The managing director of renowned single malt whisky specialists Gordon and MacPhail is to step down, the Press and Journal can reveal.
Michael Urquhart has announced plans to retire in September and hand over to Ewen Mackintosh, the Elgin-based firm’s current chief operating officer.
Mr Urquhart, a member of the third generation of the Urquhart family which owns Gordon and MacPhail, joined in 1981 as Finance Director after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.
In 2007, he became joint MD with his brother David. Since 2012, he has been solely in charge.
“After 33 years – most of my working life – with Gordon and MacPhail, it is time to hand on the reins,” Mr Urquhart said yesterday.
“It is gratifying to be able to do so at a time of such strong, sustained growth in the company.
“I’m particularly pleased that I will be succeeded by Ewen, who has been an instrumental figure in the company since 1991.
“He was a member of the team which restored Benromach Distillery after we purchased it in 1993 and has looked after our bulk whisky stocks and product quality.
“He is a very safe pair of hands and it will very much be business as usual for Gordon and MacPhail.”
Mr Mackintosh, 46, who is from Elgin, has spent his entire career at Gordon and MacPhail after joining as a graduate from St Andrews University.
He was recently made a Master of the Quaich in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the Scotch Whisky industry.
He said: “It will be a very rare privilege to lead this unique and well-respected company.
“Along with my colleagues I will continue to promote our values of investing in quality for the long-term and look forward to helping Gordon and MacPhail grow and develop.”
Mr Urquhart, who has travelled the world promoting single malt whisky, said he was very proud of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade awarded twice to Gordon and MacPhail, in 2009 and 2013. The company exports to more than 60 countries.
Mr Urquhart was made a Master of the Quaich in 2012 and presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 by The Whisky Advocate, one of North America’s leading drinks publications.
His daughter Laura is among several members of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family now working for Gordon and MacPhail.
Mr Urquhart, who chairs the Highlands and Islands committee of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), added: “I will remain active in the community and continue to serve the whisky industry where I can, including remaining on the management committee of the Keepers of the Quaich.
“I will also be non-executive director of Gordon & MacPhail.”