In profile with Ramsay Macdonald of RM Solutions

Welcome to May’s edition of our special monthly feature which gives you the opportunity to ‘meet’ an industry figure and, hopefully, to discover another side to them beyond the well-known facts.

Find out more about this hugely experienced industry consultant.

This month we chat with Ramsay MacDonald, director at RM Solutions Limited – programme management and consultancy/non-executive director.

“Bad eggs don’t get fresh.” Ramsay Macdonald

Please give your career history in 25 words or fewer.

Graduate entry- Mobil – Sheffield to Sevilla, then joined BP- Milton Keynes, to Edinburgh. Sold terminals to and joined Certas, latterly with Essar – now working freelance.

Describe yourself in 3 words. 

Competitive, determined and thrawn (Scots with no direct translation into English).

What were your childhood / early ambitions? 

I wanted to be Prime Minister – I was named after one, and my parents had high expectations!

Describe your dream job (if you weren’t doing this).

Always fancied a sports agent job or anything football-related, really.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? 

So much from my time at Mobil: “Reputation is all important”, “always say no, if in doubt” (as you can then go back later with a yes – not so easy the other way round) and “bad eggs don’t get fresh!”

Share your top tips for business success.

You have to “turn up” and don’t leave anything on the pitch. Believe in yourself, never accept that you are second best, ever – but stay humble.  Don’t ask folks to do something you wouldn’t do. Customers are more important than management. Don’t tell lies.

What’s your most recent business achievement of note? 

Setting up RM Solutions and working with some great clients. If you hit a roadblock, we can help you find ways round, over or under it – most times.

Tell us your greatest fear.

That I outlive either, or both, of my kids.

Which is most important – ambition or talent?

Ambition. With ambition and drive you can do anything. Talent without application will fail.

What’s the best thing about your job? 

At last, I have a boss I get on with!

Which is the quality that you most admire?


What are you most likely to say? 

Have you not done that yet?

What are you least likely to say? 

We’ve always done it this way!

Describe your perfect day.

Hard to beat a good day’s skiing with family, friends, or total strangers. Not necessarily in Scotland though.

Do you have a favourite sports team? 


What’s the biggest challenge of our time?

People lie with impunity.

Cheese or chocolate?


Share your greatest personal achievement.

Having two marvellous sons and being together for 30 years with my wife.

What’s your pet hate or biggest irritant? 

Greed and waste, in equal measure.

If you were on ‘Mastermind’ what would your specialist subject be?

One of capitals of the world, European history or petrol filling stations of Great Britain!

If you were elected to government what would be the first law you’d press for? 

I believe in mandatory ID cards to digitise our public services and I’d also make it mandatory to vote.

If your 20-year-old self saw you now what would they think? 

They’d be pleased I am still much the same person with the same likes in music, films, jokes etc. and dislikes but they’d be disappointed that I hadn’t read more or been more politically active.

What is number 1 on your bucket list? 

Patagonia, just ahead of Brazil.

What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

Binoculars, a rifle and a big hat.

Tell us something about you that people would be very surprised by.

I have had a keen interest in birds since aged 7. Recently I got up at 7am on a Sunday morning to see some Waxwings. Last saw those 38 years ago.

Who would you most like to ask these questions of?

At the moment it has to be President Zelensky.