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James S Milne
Chairman and Managing Director
Balmoral Group Ltd
James Smith Milne was born in Aberdeen in 1940. He is married to Gillian (m.2001), his second wife. Mr Milne’s first wife, Jill, died from cancer in 1994. Mr Milne has two daughters from his first marriage, Sarah (b.1985) and Caroline (b.1991). Mr Milne also has two sons, Cameron (b.2002) and Ewan (b.2003).
He was awarded the CBE in 1994 and received an honorary doctorate from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University in 1999.
Balmoral Group Ltd was established in 1980 with five employees, designing and manufacturing glass reinforced plastic products. Today, Balmoral has a payroll exceeding 400 and its turnover for the year ending 31 March 2003 exceeded £51m - app. 70% being realised through exports.
James Milne was born in Aberdeen, the youngest of nine children. Instead of working on the family farm, he decided to pursue a career in engineering and took an apprenticeship in agricultural engineering.
During this period, he identified the opportunities offered by non-corroding materials, which were to form the basis of his career as an entrepreneur. In the early 1970s, Mr Milne began work as a one-man band in the mushroom shed at the family’s Home Farm in Tullos, Aberdeen. This was to be the foundation of his future company, Aberglen.
Aberglen Holdings grew to become one of the major employers in the North-east of Scotland with a workforce approaching 1000 employees serving markets in 20 countries worldwide. The company ceased operating in the late 1970s due to political and financial instability in the Middle East where it was heavily involved.
Balmoral Group Ltd was established in 1980 with five employees, designing and manufacturing glass reinforced plastic (GRP) products such as storage tanks, navigation aids and modular buildings. Today, Balmoral has a payroll exceeding 400 and a turnover in excess of £51m – app. 70% of which was realised through exports.
Balmoral Group has invested heavily in the North-east of Scotland with the creation of its 45-acre corporate headquarters at Balmoral Park on the southern fringes of Aberdeen. During 1997, a fast-track project designed to install and commission the largest buoyancy manufacturing plant in the world was completed in Aberdeen in less than 10 months under Mr Milne’s leadership. More recently, the company installed the industry’s largest rotational moulding machine – capable of manufacturing products measuring some 7x4x4m.
Extensive market research has enabled the company to identify attractive and viable opportunities for market development leading to the successful establishment of Balmoral Norge AS in Stavanger, Norway, and Balmoral Marine Inc and Balmoral Tanks Inc in Houston, USA.
Mr Milne is a firm believer in using technology to keep ahead of the markets. Huge research and development investments have been made over the years resulting in innovative materials and unique processes being developed by the company. He also believes staff development is fundamental to business success and it is his philosophy to encourage employees to develop self-belief in addition to professional work skills.
Mr Milne is a board member of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, a member of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Council Development and Industry, a Member of the Institute of Directors, and Chairman of the Friends of ANCHOR, a fundraising body which supports cancer care and research at Grampian University Hospitals NHS Trust.