation

This is awarded to a business that demonstrates a constant focus on innovation to deliver better performance and outcomes. Donaldson Group was awarded this based on its work on Continuous Improvement across the Group – empowering everyone to positively challenge the way we do things, eliminate waste and become as efficient as we can be.

Marketing Award

This award recognises a business who is able to demonstrate tangible marketing successes in the last two years. This was awarded to the Donaldson Group as a result of its successful marketing campaign for its TC4U brand, of which this success has since persuaded other businesses within the Group to invest in pay per click marketing campaigns and has shown that experimenting with new strategies can pay off and bring increased revenue.

Mike Donaldson, Executive Chairman of the Donaldson Group, commented, “It’s an honour to be recognised amongst a strong line-up of successful Fife businesses for these three awards. As a 162-year-old, sixth generation family business, we know that we couldn’t have achieved this without our fantastic family of 1600+ colleagues throughout the Group, especially over the last 2 years. As One Donaldson Family, these awards are a testament to our colleagues’ hard work and their commitment to our values and so I would like to thank them for their continued support and dedication.”


Leading timber expert, the Donaldson Group, has announced the launch of online roof truss ordering service, Donaldson Direct.

The new platform provides a simple and fast way to order roof trusses, which will be delivered to site in just five working days.

Available to access online for delivery direct to customers within a 100-mile radius from a dedicated site in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire (AL7 1AD). This service is ideal for self-builders, small developers, independent builders, and architects in need of high-quality, carefully crafted trusses. It is also valuable for timber merchants to quickly and easily source a range of trusses for their customers.

Users input their truss requirements via an instant quote function on the website. The Donaldson Direct team then confirms requirements via telephone within 24 hours and issues drawings for the truss designs. Following approval, confirmation of dimensions and agreement of payment terms, trusses are delivered direct to site within five working days.

Donaldson Direct is the newest part of the Donaldson Group, a family business with over 160 years’ experience in timber importing and distribution, as well as decades of experience in timber engineering and merchanting.

Commenting on the launch of Donaldson Direct, Managing Director, Luke Roberts said: “We’re excited to bring this new online concept to the market. Timber roof trusses are the most widely used roofing solution – they are sustainable, simple to erect and offer a flexible solution to a wide range of roofing projects such as new builds, extensions, and residential developments.

“At Donaldson Direct, we understand that sometimes you just need a price without having to wait for someone to call you back. With this new service you can get an instant online quote any time, day or night. We also understand that you don’t always have the luxury of being able to access lots of storage space so you can’t order materials too far in advance. Equally, you don’t want to put your project on hold waiting for key items to arrive on site. We deliver directly to you within five working days, so there are no delays and no uncertainty. You can really trust Donaldson Direct to deliver.”

Andrew Donaldson, CEO of the Donaldson Group, added: “Donaldson Direct sums up the Donaldson ethos perfectly – an innovative approach to meeting the needs of our customers; with the promise to deliver a high quality, sustainable product. We’ve been experts in manufacturing roof trusses for volume builders for over 30 years, so it’s great to see this expertise now tailored through Donaldson Direct with a dedicated focus on lower-volume builders and self-builders. This is an exciting new addition to the Group, and we look forward to seeing it develop.”

Following on from a busy year in 2021 which saw major growth for the group through multiple acquisitions, the formerly known James Donaldson & Sons has officially rebranded as Donaldson Group.

Led by 6th generation members of the Donaldson family, Andrew and Mike Donaldson, the rebrand has seen an update to the business name, as well as a new logo, new look and branding.

The change in name for the business, which has been known as James Donaldson & Sons since it was founded in 1860, signifies the change in vision for the group as it looks to be a progressive leader in its markets across the UK – celebrating its 162-year legacy while building positive futures for the next generation.

While the Donaldson Group is a family business, it is also a family of businesses, with 11 expert businesses and 6 additional brands now part of the group. Each business is autonomous in its trading, but together they are uniquely positioned to share best practice and manufacturing excellence – working together to offer integrated market leading off-site timber systems, bespoke interiors and ancillary merchanting to provide our customers with unparalleled quality, design and innovation.

Group CEO, Andrew Donaldson, explains, “Since taking over the leadership of the business, Mike and I were keen to develop a clear vision for the future – celebrating our heritage but also working towards positive futures for our colleagues, our communities and our partners, all while staying true to our values.”

“Therefore, we decided to drop the ‘& Sons’ from our business name in order to become a more inclusive business, uniting our family of businesses and taking the group forward into the next 162 years. This is a big change, but I am very excited to lead the business and pave the way for the next generation.”