People and Business: Dynasty's end

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The Independent Online
On the tiles

ANOTHER great British industrial dynasty will end this month when Lord Weir retires as chairman of Weir Group, the Glasgow-based pump and valve maker.

He will be replaced by Sir Ron Garrick, the current chief executive. Duncan Whyte has been recruited from Scottish Power to be the new chief executive.

The Weir Group was founded 125 years ago by Lord Weir's great grandfather and his brother, in Liverpool.

The company moved to Glasgow in the 1970s as the oil industry sucked the pump industry north of the border.

Lord Weir, 65, takes the Tory whip in the Lords. He started his career at G&J Weir in 1950 with a holiday apprenticeship in the repair department.

His grandfather's butler would lay out his boiler suit each day, so company legend has it.

After this gentle introduction to the world of engineering the young Lord did a spell of national service and joined the family firm full time in 1957.

Mr Whyte, a 52-year old Scottish chartered accountant, nearly went to work for Weir in 1975 as finance director of the valve company.

But Mr Whyte was persuaded to stay at Arthur Andersen and become a partner in the accountancy firm's office in Edinburgh instead.

Now 23 years later Weir has finally got its man.