Perspectives from ISB

Walkers Shortbread is a 118 year old Scottish manufacturer of shortbread, biscuits, cookies and crackers. The company is Scotland’s biggest exporter of food. Joseph Walker founded the Aberlour, Banffshire-based business in 1898. His grandchildren Jim Walker, 71, and his brother Joe, 78 are currently managing the firm as joint managing director.

Although the Walker brothers have no plans to leave any time soon, they have finally started the process of succession planning with the firm’s fourth generation. The brothers are preparing six of their children to take over the family business. Jim and Joe, the third generation to run Walkers, each have three children in the business. Jim’s children, Jacqui, Bryony and Alastair, work in marketing, sales and exports, while Joe’s children – Nicky, Richard and Philippa – are production director, technical director and brand manager respectively.

The business now exports to over 90 countries and is among Scotland’s biggest exporters of branded foods. It produces around 25,000 tons a year of shortbread, biscuits, oatcakes and cakes and employs around 1,500 people – rising to 1,700 at seasonal peaks. Turnover rose 2.7 per cent to approximately £141 million last year, although pre-tax profits fell by 25 per cent to just under £11m.



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