Jim McLaren has been appointed as chairman of NFU Mutual, replacing Richard Percy who is retiring after seven years in the post.

Mr Percy will step down at the end of September, after spending a total of 16 years on the Mutual's board, during which time the business has prospered – it is now the UK’s 14th largest insurer, with more than one million policies in force and £19 billion of assets under management.

Mr Percy said: “It has been a huge privilege to have served the Mutual over the last 16 years - seven of those as chairman. I am extremely proud of being part of this business which has grown strongly in the wider rural community and food processing sectors and, at the same time, developed its service to protect farm businesses through good times and bad, while keeping at the forefront of technological change.”

NFU Mutual group chief executive Lindsay Sinclair, said: "Under Richard's chairmanship, NFU Mutual has continued to flourish and I would like to thank him for the part he has played in the company’s success.”

Mr Percy joined the NFU Mutual Board in 2003 and became chairman in 2012. He previously held a number of roles at the National Farmers Union, including serving as an NFU council member. He lives and farms in Bovingdon in Hertfordshire.

Mr McLaren, who has served on NFU Mutual’s Board since 2012, will formally become chairman with effect from October 2019.

A former president of NFU Scotland, from 2007 until 2011, Mr McLaren is a mixed beef and arable farmer from Perthshire in central Scotland, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for services to agriculture. His beef enterprise consists of a herd of pedigree Simmentals and a bull finishing unit. His arable enterprise runs to more than 1000 acres, growing mainly winter wheat and spring malting barley, with some land let out for potatoes, peas and carrots. Mr McLaren's last post was as chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, a position he held from 2011 to 2018.

Mr Sinclair said: “Jim’s extensive farming expertise and leadership of many agricultural organisations, combined with his experience as an NFU Mutual director for the last seven years, provide the skills required to continue developing our services.”

Jim himself said: “As a mutual insurer protecting over three quarters of UK farmers, and a strong supporter of the National Farming Unions, NFU Mutual is one of the countryside’s leading organisations and as chairman I am looking forward to helping further develop its services for the benefit of members.”