Stuart Laing, chairman & chief executive officer, Houlden.

There’s something bittersweet about Stuart Laing’s two greatest achievements over the last 12 months; the first focuses on the future of the Houlden Group and its Jewellers of Excellence consumer-facing brand, while the second centres on his unfolding retirement plans.

Stuart founded Houlden in 1975 and the organisation has been going from strength-to-strength ever since, with members enjoying a combined retail turnover of £250 million in 2014. In March, Houlden announced plans to launch its first consumer-facing brand, Jewellers of Excellence. This badge of integrity aims to inspire and instil customer confidence in a range of luxury jewellery that can be promoted across multiple channels; whether that is via mail-outs, digital platforms or on store fascias. Stuart is optimistic about the scheme and hopes to see more customers seeking out Houlden member companies on their search for that special item.

Glasgow may be Stuart’s city, but you’re also likely to fi nd him playing golf and relaxing on his boat in Florida. He looks forward to seeing Houlden’s recently appointed executive team, including new chief executive officer Helen Haddow, build a strategy to ensure the continued growth and success of the Group. Fortunately for the wider industry, Stuart won’t depart the executive board until June 2017, giving us all plenty more time to appreciate his unwavering and passionate contribution to jewellery, watches and retail.