Jo Macsween

Central & South West Scotland

Jo is the former CEO of world-leading haggis brand, Macsween. She’s vintage Vistage – in fact, she left Macsween to become a Vistage chair having found six years of membership so fundamentally business and life-changing.

A professionally qualified marketer, Jo took her turn at nearly every aspect of running Macsween, including marketing, sales, business development, HR and finance. A pioneer, never a follower, she was the driving force behind its evolution from retail butchers’ shop to award-winning international food brand, synonymous with creative product innovations. All her achievements have been underpinned by high emotional intelligence rooted in deeply-held ethical values that drove, defined and strengthened the company’s brand proposition.

Jo understands the gritty realities of running an SME alongside the complexities of the family business dynamic.

She successfully championed stronger corporate governance and encouraged her family to establish a succession plan to ensure a smooth transition to the third generation.  She has also been part of a unique educational programme in Scotland which pioneered new thinking about how family businesses could both improve their business performance and achieve more harmonious family relationships.

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Her leadership was twice recognised in 2015, when she was awarded ‘Female Director of the Year’ by IoD Scotland and ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Food Industry’ by Scotland Food and Drink.  These accolades add to a list of numerous other awards she has achieved either personally or for her company over recent years.

Aside from Macsween, Jo’s board roles have included Tron Theatre, Glasgow and Oran Audio Technology.  She is a sub-committee member of Changing the Chemistry, a charity which supports increasing board effectiveness by promoting diversity of thought through the power of peer to peer support network.

Jo is an experienced, insightful and enthusiastic leader who enjoys working creatively with others and challenging entrenched thinking. Her greatest motivation is inspiring leaders to shine and see how the benefits ripple out to the business, their families, communities and the wider economy.

Jo offsets her love of food and wine by keeping fit (swimming, cycling and running).  Growing vegetables, cooking and sharing meals with friends is fundamental to her way of life with her husband, Roger.  She is a keen supporter  of the arts and a volunteer at Biggar Corn Exchange, a community arts venue near her home.  She enjoys meeting authors and poets at book festivals, is an avid filler of Moleskine notebooks, participates in creative writing courses and takes the time to write paper letters to friends.

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