James Donaldson Group Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

Leading timber specialist, James Donaldson and Sons Ltd (JDS) today announced Arlene Cairns is joining the Group as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective August 3rd 2020.

August 3, 2020

Leading timber specialist, James Donaldson and Sons Ltd (JDS) today announced Arlene Cairns is joining the Group as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective August 3rd 2020.

Arlene Cairns, JDS' new CFO

Arlene joins JDS from Aviva, where she was Chief Finance Operations Officer responsible for leading Global Finance Operations as well as leading their Global Finance Transformation. Arlene joined Aviva 3 years ago from Alliance Trust Savings where she was CFO. Prior to this, Arlene held several senior Finance & Strategy roles across the UK, Ireland and Australia working for Westpac Institutional Bank, Allied Irish Bank, RSA and Zurich Financial Services. This is in addition to her time as a management consultant at EY in the UK and Australia, where her focus was on transformation and performance improvement. Arlene will succeed Andrew Donaldson as CFO following his promotion to CEO in April 2020.

Andrew Donaldson, CEO of the James Donaldson Group, said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Arlene to the Group, where she will undoubtedly drive and modernise our finance operations. Arlene has a proven track record of leading finance functions and driving strategic transformational change and improvements in global organisations. Her extensive corporate experience makes her well suited to take on the role of CFO and an excellent addition to our senior leadership team. I look forward to seeing the impact of her presence as our new CFO.”

Arlene commented on her appointment: “I’m excited to be joining the James Donaldson Group’s leadership team and leading Finance, while supporting Andrew and Mike to continue the growth and development of the JDS Group and contribute to the future success of the business.”

Additionally, Arlene was a Board Director for Homeless charity Social Bite, and part of the team delivering the Social Bite Communities village in Edinburgh in 2018. She is also part of the University of Edinburgh Women in Executive Leadership Group.

Neil Donaldson, retired Executive Chairman of James Donaldson Group was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s virtual Timber Trade Journal (TTJ) Awards. The annual TTJ Lifetime Achievement Award rewards outstanding achievement in the timber sector.

After recently retiring from his 45 year-long career back in July, Neil certainly has been part of the timber industry for a lifetime. He has always been a passionate supporter of timber and very well known within the industry. Neil was virtually presented the award by the TTJ on Friday 25th September for his outstanding contribution to the industry since he joined Donaldson’s back 1975.

Neil’s achievements are not only limited to his successful career at Donaldson’s as he became the first Scottish Chairman of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) in 1988. He was also President of the Scottish Timber Trade Association (STTA) from 2004 – 2006 and was President of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) from 2006 – 2008.

Neil Donaldson commented: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved as a business and an industry over the last 45 years and I couldn’t be happier to be presented with the TTJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award, albeit in a slightly different way to normal. It’s an honour and also a complete shock and starts my new chapter of retirement on a real high! I can’t wait to see what future brings for both the business and the industry.”

Neil Donaldson bows out after 45 years at family firm

Neil Donaldson has announced his retirement from leading timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons, after 45 years with the business, as he hands over the reins to the sixth generation.

July 28, 2020
 

Neil Donaldson has announced his retirement from leading timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons, after 45 years with the business, as he hands over the reins to the sixth generation.

Neil joined Donaldson’s in 1975, after graduating from Heriot-Watt University with an MSc in Business Studies. He grew up spending his school holidays working for the family business, but his first official role was as a sawmiller, before moving into sales in the late 1970s. He took over from his father as managing director in 1985.

During his tenure, Neil has overseen the expansion of Donaldson’s from a small business in Fife, Scotland, to a national company, operating from 31 sites across the UK. Developments and strategic acquisitions in that time include: the creation of Donaldson Timber Engineering (DTE), which now has nine branches; timber merchant MGM Timber, which has 14 branches; expanding James Donaldson Timber and moving into MDF with the purchase of Palgrave Brown; insulation product manufacturer, Nu Style; Cambridge Roof Truss; and most recently, doorset and bespoke joinery specialist, Rowan Manufacturing and kitchen manufacturer, Smith & Frater.

Neil credits much of his confidence in growing the business to the time he spent at Harvard Business School in 1994.

Very well-known in the industry, Neil is a passionate supporter of timber, and in 1988 he became the first Scottish Chairman of the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA). He was also President of the Scottish Timber Trade Association (STTA) from 2004 – 2006 and was President of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) from 2006 – 2008.

Neil is retiring on 31st July and is succeeded by his son and deputy Chairman, Michael Donaldson. Michael will co-lead and co-manage the business with his brother, Andrew Donaldson, who took over as Chief Executive Officer in April this year.

Commenting on his retirement, Neil said: “I have been extremely fortunate to have spent my career working with something I love, making a product that I love, in a business where I have been able to develop it into what I think it should be. I always wanted to work for the family business – I have wood in my DNA – and I think I can say that I’ve made the most of my time here! I always said that I hoped to retire at 65, in our 160th year of business, and the time is definitely right to pass the business on to the next generation.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done with the business over the last 45 years – and indeed over the last 160 – and I’m happy to be going out on a high. To have both Mike and Andy taking over is the ideal scenario and I’m excited to see where they take it next. Meanwhile, I’ll be golfing, fishing and spending more time with my wife, Val, who has been an incredible support to me throughout my career.”

Along with his roles in the timber industry, Neil is former Chairman of Scotland’s leading spa hotel resort, Crieff Hydro; is a former Chairman of Securities Trust Scotland; and is the current Chairman of Baillie Gifford’s Shin Nippon in Japan.

The James Donaldson Group comprises seven subsidiaries, trading from 31 sites throughout the UK, with over 1,000 employees and a turnover of circa £225m. The business has been operating in Fife for 160 years.

Sixth Generation takes the reins at James Donaldson & Sons

Leading timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons has announced its new senior team, as Andrew Donaldson and Michael Donaldson take over as chief executive officer and chairman.

June 16, 2020
 

Leading timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons has announced its new senior team, as Andrew Donaldson and Michael Donaldson take over as chief executive officer and chairman.

As the business celebrates its 160th anniversary, 2020 is a momentous year for the Group, with the change in leadership also marking the sixth generation of Donaldsons to run the family firm. Andrew was appointed as CEO in April, with Michael commencing his position as chairman from 31 July.

Andrew joined the family business in 2010 after completing a graduate training program at KPMG (Edinburgh) and qualifying with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS). He has spent the last ten years working in a variety of roles within the business, primarily as commercial director for MGM Timber and then latterly for James Donaldson Timber, before becoming group finance director in 2019. Andrew takes over the top job from Scott Cairns, who stepped down as group managing director in April after nine years in the role, which saw him as the first ever non-family member to lead the Group.

With almost 20 years of experience in the industry, Michael joined the Donaldson Group in 2003. He started his career manufacturing roof trusses for Donaldson Timber Engineering Ltd in Cramlington. Since then he has worked with three of the JDS trading companies in roles ranging from internal sales and operations through to director level. In 2007 he became one of the first to qualify with an MSc in Timber Industry Management at Edinburgh Napier University and he is also a director of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF). Michael became deputy chair in 2018 and takes over the role of chair in July when his father, Neil Donaldson retires.

In their new roles, Andrew is responsible for the commercial and trading performance of the business, while Michael will lead the main supervisory board, which comprises chairman, four non-executive directors, finance director and CEO. Both brothers will be involved in developing strategy and driving the Group forward, as they co-lead and co-manage the business.

Outgoing chairman of the James Donaldson Group, Neil Donaldson comments: “It was always my hope that the business would be passed on to the next generation, so for both Andy and Mike to be taking on the reigns is an ideal scenario and a proud moment for me. The business is a very different one to the one I started running in 1985, and I’m pleased to be leaving it on a high and in such good hands. The transition from one generation to the next has been well considered and planned for over the last ten years, and I’m confident that both Andy and Mike will do an excellent job in their roles.”

Andrew Donaldson says: “We were brought up with our father and grandfather leading the business, so their moral compass is at the forefront of all we do – nothing will change in terms of the Donaldson ambitions or principles. Our focus will always be good governance; partnerships with our suppliers and customers; and looking after our loyal employees. However, we’re ready to take the Group into the next generation and put our stamp on it, which is an incredibly exciting prospect.”

Michael Donaldson adds: “Andrew and I spent our summers working in the family business, and we’ve spent the last ten years preparing to take over the leadership. The last two years in particular have offered serious training for the roles, with Andy as CFO and me as deputy chairman. Despite the incredibly difficult circumstances that we find ourselves in at the time of taking over, dealing with the impact of COVID-19, things are off to a great start for us and we have some ambitious plans for the business.”

Andrew Donaldson Appointed as CEO for the James Donaldson Group

James Donaldson and Sons Ltd is pleased to announce that from today, April 1st, 2020, Andrew Donaldson has succeeded Scott Cairns as Chief Executive Officer of the James Donaldson (JDS) Group.

April 1, 2020
 

James Donaldson and Sons Ltd is pleased to announce that from today, April 1st, 2020, Andrew Donaldson has succeeded Scott Cairns as Chief Executive Officer of the James Donaldson (JDS) Group.

Scott’s tenure has seen the 160-year-old family business double in turnover to over £200M with several consecutive years of record profitability up to the present day. Scott has served as Group MD for the past eight years. Before that he was Managing Director for both James Donaldson Timber and MGM Timber, resulting in over 24 years of service to the JDS group.

Andrew is a 6th generation Donaldson family member and will succeed Scott as of today. As a Chartered Accountant, gaining his credentials from KPMG, Andrew has worked for the Donaldson Group since 2010. He has spent the last two years as Group Finance Director driving the Group’s direction along with the operating board while working closely with Scott on all group-wide projects.

Neil Donaldson, Non-Executive Chairman of the Donaldson Group, said: “I’m delighted that my son, Andrew, will be taking over this 6th generation family business as CEO. I am confident that he will prove to be a worthy successor to Scott, and I wish him well in this new role in what are incredibly challenging times. I’d also like to thank Scott for his invaluable contribution to the success of the business. He will indeed be a hard act to follow.”

Scott will continue in an advisory role on the Supervisory Board as a Non-Executive Director supporting Andrew’s transition.

James Donaldson and Sons Take Home Gold at the Herald Family Business Awards

James Donaldson & Sons Ltd took home the Outstanding Contribution award at the Herald Scottish Family Business Awards. The award recognises a team, headquartered in Scotland which has made an outstanding contribution to family business. This award was the top prize announced on the evening and was awarded to James Donaldson and Sons for its strong family values, financial growth and strong performance.

December 5, 2019
 

James Donaldson & Sons Ltd took home the Outstanding Contribution award at the Herald Scottish Family Business Awards. The award recognises a team, headquartered in Scotland which has made an outstanding contribution to family business. This award was the top prize announced on the evening and was awarded to James Donaldson and Sons for its strong family values, financial growth and strong performance.

Almost two thirds of businesses in Scotland are family enterprises and are an important source of employment as well as being massive contributors to the wealth of the country. Now in its eight year, the Herald Family Business awards celebrate those Scottish family businesses and individuals who are working tirelessly to ensure their business succeeds in the Scottish economy. The ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow on Wednesday 4th December hosted over 300 members of the family business community to share and celebrate their successes.

Neil Donaldson, Non- Executive Chairman and Michael Donaldson, Deputy Chairman at James Donaldson and Sons accepted the award on behalf of group. Michael said: “As a sixth-generation family business it’s an honour to be recognised among other successful family businesses at events like this. This award is a testament to the hard work that goes on daily at our sites throughout the UK and I would like to give huge thanks to all our colleagues for all their commitment and dedication.”

Previous winners of the Outstanding Contribution award include; Kenneth Graham McAlpine and McAlpine & Co Ltd, Graham’s the Family Dairy and McTaggart and Mickel Group.

Leading timber specialist, James Donaldson & Sons Ltd, has appointed Luke Roberts as Managing Director for Donaldson Timber Engineering (DTE).

Well known in the timber industry, Luke joined DTE in 2007 as Team Leader for I-Joists at the company’s Ilkeston branch, then became General Manager Ilkeston Joists in 2011 and was promoted to Business Development Director in 2017. In this role, he has been responsible for leading the technical sales team, mentoring the internal Assistant General Manager (AGM) programme and developing strategies for go-to-market products and services.

Luke has over 20 years of experience, having previously held positions at Walker Timber Group and National Hickman. He has a Post-graduate Diploma in Applied Management from Warwick Business School, and in 2017, he won the Timber Trade Journal (TTJ) award for career development. He has particular expertise in open web joists and has dedicated significant time to research and development of this product. He also played a key role in the development of DTE’s health and safety product, SafeWell, the only reusable and adjustable stairwell protection kit made from timber.

With responsibility for the development of DTE’s business, Luke will be supported by DTE’s senior leadership team, comprising Business Development Directors, Callum Henderson and Rodger Cook, and Finance Director, Avi Basu. The new team will play a key role in meeting the company’s ambitious growth goals, as well as building on DTE’s outstanding reputation for product quality, service and delivery.

Commenting on the appointment, Scott Cairns, Group Managing Director, Donaldson Group, said: “Since joining the business, Luke has proved himself time and time again in understanding what it takes to succeed, while ensuring that his esteem for colleagues and customers builds a mutual trust and respect from all. His integrity, ability and moral compass are unquestioned. DTE is an incredibly important part of our family group, and I can think of no-one better to head this market-leading business.

“This appointment reflects the Board’s confidence in Luke and the leadership team, and in the continued execution of the Company’s strategy as well as the development of its culture and values”

Luke says: “I feel extremely honoured to have been appointed as MD, and am proud to be leading a company with such an excellent reputation and remarkable history. This is an exciting time for the business, as we continue to position DTE as the UK’s leader in engineered timber products.”

Luke succeeds Jonathan Fellingham, who has been managing director of the business since 2009.

Fife-headquartered DTE is the UK’s largest and longest established manufacturer of roof trusses, engineered joists, beams and spandrel panels, with over 30 years of experience.

James Donaldson & Sons (JDS) Group Managing Director to step down effective July 2020

Scott Cairns today announces that he will be stepping down from his role as Group Managing Director for JDS, effective July 2020.

June 28, 2019
 

Scott Cairns today announces that he will be stepping down from his role as Group Managing Director for JDS, effective July 2020.

As the first ever non-family member to lead the group, Scott’s tenure has seen the 160-year-old family business double in turnover to almost £200M with several consecutive years of record profitability up to the present day.

Scott has served as Group MD for the past eight years.  Prior to that he was MD for both James Donaldson Timber and MGM Timber and has spent over 24 years with the group in total.

Scott says, “I am proud to have played a part in the guiding, growing and development of our Group of Companies over my tenure at JDS.  The business is in fantastic shape and will continue to grow via organic and acquisitive means.  During 2020 it will be the next generation of the family that will develop this special business and lead a truly talented workforce, one which individually and collectively puts our customers at the core of everything we do.”

Andrew Donaldson will succeed Scott as the new Group MD.  Andrew is currently the Group Finance Director and will also be the sixth generation Donaldson to lead the business.  Scott will continue in an advisory role on the Supervisory Board as a Non-Executive Director under the leadership of new Chairman Michael Donaldson in 2020.

ames Donaldson & Sons has appointed Pamela Scott to its Board of Directors.

Pamela is currently Global Operational Excellence Director at Diageo, having held a number of senior leadership positions across the global beverage alcohol organisation, including technical, innovation, packaging operations, HR and global transformation areas.

Joining the Donaldson board in addition to her current responsibilities at Diageo, Pamela brings extensive skills in leadership and strategic thinking from experience covering the end to end supply chain in a European and Global Context. Her major achievements have included leading the Guinness Technical function in Ireland, development and implementing Global Supply Chain Strategy, leading the Europe Supply HR team, as well as heading up significant parts of Scotland Packaging Operations.

Neil Donaldson non-executive Chairman at James Donaldson & Sons comments: “It’s a real pleasure for us to have Pamela join our board. She brings a fresh perspective, with a strong focus on efficiency, best practice and driving performance improvement. We offer her a very warm welcome to the business, and look forward to seeing the impact of her presence on the Board.”

Pamela added: “With 27 years in a global drinks company I am delighted to be joining James Donaldson & Sons, an impressive, longstanding family business.  I look forward to working with this team to build an even more successful future.”

As well as her role within Diageo, Pamela is on the Board of Directors of North British Distillery; a Non-Executive Director of Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association and a trustee for the Big Hearts Community Trust.

James Donaldson Group Appoints New Business Technology Director

James Donaldson Group (JDS) announced today that Les Calder has joined the group as Business Technology Director to lead the growth of the group’s IT resources and help to leverage current systems.

September 18, 2018
 

James Donaldson Group (JDS) announced today that Les Calder has joined the group as Business Technology Director to lead the growth of the group’s IT resources and help to leverage current systems. Les comes with a wealth of experience, having spent eight years as Group IT Director at Devro PLC, where he was instrumental in implementing the group IT business transformation strategy.

Les’ addition to the group will help connect the businesses, and utilise new technology that will future proof the Group’s infrastructures both internally, and with its partners. “I am excited to start this new challenge within the JDS group and I look forward to working alongside the team to further develop the group’s technological capabilities,’’ said Les.

Scott Cairns, Group Managing Director commented on the new appointment, “We are all excited to have Les on board and his skills and experience makes him a key addition to the team. Based at our head office in Glenrothes, Les will become a regular visitor to the operational sites, working with our Managing Directors and production professionals alike to grow our capabilities within IT. Les’ appointment is a sign of our commitment to continuously grow and improve and I am confident that he will play a key role in transforming our IT systems.’’

Les’ unique understanding of how technology can positively impact large-scale operations will help achieve JDS’s goal of delivering value through innovation to our customers and employees.