THE chairman of ice cream and renewable energy business Mackie’s has
highlighted some of the key lessons he has learned that have helped the
business prosper over four generations of family ownership.

Maitland Mackie underlined the importance for family businesses to embrace
change in a speech at the University of Strathclyde, the first in a series
of lectures presented by its new International Centre for Family Enterprise.

Mr Mackie, 75, presided over a series of fundamental developments at
Mackie’s while at the helm of the company, which was established by his
grandfather when he acquired Aberdeenshire’s Westertown Farm in 1912.

Highlighting his “no change no chance” business philosophy, Mr Mackie, who
handed the reins to son Mac and his sisters Karin and Kirstin 10 years ago,
explained how the farm-based business had made the successful transition
into ice cream producing after exiting milk retailing in 1987.

He described the sale of “half of my life” to Robert Wiseman Dairies as a
“huge trauma”, but said the move had given the company an appetite for
change that would stand it in good stead in the long term.

Mackie’s would go on to build an ice cream dairy on the farm in 1993
before, under the stewardship of Mac Mackie, the brand was expanded to
produce crisps under a joint venture with Taypack in 2009. A move into
renewable energy followed in 2005 when it built its first wind turbine.

Mr Mackie said knowing when to stand aside and let the young generation
take up the baton is an important lesson for senior members of family

He said: “It is a tremendous privilege to have these three running the
business. I do not like not making things happen, so I have done well
getting out the way.

“For old cantankerous [directors] and fathers to get out the way is a huge
lesson for businesses.”

Mr Mackie, who said it was important for family firms to recruit externally
for key roles, gave a strong case for renewable energy at the close of his

While he said the price of conventional energy will double in the next
seven years, the cost of renewables will fall thanks to new methods for
storing excess energy.

SAS Volunteer

We publish content from 3rd party sources for educational purposes. We operate as a not-for-profit and do not make any revenue from the website. If you have content published on this site that you feel infringes your copyright please contact: to have the appropriate credit provided or the offending article removed.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *