Jo Macsween is the former CEO of world-leading haggis brand, Macsween. 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.
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.
In March 2017, Jo became Group Chair in Central and SW Scotland for Vistage, the world’s leading organisation for Managing Directors and Chief Executives wishing to grow their businesses and develop themselves. In this role, Jo works with leaders who want to grow and develop the organisations they serve, who care about their ‘legacy footprint’, aspire to achieve higher standards and are excited by incorporating new ideas and innovative thinking at every level of the organisation.
Jo is a member of the Scotland Office’s Scottish Business Taskforce whose aim is to develop outcome focused recommendations for action to UK Government to support business and wider economic growth in Scotland. The focus of discussions considers challenges and opportunities arising from EU exit, but primarily on what underlying barriers there are to productivity and competitiveness in Scotland and what interventions are necessary to address these.
An experienced, insightful and enthusiastic leader, Jo 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 is a director of Oran Consulting which provides professional business consultancy and coaching. Jo 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.