Muir Macdonald, former Managing Director of Bath-based BMT Defence Services, has been appointed as the regional chair of the South West Institute of Directors.
After 30 years in the Ministry of Defence and nearly 10 years with the BMT Group, Muir left BMT earlier this year and is now an independent strategic consultant with a portfolio of remunerated and voluntary roles.
Muir was Managing Director of BMT Defence Services for nine years, the largest operating subsidiary within the BMT Group of international engineering, science and technology companies. He led the company, an employee benefit trust, to considerable commercial and reputation success both in the UK and internationally; more than doubling its size to £50m and 300 people, developing capability in innovative ship design, as well as expanding into applied artificial intelligence and immersive video training.
He takes over the role of IoD South West Regional Chair in January 2019 from Nick Sturge, Director of Bristol’s Engine Shed, who steps down at the end of his three-year tenure.
Muir started his career in the Ministry of Defence, as a professional naval architect, designing and repairing ships and submarines before rising to significant leadership roles in defence equipment management. This covered a broad span; from delivering some of the most complex submarine and aircraft projects to leading policy in Whitehall; from leading collaborative programmes in Europe, the United States and NATO to running operational repair workshops.
At BMT, Muir enjoyed the different perspective of the private sector, developing a professional, empowered and well-governed environment, balancing the needs of clients, shareholders, and, importantly, the company’s people. He became an enthusiastic and committed member of the Institute of Directors, encouraging his fellow directors through the IoD development programme, himself becoming a Chartered Director.
More widely Muir was active in promoting defence industry and a good relationship with government, initially from an SME perspective and then as a ‘mid-cap’. He served on the UK’s Defence Industries Council, and was on the Board of the Aerospace, Defence and Security trade association, also chairing their ‘mid-tier’ forum of defence companies.
Within his new and developing portfolio, Muir was recently elected Chair of UKNEST, the UK’s collaboration of industry, the Royal Navy and the Ministry of Defence, developing and sustaining a world-class naval engineering, science and technology intellectual base. Here, he particularly enjoys bringing diversity and youth into the sector’s engineering professions.
Muir is a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Director. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; the Royal Institution of Naval Architects; the Institute of Directors; and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce.
Simon Face, IoD SW regional director said: “Muir’s excellent and long experience in senior leadership roles in the Civil Service and the private sector made him a stand out candidate for the role. Not only has he demonstrated commitment to the Institute of Directors by achieving his Chartered Director status, he has passed on that enthusiasm for the accreditation to many others in the BMT organisation, some of whom have been highest scoring candidates over recent years. We are delighted that he will be leading our membership in the South West through what will undoubtedly be an uncertain time for business in 2019 and beyond as we exit the European Union and embrace the challenges and opportunities this period of change will bring.
“I want to also take this opportunity to thank Nick for his unwavering commitment to the role over the past three years. He has been a superb ambassador for the IoD and its role in raising standards in leadership and corporate governance and we are indebted to the example he has shown."
Muir said: “It is an extraordinary honour to step into Nick’s shoes; he’s done a fabulous job for us. For want of a better word, it’s an ‘exciting’ time for all of us in leadership positions. Not only is the country facing unprecedented change to its place in the world, but the IoD is making its own changes to adapt to the future. The South West is a wonderfully diverse region of organisations and industries, representing almost every sector and every size, yet our geography gives us our own character - and challenges. I very much look forward to understanding this better, through the eyes of our members while helping the IoD be even more valuable in the success of the region. If there was ever a time when we need the very best in leadership and governance – it’s now!"