By Scott Wright

THE chairman of James Donaldson & Sons is stepping down to retire, 45 years after joining the long-established Fife timber firm.

Neil Donaldson, who spent his school holidays working for the family business, is handing over the reins to son Michael, currently deputy chairman. Michael will co-lead and co-manage the business with brother Andrew, who became chief executive in April.

The changes comes as the firm celebrates its 160th year in business.

The company noted that since taking over from his father in 1985, Neil Donaldson has presided over its growth from small business to a national group. With 31 sites across the UK, it now has more than 1,000 staff and turns over around £225 million.

READ MORE: Scots timber giant: Long-term approach will pay off for family firms through Covid crisis

Alongside his work for James Donaldson, Mr Donaldson has served as chairman of the Crieff Hydro hotel group, and Securities Trust Scotland. He is currently chairman of Baillie Gifford’s Shin Nippon investment trust.

Mr Donaldson, who will retire on July 31, 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 have 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 am 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 am excited to see where they take it next.

“Meanwhile, I will be golfing, fishing, and spending more time with my wife, Val, who has been an incredible support to me throughout my career.”