VETERAN chartered surveyor Janice Russell has been promoted to managing director of an Ayrshire-based family construction business founded in 1946, which has more than doubled its employee and sub-contractor numbers to around 500 in the last five years.

McTaggart Construction, which is focused on building quality affordable housing, has appointed outgoing managing director Gary Climson as non-executive chairman. The chairman post has not been filled since 2017 when Ross McTaggart, son of co-founder Willis McTaggart, retired after 52 years of service.

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The top-level changes mean the Dalry-based company, which remains majority-owned by the McTaggart family and more than doubled turnover from £42 million in the year to September 2017 to £89m in the 12 months to March 2022, now has non-family members in both the chairman and managing director roles.

Ms Russell was already a director of McTaggart Construction, having been with the company for about 12 years. The chartered surveyor and project manager has more than 30 years of experience within property and construction, and has specialised in housing.

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The overall workforce of McTaggart Construction, comprising permanent employees of the firm and sub-contractors, has increased from about 200 to around 500 over the last five years.

Mr Climson, who has worked with the business for nearly 30 years, will preside over a new board of directors which includes Rosslyn Anderson, who is part of the McTaggart family. Ms Anderson's husband, Ally Anderson, will remain on the board, which also includes Ms Russell.

The latest changes follow a recent management buy-in. This was led by Ally and Rosslyn Anderson, with the other members of the executive team given an opportunity to take an equity share.

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Ms Russell will oversee a new executive management team of finance director Lynne Wilson, commercial director Paul Roan, construction director John Allan and pre-development director A J MacFarlane. All members of the executive management team have worked with the business for at least five years.

In the last 10 years, McTaggart Construction has delivered more than £600m of projects.

Over the last 75 years, it has delivered thousands of affordable homes, primarily across the central belt of Scotland but also at sites in Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee and Ayrshire. Recent developments include housing projects at Laurieston and Dalmarnock in Glasgow, and the restoration of the category A listed Dunlop House in Ayrshire.

Willis McTaggart founded the business with brother George in 1946.

From humble beginnings, the brothers embarked on several entrepreneurial ventures, with the then G&W McTaggart engaged in general building and haulage and various community services.

The brothers built their first house in 1950 – a semi-detached property on Templand Crescent in Dalry which is the location of the current head office.

In 1973, the name of the business was changed to McTaggart Construction to reflect the focus of the business. In 1987, Laurel Homes was set up to specialise in private homes and four years later group annual turnover exceeded £1m for the first time.

Willis McTaggart acquired George McTaggart’s shares in the business and control later went to Ross McTaggart.

Until his retirement as chairman, Ross McTaggart led the business through a significant period of growth, acquiring ABN Services, and forming McTaggart Scaffolding, McTaggart Civils and Tod Timber Engineering.

Mr Climson said: “The restructure follows extensive consultation with our staff and business partners on how best to grow the business whilst retaining the McTaggart family values.

“Our new clearer management structure will allow us to build on that solid base and take full advantage of future market opportunities and I’m delighted that Janice will be taking over as managing director. She’s a fantastic asset to the company and her strong leadership and knowledge of the business will drive us forward.

“Together Ally and I bring 55 years of experience at McTaggart’s to the board and Rosslyn brings that all-important family perspective. She carries the weight of a remarkable heritage, entrepreneurial spirit and endeavour.”

Ms Russell said: “I’m incredibly proud to be given this opportunity to lead McTaggart Construction. This is a fantastic family business immersed in the communities we serve.

“We have a strong order book and significant client loyalty because our staff deliver exceptionally high customer focus. That success story has been built over 75 years on the values staff share with our clients and communities. It’s those values that will continue to shape our future as we grow our client-orientated business – delivering professionalism, quality and remaining true to our ethical, community and environmental values.”

She added: “The restructure provides clearer lines of responsibility and a focus on areas [in which] the business can become stronger to best serve...clients and sustain a successful future.”