Award winning chief executive backs Alex Salmond for First Minister

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by G.A.Ponsonby

The SNP’s election campaign has received yet another boost with news that one of Scotland’s most respected businessmen has become the latest figure to endorse Alex Salmond’s re-election as First Minister

Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, has today become the latest in a series of high profile successful Scots to give his public support to the SNP leader.

Mr Gilbert, who was last week named chief executive of the year at the Business Insider/PWC Scotland Plc Awards said: “I am pretty pragmatic when it comes to who runs the country where I live and started my career and have a simple view – I want to see policies in action that create a more financially responsible and stronger Scotland.  I know Alex Salmond wants that too.”

The award winning businessman argued that the time was right for Scotland to have more financial powers and added:

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the First Minister over the last few years and agree with him that there has never been a better time for Scotland to become more responsible for the way the country supports itself.  I have been impressed with his vision for the future and believe he should serve as First Minister for a second term to continue to push for growth, job creation and better public services.”

Welcoming the endorsement, Finance Secretary and SNP candidate for Perthshire North, John Swinney, said: “This is a fantastic endorsement for the re-election of Alex Salmond as First Minister.  Martin Gilbert, who just last week was awarded the title of Scotland’s chief executive of the year, is hugely respected by his peers in the business community as chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, a Scottish company which is a global success story.”

Already, Alex Salmond has been endorsed by many leading business figures including Brian Souter, Sir David Murray and Jim McColl.

The SNP leader has also been given backing from respected figures in the Labour movement such as ex-Ravenscraig shop steward Tommy Brennan and former Labour councillor Bashir Maan.  Senior LibDem figure John Farquhar Munro has also voiced his support.

Others backing the re-election of Mr Salmond include successful people from the arts such as Mark Millar and Midge Ure, and leading figures from rural Scotland and the food industry such as Lady Claire MacDonald, former NFUS president John Cameron, and tenant farmers’ leader Angus McCall.

John Swinney added: “The SNP is working hard for all Scotland’s communities, and it is backing such as this that is persuading people across Scottish society to support the re-election of Alex Salmond as First Minister.”

Only last week Martin Gilbert won Scotland Plc CEO of the Year (Business Insider/PWC Scotland Plc Awards 2011).  Aberdeen Asset Management also won Large Plc of the Year following growth in funds under management to £183bn, and was praised by the judging panel for its “outstanding performance”.  The company is now one of the largest independent asset management groups in Europe, and employs around 1,800 people in 24 countries.

The news of Mr Gilbert’s endorsement was followed by the announcement that Jim Spowart, founder of Intelligent Finance, and Peter de Vink, Director of Edinburgh Financial and General Holdings, had also given their backing to the SNP’s record and approach on jobs and the economy.