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Future clear for windows firm as brothers take over day-to-day operations

By Alasdair Fraser

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Cairngorm Group handover: David Dowling (centre) with sons Scott and Chris (glasses)
Cairngorm Group handover: David Dowling (centre) with sons Scott and Chris (glasses)

An Inverness-based windows and conservatories firm is passing control to a fourth generation of the family.

After more than 20 years as managing director of Cairngorm Group, David Dowling is to switch roles to become group chairman at the end of this year.

The well-known local businessman will continue to oversee company strategy, but will pass day-to-day operations to sons Chris and Scott.

The brothers have been directors of the company for more than 10 years.

Cairngorm, which employs 90 people in Inverness, Thurso and Elgin, is 67 years old and has trebled in size during David’s time in charge.

“I started working part-time with the business when I was 13 in 1971 and, two years later, I went full-time,” David recalled.

“It is time to reschedule my input and step away from daily involvement. As group chairman, I can assess what is happening and offer advice, while also focusing on what the business needs to do in the future.

“Chris and Scott have received an extensive grounding and, from January, they will have a well-merited opportunity to step forward to take the helm.”

The firm has built success on staff care and loyalty, with a quarter of employees with them for 25 years or more.

“Continuity is there to underpin the business going forward in my sons’ hands,” David said.

“I am looking forward to spending more time with my partner Sharon and expanding our shared love of dogs, travel and football.”

Chris believes the pair are ready to take the reins, but paid tribute to his father’s success.

“Dad built up the business from a £1.5 million turnover to a £10 million turnover and it will be the end of an era when he steps upstairs,” he said.

“Scott and I have a combined 40 years of experience working for Cairngorm so we’re well prepared to take over. But dad has done a magnificent job in growing and diversifying the company so it’s important that we will retain his advice and guidance going forward.”

The brothers will become joint managing directors.

The business was launched in 1953 by David’s grandfather William Gray in premises in Wells Street, Inverness.

Mr Gray was succeeded by his son-in-law Alasdair Dowling, David’s father, who retired 22 years ago. David, a director of Brora Rangers FC, is also a member of the council of the Scottish Football Association.

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