A successful north-east retail boss has been made an honorary professor – 40 years after he was almost blinded in a car accident which forced him to give up his dream career.
Stanley Morrice, chairman of Peterhead-based offshore industry food and drink supplier Strachans Limited, has been appointed the position in the business and management department at Dundee University.
Fraserburgh-born Mr Morrice had dreamed of joining his family in the fishing industry but landed up in retail after an accident at the age of 14 which he now believes was a “blessing in disguise”.
The 55-year-old described the appointment as a huge honour.
“I’ve been lucky that right through my career, I’ve had mentors or people who have inspired me and driven me on,” he said.
“Now I want to give something back and help Dundee University’s business students be the best that they can be.
“I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to help the next generation and definitely feel humbled.”
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Despite his impressive 30 years of retail experience, it was through chance that he landed in the sector.
Mr Morrice said: “My family were very involved in the fishing industry, so that was the goal up until I had the car accident, aged 14.
“I was actually assigned to get an eye removed but the doctors were able to save it.
“I needed a lot of plastic surgery done to my face, eye, ear and the top of my head.
“It really did put a stop to my plans to get out on the boats because I was really quite unwell for a long period of time.
“The accident triggered me to stay on at school for a fifth year, which I never intended doing. I took a summer job with a local retailer and the rest is history.”
In 1994 he became sales director for Aberness Foods Ltd where he managed to boost sales by 50%, tripling profits, before selling the company as managing director in 2004.
Mr Morrice then joined Strachans, which employs 140 staff and has an annual turnover of £70million, as managing director in 2013.
The dad-of-two was recently appointed chairman.
He said: “A big part of what I’ll be helping students with is strategy and on building business relationships and selling yourself.”
Professor Kevin Grant, director of the School of Business at Dundee University, said: “I am delighted that Stanley is bringing his vast experience in business to bear on our students.
“His track record in business stands as an inspiration to our students, who will benefit greatly from learning from someone like him.”