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Tuesday, August 4, 1998 Published at 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK

UK Politics

Curriculum vitae: Gus Macdonald

[ image:  ]
Gus Macdonald


New minister for trade and industry at the Scottish Office

Also known as:

Sherpa - a reference to his skill at both hill walking and social climbing
MacCrony (by those who see Macdonald's appointment as the latest chapter in the saga of Tony's cronies)

Previous experience:
Left school at the age of 14 to start work in the Clydeside shipyards where he was a leftwing militant. He has since risen to become a millionaire broadcaster and businessman.

Independent worker:
Despite being a minister, Macdonald will be accountable to no-one as he is neither an MP nor a peer until he is elevated to the House of Lords in the autumn.

Political qualifications
"I became non-political about 25 years ago and I have not carried a party card since," he said this week.

Nose for business
Since leaving journalism and becoming the head of the Scottish Media Group (formerly Scottish Television), Macdonald has increased the company's value ten times. He also reduced the workforce at Scottish Television in 1990 from 800 to 330.

Flexible thinker:
On leaving behind the radical views of his youth, the former secretary of the Gorbals Young Socialists once said: "The views people hold when they are young are often quite different from those they hold when they are mature and have gained experience. I have just been constantly in touch with changing realities."

Good mixer
Although he denies charges of cronyism, Macdonald is good friends with both the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, and the Scottish Secretary, Donald Dewar.

Outside interests:
Is on the boards of the Bank of Scotland and Scottish Enterprise and has a directorship at the British Film Institute and is a member of the Reform Club.

In touch with the Zeitgeist:
"I think cronyism is the buzz word of the last month or two but I think it starts to lose all meaning if you attach it to this."

Previous salary
Since becoming a minister, Macdonald has had to sell his shares in SMG netting him around £786,000.

The new minister will receive no pay.

Donald Dewar:
"He has the right qualifications, he has the track record, and he is someone I'm very happy to have on board."
Labour MP Tam Dalyell:
"I'm afraid it [his appointment] smacks of cronyism because there is a gratitude for what Macdonald did when he was in charge of STV during the referendum in the campaign `Yes-Yes'."

Availability for work:
Sooner than one might think - Macdonald could be out of his new job when the post is taken over by the new Scottish parliament in 2000.

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