Scottish farm co-op body SAOS announces changes to its team

The appointments, dealing with areas including innovation, co-op development and supply chains, will broaden the organisation’s expertise, says SAOS

The Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) has announced a number of appointments to its team, which it says will broaden its strength and expertise in the food and agri sector.

SAOS, which represents Scotland’s agri co-op sector and promotes supply chain collaborations, said the changes include new new team members, new appointments to the board, and internal promotions.

“SAOS has continually evolved, for nearly 120 years, to identify and meet the ever-changing needs of our rural co-op members,  rising to challenges facing the wider food and farming sector,” said CEO Tim Bailey. “Taking stock regularly is vital for any business, particularly in such challenging times, and we are delighted that these appointments will help deliver SAOS’s ambitious plans to help shape the future of farming and food.

“Although senior team members Jim Booth and Alan Stevenson are taking a step back, we are delighted that, as part of the succession plan, those stepping up will still have the benefit of their valued support and extensive knowledge. Working together effectively is at the core of everything SAOS does, and it’s particularly pleasing to be able to manage the inevitable transitions in this way.

“We are also gratified to realise our investment in SAOS’s future by appointing and developing the best people and enabling their career progression within the organisation.”

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Douglas Bowden-Smith joined the organisation in mid-July as a project development executive in the Supply Chain Team. His family have two farms and has worked in a wide range of rural organisations and initiatives which, says SAOS, will provide valuable new insights for the team.

Next month, David Michie joins the team as co-op development manager. Most recently, David was policy manager for crops at the National Farmers’ Union Scotland. He has also held positions with SASA, SOPA, SAC Consulting and the Soil Association, says SAOs, “meaning he is already well-known to many of our members and networks” alongside “a keen interest in co-operative and collaborative working”.

Marion MacCormick and Euan Warnock joined the SAOS board in early summer as independent directors, each bringing a wealth of experience to help further strengthen the board.

MacCormick, an independent food industry consultant, served as advertising director and later buying director at Aldi for many years and is currently a non-executive director at Scotland Food & Drink, and also of the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET).

Warnock, who farms at Armaddy in Argyll, has worked is a senior agent and group secretary of NFU Mutual, and he is also involved with the RHET, as a regional committee chairman.

Other changes to the team include a promotion for Patrick Hughes to the new cross-team, senior management role of strategic services Ddirector. Hughes joined the team in 2021 to lead on the establishment of the Scottish Agri Export Hub in collaboration with NFU Scotland, and he has held a number of senior roles in the food and agri sector.

Helen Glass, who joined SAOS in 2018, has been promoted to the newly created position of head of supply chain Innovation. SAOS says this is “another new role responding to, and emphasising, the need for innovation” which will build on Glass’s experience of developing partnerships at “every stage from farm to fork”.

Robert Logan has taken over the role of head of co-op development. Since joining SAOS in 2019, he has qualified with a certificate in co-operative management from St Mary’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia and added further extensive knowledge of co-operation in practice to his many years’ experience of project management and knowledge exchange across the supply chain.