New Chairman for SRUC – Sandy Cumming CBE

Published Tuesday, 28th March 2017 in About SRUC news

Mr Sandy Cumming, CBE
(pictured – Mr Sandy Cumming, CBE)

SRUC has announced that Sandy Cumming CBE is to be its new Chairman.

The well known Highland figure has served on the SRUC Board since 2011 and will succeed the present Chairman Pat Machray OBE in October this year.

SRUC began its search for a new Chairman in November 2016. Welcoming the new appointment Pat Machray said: “I am delighted to confirm Sandy Cumming’s appointment. He has been a much valued member of the SRUC Board serving as a Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee. His wealth of experience will serve SRUC well. Sandy’s understanding of the needs of rural communities and businesses, coupled with his ability to look beyond the local, will offer SRUC tremendous leadership and support for the management team.”

Now living in Inverness but originally from an upland farm in Strathconon, Sandy Cumming graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc Hons in Agricultural Economics. He began working for the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB) in 1973, apart from time spent as a fisheries economist in Edinburgh. Following the establishment of Highlands and Islands Enterprise Sandy worked as a strategic planner before becoming Chief Executive of Ross and Cromarty Enterprise from 1993 to 1998 when he returned to HIE, becoming Chief Executive in 2000, a post he held until March 2010 when he was seconded to the Scottish Government as Partnership Director for Offshore Energy. When that secondment ended in 2011 Sandy worked with several organisations in a non executive capacity.

Sandy was awarded a CBE in 2003 for his services to economic development, and in 2010 was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of the Highlands and Islands. In addition to his SRUC Board Membership, Sandy is currently a member of The Accounts Commission, a Board Member of (and past Chairman) of the Cromarty Firth Port Authority, and a former Trustee of the Robertson Trust.

SRUC Principal and Chief Executive Professor Wayne Powell commented: “I very much look forward to working with Sandy during a period of considerable change for our organisation. SRUC is currently developing a bold new vision for our role in supporting the rural sector both here in Scotland and beyond our shores. Sandy’s close ties with rural communities, his appreciation of the value of research and his wealth of experience in change management across many sectors will be invaluable.

I would also like to express my thanks to Pat who has provided very valuable expertise and guidance to SRUC during his period as Chairman and will continue to do so until he steps down later this year. I know Pat and the rest of the SRUC Board are very supportive of Sandy’s appointment and we are all very much looking forward to continuing to working with him as he takes up his new appointment.”

Sandy Cumming said: “I am excited about my appointment and the role I can play in helping take SRUC forward. This is an organisation with a bright future. It is a national institution with the ability to provide all parts of rural Scotland with the research, education, training and advice needed to sustain economic growth, add value to rural businesses and support strong and vibrant communities. Internationally, SRUC's multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach is highly rated in many countries. There are considerable opportunities to expand our global reach."

Pat Machray served ten years as a Board member of SAC and SRUC becoming Chairman for a period which saw the appointment of a new Principal and Chief Executive and the preparation of the organisations new strategy. He will remain Chairman until October 2017.

For further information on the SRUC Board go to:


More articles in the news archive.