Gordon & MacPhail's Michael Urquhart (L) and Ewen Mackintosh (R). Image courtesy Gordon & MacPhail. June 24, 2014 – Gordon & MacPhail Managing Director Michael Urquhart has announced his plans to retire in September, and for the first time in the family-owned company’s 120-year history, a non-family member will take the reins. Ewen Mackintosh is currently Gordon & MacPhail’s Chief Operating Officer, and will retain that title after the transition. Urquhart will remain as a non-executive director of the Elgin-based company.

“We are moving from what I describe as a sibling partnership, myself, my two brothers, and my sister down to the next generation,” Urquhart told WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie in a joint telephone interview with Ewen Mackintosh. “We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the right skills in place, and that means that we’re going to have some non-family as well. It’s part of an evolution of the business…it’s a positive evolution, and it’s about taking the business to the next level.” Mackintosh has spent his entire career with Gordon & MacPhail, starting as a student while attending St. Andrews University and joining the company full-time in 1991. His principal role over the years has been managing whisky supplies for Gordon & MacPhail, along with a key role in the development of Benromach Distillery, which Gordon & MacPhail acquired several years after he joined the company.

“The whole of the fourth generation who are involved in the business, together with the non-family executive directors…we’re working as a team, just as Michael, David, Ian, and Rosemary operated the business during their generation, ” Mackintosh said. “There was a captain of that team, and that’s the way I’m viewing it…I’m just captain of the team, everyone’s bringing their own skills, their own personalities to the table, and we’ll use those skills to drive the business forward.” Currently, five members of the fourth generation of the Urquhart family are working at Gordon & MacPhail in key positions.

Michael Urquhart will continue to remain involved in the family business in an advisory role, and will remain part of the Scotch Whisky industry as a member of the management committee for the Keepers of the Quaich. He will also continue his work with the Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s Highlands & Islands Committee.

For more on this story, listen to this week’s episode of WhiskyCast.

Links: Gordon & MacPhail