Jim McLaren to head Quality Meat Scotland board

A leading Scottish farmer is set to take the reins at Quality Meat Scotland following a board reshuffle, the Scottish Executive has announced.

Jim McLaren, current president of the National Farmers Union Scotland, will take over from Donald Biggar, who steps down as chair of QMS from April 2011.

Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, confirmed the appointments this week. The other new board members, who will also join in April 2011, are John Scott, Johnny Mackey, David Sole and John Craig. Alan McNaughton will join the board immediately to fill the position left by Danny Miller, who resigned in February this year.

Lochhead said: I am delighted to appoint Jim as the new chair and bring Alan, John, Johnny, David and John on to the board of Quality Meat Scotland. They will bring a wealth of expertise, experience and passion to the organisation.

Quality Meat Scotland has an excellent track record of delivering real benefits for the Scottish red meat supply chain and it has been ably led by Donald and his board. Id like to take this opportunity to thank them for all for their hard work.

However, he expressed disappointment at the lack of women on the board: In the past, there has been criticism that there are no women on the board and Im disappointed that this is the case again. I know there are many women involved in the livestock industry who could make a valuable contribution and, as a result, there will be a further round of appointments next year.

Outgoing chair Donald Biggar added: Im delighted that so many skilled applicants were interested in taking up these positions and I welcome the Cabinet Secretarys selection of very well-qualified and able individuals.

The appointments have been welcomed by the Scottish meat processing sector. Alan Craig, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, said: We welcome the immediate appointment of Alan McNaughton, a decision which augments the current experience and knowledge of meat processing, which is central to the work of the organisation. The further appointment of John Craig to the board in April next year is another extremely positive move.

Both Alan and John are deeply involved in the meat processing sector on a day-to-day basis. As such, they will be able to provide QMS with current knowledge and understanding of the sector, qualities which we believe are essential in helping to promote Scotch meat both at home and abroad.

>>Sheep producer confidence improving, says QMS expert

>>Processors push for QMS board recognition

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