Alistair McLeish

Alistair began his career with a specialist management consultancy and worked on, or directed projects as diverse as crop protection inputs in UK & Europe, land use studies, regional aid development, product strategic marketing planning, and inputs into Chinese agriculture. He moved to become the communications, and then commercial manager, of a US owned leisure group, completely re working its route to market from a US model of owner operators to a UK model of local government partnerships.

In 1985 he founded Mmd in the UK. The agency provided 360 degree support – encompassing advertising, relationship marketing and public relations – to the agricultural sector across North West Europe. An office in Paris followed with many market leading multi-country clients including ICI, Renault, Du Pont, Cyanamid, Monsanto, Hoechst, Genus (Milk Marketing Board ), among others. In the late 80’s Mmd developed a marketing communications arm, providing UK-centred public relations to companies in the financial services, construction and industrial, technology and telecoms sectors. Clients included Barclays Bank, Tarmac, Oki and Lucent, Technologies.

Given the emergence of global networks and the fierce competition in UK markets Alistair evaluated global emerging markets where rapid change created dynamic market demand as well as lower barriers to entry. Mmd opened its first office in CEE in Prague in 1992/3 and, following the strategy of client multinationals, quickly opened offices in Budapest (1994) and Warsaw (1995). Under Alistair’s leadership Mmd grew to become a top-ten global independent PR agency, and the leading emerging markets focused communications consultancy in the World. In 2006 Mmd was sold to Huntsworth plc and on final-completion of the sale Alistair stepped down as Chairman in mid 2009.

In late 2009 Alistair co-founded Speyside Group, playing a hands-on role in the company’s growth across Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. At Speyside Alistair provides board-level counsel to a select group of clients while forging industry and partner relations in key global business & regulatory centers. A founder member of the charity ‘Suits on Bikes’ he has been its Chairman since 2007.