After over ten years with Harrison & Hetherington (H&H), the last two as joint Managing Director, it has been announced that Scott Donaldson will take on the role of Managing Director of the company. In taking up this position, Scott will be assuming what is undoubtedly one of the key roles within the UK’s livestock industry.
Operating nine auction marts across the north of England and Scottish Borders and hosting regular digital sales, H&H is at the core of H&H Group PLC’s Agri-business operations. With an annual turnover in the region of £180 million, this internationally recognised livestock business sees a throughput of in excess 850,000 head of livestock across its auction marts and online trading platforms.
In making this announcement, Richard Rankin, H&H Group Plc Chief Executive said:
“Scott is the perfect man for the job. He has the right skill set and experience carried through from his previous roles. His career path has demonstrated continuous professional and personal development, and in working alongside David Pritchard for the last ten years he has developed an in-depth understanding of the business and its needs for the future. Now is the time for him to step up and take overall responsibility”.
Aged 53, Scott has worked within the livestock industry his entire career, and has an in-depth understating of the sector at all levels. Aged 17 he joined Perthshire’s Macdonald Fraser and Company Ltd part of the United Auctions Group as a trainee auctioneer. He quickly progressed, and in 1988 – aged only 21 – became the youngest auctioneer at the time, to take the Rostrum at the Perth Bull Sales to sell pedigree Simmental cattle. He joined H&H in 2010 and has moved steadily upwards. Well known, and a former President of the IAAS, Scott is highly respected across both the commercial and pedigree sectors, and in recent years has played a major role in the company’s growth and expansion.
Commenting on his new position and looking to the future, Scott said:
“We live in a very fast-moving world now, far removed from what worked 10 or 20 years ago. As such, we have to keep reacting and responding to new challenges. So, in taking up this role, my main aim is to make sure that both Harrison & Hetherington and the team behind it are well equipped to move forward into the next decade and beyond, grasping the full potential of innovation.
“The great strengths of our team are its youth, enthusiasm and broad understanding of the livestock industry across the UK. I want to future-proof the longevity of our operations and management and aim to challenge our company’s next generation of leaders to step up. I plan to do so by always listening to their ideas and giving them responsibility early on, within structured and supported roles. Our team has great passion and is committed to building on our very strong foundations and setting benchmarks, and my aim is to enable this to happen then trust them to deliver.”
Scott adds: “It is absolutely vital now that livestock producers can work with us in a far more modern and digital fashion. However, I do not want to undermine the importance of the personal contact that comes through our network of auction mart centres across the North of England and Scottish Borders.
“Yes, in recent months major strides have been made and, thanks to online timed auctions, we are moving forward, but that is not enough. We are living in a digital world and now the industry and our customer base demands more. We need to give them this by streamlining processes and making certain that both buyers and sellers can access the information they require to streamline their own business, instantly.
“When things start to return to whatever the new normal will look like, we want to ensure we swiftly create environments that are as welcoming and protected as they can be. Our aim is for farmers to feel safe, and for that sense of camaraderie to return to our marts as quickly as we can.”
H&H’s head office and main livestock centre in Borderway Auction Mart, Carlisle, is one of the largest mart sites in the UK. Their farmstock business is highly respected by pedigree and commercial farmers both nationally and internationally and they are also the appointed auctioneers for the UK’s major beef, dairy and sheep breed societies. In addition to livestock trading, H&H conducts regular live and timed digital auctions of agricultural machinery, tractors and farm equipment. From its Borderway site, each year H&H also presents two of the UK’s leading livestock events: Borderway Agri Expo and UK Dairy Expo.
Richard Rankin continues:
“A team player, Scott’s approach is all encompassing. He encourages internal peer support and development, which are aspects that really are key for managing and mentoring such a large team.
Since the initial coronavirus lockdown, Scott and the wider H&H team have been key figures in altering the focus of traditional auctioneering. Almost overnight new platforms were investigated for selling stock, and pioneering online digital auction systems were created to ensure that the vital breeding sales would continue. Going forward, a major objective for Scott is to maintain H&H’s position as market leaders and continue to innovate, making a positive difference to our customers livelihoods.
“As Managing Director of H&H, I know that Scott will become a major voice of the livestock marketing business. He will be an opinion maker both up and downstream of his role, and a driver of change from a broader industry perspective.”
Married and living in Bardon Mill in Northumberland, Scott’s spare time involves skiing, rugby, anything to do with the horse and the countryside – if only to go for a walk. He is committed to the great outdoors.
In saying what he is looking forward to most, over and above working with a tremendous team to support livestock farmers, breeders and customers, Scott adds: “I am so looking forward to the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, so we can all meet and talk face to face again.”