A new executive director has been appointed to fight the interests of the livestock industry.

Neil Wilson, who boasts more than 20 years of management and leadership experience, most of which has been in the agricultural finance sector, has been assigned by the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), to champion the interests of its members and the wider livestock sector.

Most recently, Mr Wilson from Thornhill in Dumfriesshire, ran his own specialist agricultural business consultancy, working with enterprises to help them grow, and was previously head of agriculture at HSBC Bank, leading one of the largest sectors within the company’s commercial banking division.

He will champion the pivotal part that the IAAS and its members – who represent every livestock auction mart in Scotland – play in addressing those challenges to strengthen agriculture, the food sector, other rural businesses and the communities in which they operate.

Mr Wilson will spend time with institute members to highlight the powerful role of the organisation and will also be working as a key advocate for the industry at the highest levels of government.

“I admire the auction system and the unique way in which it provides the best environment to realise the most transparent and real-time pricing for farmers. My father’s an auctioneer so I have seen all my life the vital business that’s done in the auction ring," said Mr Wilson.

“I see an important part of my role being to forge greater links with other stakeholders throughout the agricultural industry to see where we can join forces and share ideas to meet the challenges we face and seize the opportunities which emerge as the entire rural sector continues to evolve.”

IAAS president Scott Donaldson added: “Neil brings with him a real understanding of the entire agriculture sector and the challenges it faces, which is critical as the industry deals with an array of serious issues, not least the uncertainty which will be brought by Brexit. His skills and experience will serve our members well and I am delighted to be welcoming him to the team.

“Vibrant livestock markets are vital for flourishing rural economies. In what are anxious times generally for agriculture, the role of our members’ marts in ensuring fair and transparent prices has never been more important. Neil will help us deliver that message powerfully, build new relationships and expand our influence so that the voices of our members are heard.”