Sarah-Jane Laing

Sarah-Jane Laing
Director and Chief Executive

Sarah-Jane was appointed as Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) in December 2019, the first woman to hold this role in the organisation’s 110 year history.

Sarah-Jane, who lives on the family farm in Hume in the Scottish Borders, has steadily climbed the ranks at the rural business organisation over the past fifteen years, starting out as housing strategy officer before moving to the role of Head of Policy and then Executive Director in 2017, before her current role as Chief Executive. Sarah-Jane was also reappointed as a Board Director at our online Annual General Meeting in April 2020.

Leading a team of 25 SLE colleagues based across Scotland, Sarah-Jane’s role includes influencing the UK Government on a wide range of issues that will impact rural Scotland. At Holyrood, her focus is on addressing climate change, increasing the supply of quality, affordable rural homes and developing a post-Brexit land-use policy which delivers resilient businesses and thriving rural communities as well as increased environmental resilience and wider societal benefits.

She is also responsible for encouraging Scotland’s landowners, whether they are communities, private individuals or charities, to be open, inclusive, enabling and responsible, through SLE’s Landowners’ Commitment. The Landowners’ Commitment sets out how landowners can continue to operate their businesses, while contributing to the public good and all SLE members sign up to it.

Prior to joining SLE she spent over 10 years in housing and planning with local authorities and housing associations. 

Sarah-Jane represents SLE on a large number of external stakeholder groups, is a member of the Scottish Government's Women in Agriculture Taskforce, the Climate Change Emergency Response Group  as well as a recipient of the Farmers Club Windsor Leadership bursary.

If you were a Scottish animal, which would you be and why?
A border collie – intelligent, hard-working, easily bored and not afraid to ‘nip’ when required!

What do very few people know about you? 
I collect antique books. Also as a youth I was a decent sprinter and spent my weekends travelling throughout Scotland and the North of England on the professional games circuit

Which three words best describe your outlook on life?
Go for it!

Tell us, in 10 words, what you would like your legacy to rural Scotland to be 
A living, working countryside understood and valued by everyone with jobs and homes in harmony with the natural environment