Score Group’s Conrad Ritchie has ended his 32 year career at the firm after the family business was sold to private equity company SCF Partners.
Mr Ritchie, who led the business through the last oil and gas downturn, handed in his resignation in December after the business was sold for £120 million.
For the last six months he had remained with the firm in a consultancy role.
But now after more than 30 years his time has come to an end.
Score Group is renowned for its work with apprentices across the north-east employing hundreds of youngsters straight out of school.
And Mr Ritchie confessed that the programme all started with him.
He said: “I haven’t known anything else since I was 10 years old. It is quite a wrench to be moving on but I am looking forward to the future. Clearly I have a very strong connection to the business historically and more importantly the teams of people that make it work.
“The company started when I was 10-years-old and I have been hands on ever since. However, I officially started as an apprentice when I was 16. I was the company’s first apprentice. I was the Guinea pig, in more ways than one.”
Following the completion of his apprenticeship Mr Ritchie spent a period of time in Norway running the facilities there. He then took on roles within asset management, turbine repair and maintenance and fuel systems and gas turbines.
He said he has always enjoyed being hands on with people and helping them develop their careers further and that is where he wants to focus his skills going forward.
He said: “I have a great deal of experience with apprenticeships and I want to share that and help give people a positive destination in life.
“I would like to think that with 32 years experience with the company starting right at the bottom and working my way up. You only get out if you put in and in most cases giving your time to people and start up businesses can be very, very rewarding. I am looking for the right opportunities to try to make that a reality maybe on a non executive board somewhere.”
The sale of Score Group for £120 million was one of the first major deals of 2020.
It was bought by private equity firm SCF Partners after months of negotiations.
The business, founded by St Combs’ Charles Ritchie in 1982, has long been the town’s biggest employer, with 1,900 people on the books across 14 different countries.
Having been privately owned and operated for the last 38 years it will perhaps appear to be a big change for those who have seen out most of their career there.
However, the new owners, specialist investors in energy services with 30 years’ experience of building businesses in North America, Scotland, the Middle East and Australia, say they are committed to the development of the company.
And in an interview with the Press and Journal they insisted they will continue to invest in apprentices and the local community.
Mr Ritchie resigned from his position in the company in December as the deal was being finalised and has remained in place for the last six months in a consultancy role.
Mr Ritchie said he wished the new owners well and said he would always been available to assist the firm or anyone who works there should they need his advice.
Conrad Ritchie said his charitable work was going to be a major focus for him in the coming weeks and months.
As well as preparing to reopen the Peterhead Prison Museum he has also committed to helping people suffering with mental health issues through the Crimond Medical Charitable Trust.
Both charities are supported by his family.
He said: “At the moment I am focusing on my charitable responsibilities which is the Peterhead Prison Museum and the Crimond Medical Charitable Trust. I have been doing a lot of work with them remotely and we’re getting the museum ready to open up again on July 15.
“That has been taking up a bit of my time recently and it will continue to do so.
“Just before the lockdown I volunteered up to be a mental health counsellor with Shirley’s Space, it’s a mental health support group which operates out of the Crimond Charitable Trust building. They started up a year ago but the demand has been huge. It’s something I have wanted to get involved in but because of the lockdown it has been difficult.”
Mr Ritchie said the cause is particularly important to him having witnessed the struggles of many of his apprentices over the years and the stigma attached to it.
He added: “If you take men’s mental health, in my past life at Score, obviously we had a lot of apprentices and I was very much aware of a lot of the stigma around mental health and sadly one of our apprentices committed suicide last year. So it kind of brought it to the forefront of my mind in terms of thinking about how I can help.
“There are remote sessions being rolled out at the moment but because I haven’t had the official training it has meant I haven’t been able to get involved but that will change in the weeks to come.”