Commenting on the OBE, Jonathan Andrew Macfie Muirhead, his full name as stated in the New Year’s Honours List for 2016, said:
“I was completely stunned when I learned of the honour a few weeks ago. I am also absolutely delighted, and extremely proud, in particular of the recognition for the leather industry and of the great work and successes of the individuals and brands within Scottish Leather Group. It is a great privilege to be recognised in this way, and I aim to use it to further my work as what I hope is a very positive representative not only of Scottish Leather Group, but of the leather industry internationally.”
Jonathan Muirhead, 64, was born in Bridge of Weir near Glasgow, and joined the family company in 1970 as a sixth generation leather manufacturer. The original business was founded in 1758 by John Muirhead, and Jonathan’s great grandfather went on to found Andrew Muirhead & Son Ltd in 1840, and grandfather Arthur Muirhead founded Bridge of Weir Leather Company Ltd in 1905. Today, Scottish Leather Group is the largest leather manufacturing company in the UK, supplying the automotive, marine, rail and furniture industries.
During his time in the Scottish Leather Group, Jonathan has led the business through a number of significant changes, always striving to ensure the company is at the forefront of innovation and technology. Scottish Leather Group boasts the world’s only Thermal Energy Plant, where nearly all of the business’s waste is treated and re-used as energy for the manufacturing facilities at Bridge of Weir, and the Group manufactures the world’s only Low Carbon Leather. He has also led Bridge of Weir Leather Company to four prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise (in 2012, 2000, 1996 and 1985).
Jonathan is President of the United Kingdom Leather Federation (since 2013), and of the Confederation of National Associations of Tanners of the European Community (COTANCE), and is also a Trustee to a number of industry charities, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers in London, and is Chairman of the Glasgow International Jazz Festival, also a registered charity.
With a combined heritage of nearly 500 years and its leather exported to over 60 countries around the world, Scottish Leather Group companies are a continuing international success story, supplying world class brands that include Aston Martin, British Airways, Emirates, Jaguar, Land Rover, Virgin, Volvo, Vertu and many more. The Group comprises five companies, Andrew Muirhead & Son Ltd, Bridge of Weir Leather Company, WJ & W Lang Ltd, NCT Leather Ltd and SLG Technology Ltd.