Ian Urquhart

Former Chairman of Johnstons of Elgin
Doctor of Business Administration
In recognition of his outstanding leadership, development and senior management of quality iconic Scottish products notably Cashmere and Whisky with a wealth of other contributions across many sectors.


On leaving school Ian carried out a two-year apprenticeship in the wine department of Harrods in London.  Then in 1966 he joined his family business back in Elgin, Gordon & MacPhail, a Scotch whisky distiller, wine and spirit importers, and wholesalers with a retail outlet offering rare and fine Scotch whiskies.  Ian played a pivotal role in developing the Scotch whisky industry at home and abroad throughout his career.

He spent 41 years with Gordon & MacPhail, helping to steer it on the path to international growth to become the multi-million-pound operation that it is today, and he also played an integral part in getting Benromach Distillery back into production, leading to the creation of some of the finest malt whisky that Speyside has to offer.

Ian retired from Gordon & MacPhail in 2007. Throughout his career he gathered various wine and spirit industry diplomas. In the 1990s Ian decided he needed to keep up with the business buzz words and he successfully completed his MBA through the Open University.

Ian has been also played a key role in the family business of his late wife Heather. Since the 1970s he has been a non-executive director of Johnstons of Elgin, world renowned luxury textile manufacturers, with almost 1000 employees.   He continues as a non-executive director and only recently passed the baton of Chairman to his daughter, Jenny.

Ian has just completed publishing three books about the history of Johnstons of Elgin and on Scottish Estate Tweeds.