John Dunlop – Job Talk – 4 September 2018

John (with sausage skin!)

John Dunlop gave the members a comprehensive and amusing resumé of his career, preferring the verb definition of ‘career’ as ‘moving swiftly and in an uncontrolled way’ to describe the route his working life had taken. Rejecting an academic route he began as a management trainee in London, with J.Sainsbury in the days when it was still a family firm and the stores, astonishingly, closed at 4.00pm on Saturday and reopened on Tuesday morning. After a valuable training there he returned to Scotland and a job with Cadbury where excellent management and marketing practices shaped John’s professional approach for the rest of his life. From there he switched to Warner Lambert in Manchester, a multi-national healthcare business whose range included ‘beneficial confectionary’ such as Halls Mentholyptus. Despite again benefiting from good experience and first class personal development, and now with a young family, John looked for greater security and joined Devro Limited, a highly successful Scottish company. Devro is the world’s leading suppliers of collagen casings used primarily in the production of sausage and other meat products. In his time there John was involved in many changes and contributed to substantial business growth. However, after a major contract loss in Russia, John and many others had little choice but to leave Devro.

And now for something completely different! Three months after leaving Devro, John, ‘the man with two left feet’ and from a rugby school, found himself as Director of Policy and Administration at the SFA, responsible for several departments and a staff of over 60 working effectively as Number 2 to the new CEO David Taylor. Between them they set out to try to modernise the SFA – no easy task. John went on to regale his audience with a number of anecdotes gathered during his time there. Overall he considered it had been fun to have been part of something ‘very special’, if a little surprised to be addressed as “Son” at the tender age of 47!

Using his experience in high level sports administration, John became involved with voluntary directorships in third sector organisations, and also as the CEO of British Skiing and later Scottish Squash. Still active John has more recently developed interests in other charitable projects. All in all, John felt he had been lucky to have had such a richly varied and enjoyable career path and observed wryly in closing that ‘I started out with nothing, and I’ve still got most of it left!’

Beginning his vote of thanks after a long talk, Muir Austin, with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, noted that ‘the sun has now gone down’ before, in a more serious vein, complimenting John on his interesting and amusing account of a very varied career.