Laidlaw appointed new chief at Shetland Recreational Trust

Former supermarket and building centre manager Steven Laidlaw has been appointed chief executive of Shetland Recreational Trust.

He succeeds James Johnston who is due to retire in August after 25 years at the helm.

Steven Laidlaw will take over as chief executive of Shetland Recreational Trust.

Mr Laidlaw, 54, will take up his new role in June, initially working alongside Mr Johnston as he prepares to lead the trust through a period of change.

As well as preparing the trust’s eight leisure centres for life after the Covid-19 lockdown, he will focus on how to maintain the trust’s success in the coming years.

Mr Laidlaw said he was excited to take on the role and was looking forward to the challenges ahead.

He said: “Change is inevitable, especially in these unprecedented times, I look forward to supporting the innovation and sustainability of the trust while upholding an already excellent standard of customer service with the main aim of improving the lives of the people of Shetland through sport and recreation.”

Mr Laidlaw, originally from Edinburgh, has 32 years’ senior management experience.

He moved to Shetland in 2002 when he became manager of Safeway in Lerwick, quickly moving on to Hay & Co. During his time at the helm of the building supplies company he oversaw the successful transition to the Buildbase brand.

After four years in that role he moved back to the central belt before returning to Shetland in 2012 to what was then the Lerwick Building Centre (LBC).

He was the manager as LBC became part of the UK-wide Jewson network. He later had responsibility for the chain of Jewson stores across the North-East of Scotland.

Mr Laidlaw is currently general manager of the Streamline shipping group in Shetland. The logistics business has recently consolidated its operations by moving into one site at Holmsgarth.

Recreational trust chairman Bryan Leask said Mr Laidlaw’s track record of managing change made him the ideal candidate to take over from Mr Johnston, who has worked at the trust for 35 years.

Mr Leask said: “We were looking for somebody to lead the trust through a period of change and deal with the impact of budgetary changes that are happening.

“Steven has a track record of leading organisations through significant changes and we are confident that his experience will serve the trust well as we plan for the future.

“His management experience will also help us prepare for reopening to the public once Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed in Scotland.”

The recruitment of Mr Laidlaw comes following a national recruitment campaign. Separate rounds of interviews were conducted by a sub-committee of trustees using video conferencing due to the coronavirus social-distancing restrictions.


Add Your Comment
  • John Thomas

    • May 13th, 2020 19:01

    “Change is inevitable”
    “He was the manager as LBC became part of the UK-wide Jewson network”
    “The logistics business has recently consolidated its operations”
    “he oversaw the successful transition to the Buildbase brand.”

    Exciting times ahead for our leisure centres then? Let the consultation begin!


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.