Movers & Shakers

The latest appointments and promotions in Scotland

The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy

East Kilbride-headquartered Goal Soccer Centres plc, listed on the Aim market of the London Stock Exchange, has appointed a former Disney executive, Andrew Anson, as CEO.  Anson, also previously the commercial director at Manchester United, aims to drive the group’s US growth strategy and replaces Mark Jones who has left to run restaurant chain Carluccio’s.   

Barrhead Travel, the Glasgow-based travel group recently acquired by Travel Leaders Group from the US, has appointed Nesta Gilliland as its new marketing director.  Gilliland joins from Abellio ScotRail where she headed the marketing function. 

On the tech scene, FanDuel cofounders Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones were prominent in last week’s press around the launch of a new eSports and gaming platform, Flick.  Rob Jones said: “While the eSports market is relatively young, it is growing fast and we feel there is a huge opportunity there.  We know we work well together and have already proven we have the capability to build a global business from here in Scotland.”  

In another launch involving leading figures from Scotland’s business world, two former senior broker executives from Aviva have teamed up with technology entrepreneurs Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns who are backing an insurtech business focused on the commercial insurance broker market.  Chris van der Kuyl, who becomes chairman of Broker Insights, said: “These guys bring deep industry sector knowledge, first mover advantage and tonnes of ambition to a market that knows it needs to embrace the application of technology and data analytics to drive efficiencies.”  

There were a couple of senior appointments made in Scotland’s property sector last week, following announcements from Rettie & Co and Graham + SibbaldKaren Turner, a former Property Director at Pagan Osborne, has joined Rettie as Director of Letting as the Scottish property firm looks to roll out a one-stop shot asset management offering from sales to lettings and independent chartered surveyor Graham + Sibbald has hired industry stalwart Katherine Monro as Head of Agency-Aberdeen from Knight Frank.   

In accountancy sector news, David Bond, whose headhunting firm McGregor Bond announced a partnership with Denholm in December (Denholm CEO Nicki Denholm pictured with David Bond)  has been appointed to the newly-created post of director for ICAEW Scotland.  

On the arts scene, Robert Wilson, a former chair at the Edinburgh Arts Festival, has been announced as the new chairman of Creative Scotland.  Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “I welcome the leadership he will bring to Creative Scotland in taking forward their future strategy and supporting Scotland’s vibrant creative sectors.”

2018 got off to a busy start with several new moves

We were delighted with the appointment of Yvonne Balfour as Chief Marketing Officer, with our rapidly growing FinTech client, Ultimate Finance.


Other interesting moves in the market as reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy

At the end of January, and as covered by Insider and Daily Business Group, Tesco Bank confirmed that Ulster Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon is set to replace Benny Higgins as CEO and will take up the post in July.  It marks a long run as Tesco Bank CEO for Benny Higgins, who retires this month, after joining the supermarket bank in 2008.  Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis commented that Mr Mallon joins the bank “at a time of increasing digital change in financial services”.  Tesco has also announced the appointment of Charles Wilson to head its UK and Ireland business following the acquisition of Booker - which runs Premier, Londis and Budgens - in December.

At Anderson Strathern Asset Management (ASAM), the wealth management arm of Scottish legal firm Anderson Strathern, three lateral hires were announced including two from CEO John Brett’s former employer Aberdeen Asset Management with news that Fiona Gillespie, Phillip Ross and Nick Paul have joined the firm.  Gillespie, who co-managed the Aberdeen Multi Asset Fund, is now a Senior Investment Manager with ASAM, as is Phillip Ross who brings over twenty years of multi-asset experience.  Nick Paul joins ASAM as a Chartered Wealth Manager from Tcam Asset Management.  John Brett, a former Head of Global Distribution at Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “We see strong financial planning and multi-asset solutions as being the future for our clients against a market environment where we’re preparing for significant regulatory change over the next twelve months”.   


In the tech world, incoming CodeClan CEO Melinda Matthews Clarkson (pictured along with Maria Gutierrez of FreeAgent and CodeClan graduate Claire Smith) made former Skyscanner HR manager, Kim Watson, one of her first hires since beginning her tenure at the end of last year.  CodeClan, the UK’s first digital skills academy, also launched a couple of women in technology initiatives - the formation of a Digital Women’s Group and the availability of bursaries for women - something that Matthews Clarkson wrote about in a recent opinion piece for The Scotsman in which she says that: “Diversity and inclusivity in the workplace are so much more than buzzwords in 2018; instead, diversity is unequivocally shown to improve productivity”.  CodeClan is practising what it preaches by targeting 40 percent of female graduates from its professional software development courses in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  

PHOTO: Steven Atwood. Pictured (left to right): Maria Gutierrez, FreeAgent; Melinda Matthews Clarkson, CodeClan; Claire Smith, CodeClan graduate working for Signal


In social enterprise circles, Ken Barclay is now vice-chair of Social Investment Scotland (SIS), the body who provide loans to social enterprises and charities.  Barclay, who led the recent review into Scotland’s business rates system and previously held senior positions at RBS, will support current chairman Nick Kuenssberg who is expected to stand down from SIS in 2019.   

In the Scottish legal sector, Burness Paull has created a specialist team to deal with banking and financial disputes headed up by Stuart Murdoch.  Murdoch, a former legal litigation counsel at RBS, becomes a partner at Burness Paul and the announcement was covered by Insider and the Scottish legal press.