THE new boss of the Institute of Directors in Scotland has warned the uncertainty facing business will persist even if next month’s snap election yields a breakthrough in the Brexit process.

Malcolm Cannon, who joined the IoD from Cricket Scotland six weeks ago, said companies in

Scotland have been held back by a lack of clarity and certainty since the global financial crisis erupted around a decade ago.

And the executive, whose CV includes senior roles at distiller Edrington and fashion firm Hunter Boot, said the shifting economic and political backdrop over the last 10 years has prevented Scottish firms from executing the kind of long-term planning Japanese enterprises are renowned for.

READ MORE: Revealed: IoD names new chief for Scotland

“It’s been a tough ride for Scottish businesses,” Mr Cannon said. “The one thing that we have missed, for probably the last 10 years since the banking crisis, is a bit of certainty and clarity, the ability to plan, which was there for a long, long time prior to that.

“You used to write five-year plans and know that pretty much every variable was relatively stable, relatively predictable. You could do 25-year strategic plans in a way Japanese companies have done for many, many decades.

“For the last 10 years, whether you want to or not, that capability has disappeared, which means you have to smarter, quick on your feet, better informed and more confident.”

Despite the perennial uncertainty, Mr Cannon insists he does not detect a lack of confidence in Scottish business leadership or brands.

READ MORE: Scottish private and public sector players win IoD awards

“There is no doubt people are frustrated by at the lack of clarity and certainty,” he said. “But the over-riding message is relative confidence. There is belief.”

Speaking on the eve of the annual IoD conference at Gleneagles, Mr Cannon said he would expect business sentiment to receive a boost should the General Election on December 12 lead to a clearer path on Brexit. But he warned it would not be the end of the uncertainty.

“I suspect that whatever happens in the General Election, whatever happens with Brexit, there is still a period of vast uncertainty, and it will be an extended period,” Mr Cannon said. “I don’t think anyone can say that, come the election or come Brexit, we click our fingers and we are back to normal life. There is still a lot of water to go under a lot of bridges.

“Even though I still think there is that confidence [in Scotland], that belief, we will still have a lot of pain to go to get there.”

READ MORE: Business in uncharted waters, says new IoD chief for Scotland

Asked whether the timing of the election in the run-up to Christmas was a concern to business, Mr Cannon said it will “certainly

give some upheaval to retail.” He added: “I suspect that it will cause some disruption.”

Mr Cannon cited the “prominence”, “legacy” and “quality” of the IoD brand as attractions when he applied for the job.

“I would love to be part of the journey to improve that still further,” he said.

Asked if he has any specific plans for Scotland, he said: “We have got an advisory board in Scotland which is an embarrassment of riches in terms of the quality of individuals involved. We are looking at the way forward for IoD Scotland, to improve that value add for members, so that they not only join, but benefit and stay as members.”

Changes being made to the IoD structure in London, he added, will allow Scotland to operate on a more “decentralised basis”. He said: “It’s not to put a tartan ribbon on it at all, but to make it relevant to Scottish businesses.”

His overarching priorities are to improve the quality and quantity of business leaders in Scotland, and develop the training the organisation offers.

Meantime, Mr Cannon is delighted the Scotland cricket team clinched the final qualifying slot for the World Cup in Australia in 2020. “I’m absolutely made up for them,” he said.