Arran Aromatics hires new chief executive for international expansion

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Arran Aromatics, Scotland’s leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of luxury toiletries, lifestyle products and gifts has recruited Jacqui Gale, who was previously chief executive of Crabtree & Evelyn’s business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, as its new chief executive to drive forward the company’s ambitious international growth plans.

Gale: new role

Gale: new role

Iain Pittman, who has had a long association with the company, has become chairman following the departure of Alastair Kerr.  Alastair joined the business as chairman in 2013 when BGF (Business Growth Fund) invested £2.8m in the company and stood down after completing his role to help stabilise the business and lay the foundations for its expansion. 

Gale studied chemistry at Edinburgh Napier University before joining cosmetics brand Estee Lauder.

Her career has included working with brands such as Lulu Guinness, Pretty Polly lingerie/hosiery and Revlon Cosmetics, as well as driving the European performance of clothing manufacturer Russell Europe prior to its takeover by Fruit of the Loom and leading the growth of clothing distributor, Falk & Ross Group based in Germany.

Gale said: “I feel like I’m living a dream with this new appointment at Arran Aromatics.  I always wanted to run my own beauty business so chose to study chemistry because I knew it would give me a good insight into the production process.  My career really took off after starting at Estee Lauder in 1982 and I have worked with a number of leading brands across a number of sectors ever since.

“Arran Aromatics is such a beautiful exciting brand and it feels like my treasured secret waiting to be told, so I’m excited to involved in helping the brand develop around the world.”

Pittman said: “On behalf of the board and all the staff at Arran Aromatics, I’d like to welcome Jacqui Gale to the company.  Her experience working with big names like Crabtree&Evelyn, Estee Lauder and Revlon will be a huge asset in helping us to expand our overseas sales.

“We’ve achieved so much since BGF invested in our business in 2013 and I’m excited to be working with Jacqui to grow the brand even more.  We are all learning from her global brand experience already and can feel the business transformation.

“I’d also like to thank Alastair Kerr for all of his wise advice during the 18 months he worked with us to build the solid foundations for the next stage in our story.”

Duncan Macrae, BGF’s investment director, who also sits on the Arran Aromatics board, said: “Jacqui is widely recognised and respected in the industry and brings strong international expertise that will be beneficial to the growth of the company.

“We met Jacqui through a mutual business contact and introduced her to Arran Aromatics. This is typical of BGF’s approach to investing whereby we seek to add more value to a business than just the financial support for growth.”

Pittman began working with the company in 2009 and brought on board BGF to take a minority stake in 2013. The company has annual revenues of around £5m a year, and employs 120 staff on Arran and in its network of ten shops and nine concessions on the UK mainland.

Arran Aromatics was founded in 1989 by Janet and Iain Russell in the kitchen of their cottage on the Isle of Arran, off the West Coast of Scotland, before quickly expanding into its current base on the island at Home Farm.

All of its products are still made and hand-finished in Scotland, before being sold in more than 30 countries.  The business most recently opened a new store in Edinburgh’s George Street, relocating from a basement space to a prime retail position in the heart of the city’s stylish shopping district.

Arran Aromatics also creates bespoke products for several big-name brands, including Cromlix, Abode Hotels Macdonald Hotels, Cameron House and the DeVere Group.