James Withers

James Withers

Owner, JR Withers Advisory

James Withers is the former Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink and NFU Scotland. 

James now owns and runs his own business, JR Withers Advisory Ltd, which provides consultancy support to government, industry organisations and commercial businesses, in particular in the area of strategic economic development.

In 11 years as CEO at Scotland Food & Drink (SF&D), James led a unique industry and government collaboration to drive forward a growth strategy for the £15 billion Scottish food and drink sector. 

Prior to joining SF&D, James was CEO of the NFU Scotland which works across the agri-food supply chain and with government to secure a sustainable and profitable agriculture industry in Scotland.

James also has a number of non-executive director roles, including being on the boards of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Abbey Group, working to grow the UK and Irish tourism industries. 

James is part of the team delivering the Scottish Enterprise-funded Rural Leadership Programme, which supports business leaders across all industries in rural Scotland in developing their personal leadership skills and their own businesses.

In 2022, James was appointed by Scottish Ministers to lead an independent review of Scotland’s £3.2 billion skills delivery system. He presented proposals for reform in 2023 which have been broadly accepted by Scottish Government. 

James is also GlobalScot.