New Directors – bigger D&R Board is formidable platform for growth

Davidson & Robertson (D&R) have appointed three new Directors, expanding the breadth of skills across their Board and creating a stronger platform for developing staff and growing the business.

The new Board Directors – Derek Bathgate, George Hipwell and Ian Austin are all internal promotions, recognised for their achievements, dynamism and expertise. Martin Hall, Managing Director, broadcast the announcement to all staff via a video message.

The new appointments are a milestone for Davidson & Robertson – Rural Surveyors and Consultants with offices across Scotland and Northern England. Martin Hall said “The D&R team has grown considerably, appointing staff with years of experience to the Board, and recruiting graduates keen to work their way up the ladder. Looking to the future, we wanted to expand our Board of Directors, bolstering our skills and expertise. The recruitment process was robust, so it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to make internal promotions. Each of our new Directors will have specific roles and responsibilities”

Derek Bathgate is branch manager for the Castle Douglas and Ayr offices and brings strengths in strategic thinking and communication – he successfully led the company rebrand last year.  Derek has been with D&R for 9 years – joining as a Rural Consultant when he shared his time between D&R and the family’s 1,000 acre Auchenree Farms.  In 2014 Derek became a Fellow (of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (FAAV) and was awarded the Scottish Arbiters and Agricultural Valuers Association (SAAVA) President’s Prize for highest achieving  Scottish candidate – an accolade also won by the other two new Board Directors. In 2016 Derek became an Associate Director, taking on responsibility for the Castle Douglas branch and subsequently launched their newest office in Ayr last year.

Derek said “When I joined D&R there were two offices – now we have nine. It’s exciting to be part of a dynamic and growing business, being able to have a strategic input to our future. The rebranding last year was a great success, making more people aware of the wide-ranging services that we offer right across Scotland and Northern England.”

Board Director George Hipwell is an excellent example of how D&R supports and nurtures staff through their career. He joined four years ago as a graduate with a keen interest in Sales and Valuations and became a Chartered Surveyor the same year – he now heads up the Agency side of the business. In his spare time, George remains connected to the land, working on his ‘in-laws’ farm in West Lothian.

In 2015 George became a Fellow of CAAV – and like Derek, won the SAAVA President’s Prize. George became branch manager of the D&R Bathgate office in 2015 and an Associate Director in 2017. In the last four years, the Bathgate team has expanded their services, doubled staff numbers and moved to larger offices in Linlithgow.

George said “From day one, D&R provided me with opportunities to learn and develop skills in areas that interested me, and I really enjoy – Property Sales. We’re continually increasing our market share and this year, our Sales instructions are up 33% compared to 2017, which was our previous record. As a Board Director, I’m looking forward to having more strategic involvement, looking at special projects like driving efficiency and effectiveness across the business as well as seeing more growth in our Sales sector.”

D&R Board Director Ian Austin will focus on D&R’s people. Brought up on the family farm near Gatehouse of Fleet, Ian completed his professional training in Dumfries and Galloway and still has strong links to the area. He joined D&R as a Senior Surveyor in 2015 taking responsibility for the Edinburgh branch before becoming an Associate Director in January 2017. This year he also became the President of SAAVA putting him at the coal face of legislative and industry policy change. Like his colleagues, he also won the President’s Prize.

Commenting, Ian said “Historically, Utility work was what D&R were known for but Development and Sales are now a huge part of what we do and our company exposure has massively increased.  When I joined three years ago, we had thirty staff – we now have over fifty and we have opened three new offices.  Our people are our most important asset and I enjoy focusing on their training and development alongside my ‘day job’ so I’m pleased to be able to take this to another level.

“I’ll be implementing new ways to train, nurture and develop our staff, who all have great talent and enthusiasm. With so many offices, it’s important to provide consistent support for our future managers.

“We have a strong, pro-active senior team, and a rich seam of talent in our younger recruits – including three new graduates starting their professional career with D&R this summer, as well as numerous staff undertaking further qualifications.”

Focusing on training has reaped rewards. Five of the D&R Board have won the SAAVA President’s Prize for highest achievement in Scotland, the award is again coming back to D&R with this year’s winner – Alison Aitken – who works from D&R Lanark office.

Martin Hall concluded “We have a strong reputation for training staff, Ian Austin will help us develop that. Derek Bathgate’s strategic and marketing skills will steer us through improving communication and growth; George Hipwell will develop special projects looking at sales, structures and efficiencies.   It’s a formidable platform from which to grow and a very exciting time.”

To find out more about the team at D&R visit

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