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Neil McLean to stand down as United Auctions Group Chairman

The Group Chairman of United Auctions is to stand down after five years, marking the end of his 37-year involvement with Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers.

Neil McLean, who was previously Joint Managing Director of the Company, will leave the post at the end of March 2022. 

Neil McLean said: I leave United Auctions with the fondest of memories and safe in the knowledge the Company continues to go from strength to strength. It’s been an absolute honour to have Chaired a company with such longevity and pedigree. 

“I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of our people and the farming community in general. I wish to thank them and other stakeholders for their support and friendship over many years.  

“The current management and staff are a diverse group of exceptional talent and expertly placed to meet the needs of our farming customers. I wish them every success for the future.”

After leading United Auctions through a successful Management Buy Out with David Leggat and Robin Tough in 2007, Mr McLean transformed the business during his decade as Joint MD with a strategic vision of investment and growth to become market leader.

This included spearheading the planning and development of the £15 million Stirling Agricultural Centre and its subsequent acquisition. Facilities at Dalmally, Lairg, Huntly and Oban were also acquired and upgraded to secure markets, jobs and services for local agricultural communities for the long term. 

Staff investment was also a focus under Mr McLean’s tenure with a robust succession planning programme rolled out across all levels and the introduction of the Company’s EMI Share Option Scheme to allow management and staff to share in the success and growth of the firm. 

In 2017, Mr McLean headed discussions for a Vendor Initiated Management Buy Out so the Company could pass to the next management team before continuing his investment in the Company as Chairman. 

George Purves, United Auctions’ Managing Director said: “Neil has made an outstanding contribution to the Group and has helped lead the direction of the Company through recent challenges. With great vision, exceptional leadership qualities and unwavering commitment, Neil has enabled United Auctions to achieve unprecedented success, ensuring we can continue to serve crofting and farming communities for the long term.”  

Mr McLean was also a Founder and Board member of angel investment group Wallace Equity in Stirling which has recently expanded its footprint to merge with Edinburgh-based Apollo Investments. 

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