SCDI members recognised in Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours List

Several SCDI members were recognised for their contributions to Scottish business in the Queen’s birthday honours list, which was announced yesterday as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Sir James Milne CBE, founder of the Balmoral Group and former Vice-Chair of SCDI’s North East Committee was honoured with a Knighthood for his services to business and charity.

James, affectionately known to the SCDI community as Jimmy, who served on the North East Committee for 25 years before stepping down in 2020, accepted the award by saying:

“I am deeply honoured and quite taken aback to have received such humbling recognition from Her Majesty The Queen in this very special year for her.”

Sir James Walker CBE, joint managing director of Walkers Shortbread was also knighted for his outstanding contribution. With late brother Joe and sister Marjorie, he developed Walkers into the largest family-owned biscuit manufacturer in the UK. He commented:

“I feel humbled and very appreciative. I would like to say thank you to my family and also to my many lifelong friends and colleagues at Walker’s Shortbread Ltd. They are a truly great set of people and have given me amazing support over the last 60 years.”

Former SCDI Highlands Chair, Michael Urquhart CBE and brother Ian Urquhart CBE also received CBE titles in the Platinum Jubilee honours list. Their family has been a fixture in Scotch whisky for over 120 years, when John Urquhart joined the Elgin grocery store founded by James Gordon and John Alexander MacPhail. Michael and Ian have continued the tradition by leading world-renowned Scottish companies – Gordon & MacPhail and Johnstons of Elgin.

Michael said:

“I am delighted to receive this honour in such a special year for Her Majesty. I like to think this is not mine alone, but recognises the Urquhart family as a whole and our role in building a grocer’s shop in Elgin into a thriving business which exports around the world and is now the owner of two distilleries.”

“While I may have retired from the family business, I seem to be as busy as ever in the Scotch whisky industry, as Chairman of the Scottish Committee of the Worshipful Company of Distillers and previously in my role with the Keepers of the Quaich and as Chairman of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in the Highlands and Islands.”

He went on to recognise the support and hard work of the staff at Gordon & MacPhail, whilst his brother Ian added:

“I have had the privilege to lead two successful family-owned Moray companies. They are two very different businesses – single malt Scotch whisky and Scottish cashmere – yet they share a commitment to producing the highest quality iconic products, now exported to over sixty markets throughout the world.”

“As the president of Johnstons of Elgin I continue to play a pivotal role in many local and national charities and organisations and remain a Deputy Lieutenant of Moray”

Karen Betts, Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation, Annemarie O’ Donnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, Marc Crothall, Chief Executive, the Scottish Tourism Alliance have also been recognised in the honours list, and we would like to offer them all our warmest congratulations.