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The Entrepreneurial Exchange


Jim N. Walker, CBE DL 

Jim was born in Elgin and brought up in Aberlour, Speyside.  He was educated at Robert Gordons College and left in 1962. 

He joined the family business on leaving school and learnt every aspect of the work involved.  By 1970 he had become responsible for sales and had started to develop a national and international business for Walkers Shortbread.  In the early 70’s the company entered the export market for the first time.   

Along with his brother Joe and sister Marjorie, Jim has helped to develop Walkers from a village bakery operating only in Speyside to an international brand, marketed in more than 80 widely spread overseas markets. 

During that time the workforce has grown from approximately 24 to 1,200, whilst the turnover has increased form £60,000 to £100 million. 

The company now has a share of approximately 50% of the UK shortbread market and approximately 70% of the export market. 

Walkers has now become a flagship of Scottish foods and is the only UK food manufacturer to have won the Queens Award to Industry for Export Achievement on four occasions.  It has also been award three times the Food from Britain Exporter of the Year Award, open to the entire UK food manufacturing industry.  In 1995 Walkers set up its USA subsidiary, Walkers Shortbread Inc. to manage sales and distribution of its products in the United States.  In 2009 the company acquired its German distributor – Top Foods. 

Jim was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Banffshire in 1998 and was awarded the CBE for services to industry in 1999. 

Jim  married Jennifer in 1979 – they have four children, two daughters, Jacqueline and Bryony currently working in London and two sons, Jamie working in Glasgow and Alastair who is still at university. He is optimistic that some of his children will join the company after gaining some outside experience. His interests include fishing, golf and skiing and he has a keen interest in ornithology.

Chris Gorman, OBE DUniv FRSA

A successful serial entrepreneur, Chris Gorman has headed several highly successful ventures in technology and retail businesses. A founder shareholder in UK mobile phone retailer DX Communications, Chris then went on to create the internet services company, Reality Group.  

Current business interests include mobile, internet, lifestyle and music enterprises including Lucid Group, Quintessentially, Truphone and Media Corporation PLC.  

Highly regarded, Chris has received many business awards for his entrepreneurialism over the years, including Ernst & Young Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year, UK E-Business Entrepreneur, Young Business Leader of the Year, Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland in Business, and SBAAT Businessman of the Year Award.    

In June 2005 Chris was delighted to receive an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to business.   

Chris is a regular speaker at business events and has featured in several business related TV shows.  Chris lectures in schools and universities and is an honorary professor in business at the University of the West of Scotland, which also bestowed an honorary doctorate in business upon him. As well as supporting many charities, he is Governor of the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama and the past Chairman of The Entrepreneurial Exchange.       

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Venue information

No 29, Glasgow 29 Royal Exchange Square
G1 3AJ

0141 225 5615


Chair: Chris Gorman, OBE, DUniv, FRSA, Team Advisors, www.chrisgorman.com


  • James N. Walker, CBE DL, Walkers Shortbread, www.walkersshortbread.com

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Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC160976.
Registered office: Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead Street, Hamilton, ML3 7DP. Developed by Mercurytide