With only two weeks to go until Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren stands down, there is no sign of a replacement.
The selection process began in spring with the expectation an announcement would be made either at the Royal Highland Show or soon thereafter. The summer has, however, come and gone without confirmation of an appointment.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are currently in the process of recruiting a new chairman of QMS and hope to be in a position to appoint someone shortly.”
The lion’s share of QMS’s £6.4 million income comes from almost £4m producer and processor levies and £1.5m in assurance scheme fees.
Despite this, the organisation is not controlled by its levy payers and is a non-departmental public body, or quango, making it accountable to Scottish Government and giving Scottish Ministers the powers to appoint the chairman and board members.
New board members are also expected to be announced shortly to replace members retiring by rotation, but this cannot be done until the new chairman is appointed.
The new chairman could be appointed from the existing board or from outside it.
Mr McLaren, who is also director of NFU Mutual, has served the maximum two terms as chairman having taken over shortly after retiring as NFU Scotland chairman in 2011. He is known not to be keen to carry on at QMS in a caretaker role after his last board meeting later this month.
A failure to appoint a successor soon would leave the board without a leader. Whatever happens now, it is too late for any sort of overlapping succession.