Movers & Shakers

The latest appointments and promotions in Scotland

The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search

A changing of the guard was revealed at chartered surveyor Graham + Sibbald this week, with previous managing partner Les McAndrew moving up to the senior partner post at the Scottish property firm and Glasgow office head Calum Campbell replacing McAndrew as managing partner.  

On the tech scene, Ian Stevens, former Touch Bionics CEO is the new chairman of MedTech startup MIME Technologies.  The University of Aberdeen spin-out, now headquartered in Inverness, is developing software to support first aid in remote locations and is targeting the short-haul aviation sector with its first product. 

As the digital skills gap in Scotland continues to pepper press headlines, CodeClan, the UK’s first digital skills academy, announced plans to expand its Glasgow operation and has moved from the Tontine Building to Clockwise, a dynamic new co-working space in the city. 

CodeClan CEO Melinda Matthews Clarkson used the media event around the move to make a case for more Scottish businesses to engage with her team around its employer partner network. 

Left to right are Ian Stevens, Anne Roberts and Alasdair Mort of MIME Technologies (by Stewart Attwood)

Left to right, Lesley Anne Jeffrey from Clockwise, Scott McKeand from Castlight & Melinda Matthews Clarkson from CodeClan

Scotland’s fast-growth tech sector hogged much of the business news this week, with RBS acquiring accounting software specialist FreeAgent, P2P lending platform LendingCrowd securing funding from Equity Gap and the Scottish Investment Bank, and Glasgow-based MindMate, whose team develops an app for Alzheimer’s sufferers, winning support and funds from a number of prominent US VC investors.  

Scotland’s tech community now turns its attention to EIE18 in a fortnight’s time, when the next wave of Scottish startup talent will pitch for seed to Series A funding to a gathering of UK and international investors. 

In an article I wrote for The Scotsman this week, 5 of the startups to watch at EIE18 include ethical video advertising platform Good-Loop, professional photographer platform Findr, University of West of Scotland spin-out Novosound, blockchain technology specialist Wallet.Services and fantasy football betting player Premier Punt Group

Perth-based energy giant SSE, in the midst of merger negotiations with nPower, has appointed former UK head of operations at German utility Eon to its board as a non-executive director.  SSE chairman Richard Gillingwater said Cocker brings, "a wealth of energy sector experience and insight that will be invaluable in the years ahead as the SSE group of businesses evolves and the sector itself continues to change rapidly." 

In banking circles, Liam McGonigle joins Barclays from Barclays Wealth as a business development manager, while Alistair McCallum has exited Santander to take up a regional role in Aberdeen with Close Brothers.

At last week’s IoD Scotland Director of the Year awards in Glasgow, winners on the night included EICC Chief Executive Marshall Dallas in the Public Sector Director of the Year category, Simon Erlanger of Isle of Harris Distillery picked up the gong from the medium-sized business shortlist, Celine Sinclair of The Yard in the small business section and a special award went to the University of Edinburgh’s Sir Timothy O’Shea FRSE. 

The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search

Edinburgh Skyline.jpgScottish Renewables, the member-based organisation that supports the growth of the renewables industry in Scotland, announced a changing of the guard this week.  Rob Forrest replaces Patricia Hawthorn as chairman, while David Cameron, head of policy at EDF Energy, becomes vice-chair.  Six new directors have also been appointed to the board.  

In Scotland’s university sector, Gail Boag, a former BT Scotland board director, returns to her alma mater as Dean of Edinburgh Napier University's business school.  Boag, who is tasked with building the international profile of the business school, said: “This is a really interesting time for the sector, which has been experiencing a period of unprecedented change, with increasing student demand, new providers emerging, new learning model, increased globalisation and a reduction in the availability of national funding.”    

Chartered surveyor Graham + Sibbald announced the latest in a series of senior hires this week, with news that Tom Templeman, a former director at DTZ and Faithful + Gould, has joined the specialist property firm as head of building surveying for the east of Scotland.  Graham + Sibbald recently relocated its Edinburgh office from Manor Place to 40 Torphichen Street in the Haymarket area of the capital.    

On the accountancy scene, Andrew Holloway has exited Grant Thornton to take up the newly-created head of entrepreneurial tax role at Johnston Carmichael.  Holloway, well known by Scotland’s entrepreneurial community, brings experience of working with tech startups including around funding rounds.  

One of Scotland’s greatest startup success stories, BrewDog, the craft brewer, bar-owner and soon-to-be hotel operator, has appointed Tanisha Robinson as managing director of its US division.  Following last year’s announcement of plans for its first hotel in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month BrewDog revealed details of its second hotel - the DogHouse - near its headquarters and brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.  

Traveltek, along with Skyscanner and more recently TravelNest, is one of the Scottish companies adding to the nation’s growing reputation in travel technology.  The East Kilbride-headquartered travel management software developer, which helps customise holidays for agents and tour operators, has hired former Norwegian Cruise Line senior executive Francis Riley to support its strategic growth plans in the Americas.  Riley will be based in Traveltek’s Miami office. 

Scotland’s tech nation has a busy few days of high profile events next week, with DataFest and the Northern Tech Awards coming to Edinburgh.  DataFest, organised by The Data Lab and focusing on innovation around data science at a time when Scotland’s currency in this area continues to rise, will see native data talent mix with international speakers, with the event now in its second year.  

On Thursday, global investment bank GP Bullhound brings the Northern Tech Awards to Edinburgh for the first time.  With many of the great and the good from Scotland’s tech scene in attendance, GP Bullhound will release its annual table of fastest-growing tech companies and highlights will include FanDuel co-founder Rob Jones being interviewed by Wired UK founding editor David Rowan.

(GP Bullhound Managing Director, Hugh Campbell pictured)


The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search

Chiva Brothers, owned by French drinks giant Pernod Ricard, made an interesting appointment this week in the form of the company’s first ever head of sustainability.  Appointee Sandrine Ricard will work alongside global communications director Jennie Norrish for the Paisley-based company best known for its whisky brand stable that includes The Glenlivet and Ballantine’s.   

This week, both The Herald and The Scotsman reported on two key hires for Social Investment Scotland (SIS), the body that makes loans to charities and social enterprises across Scotland and, more recently, started to invest in social enterprises.  Former Lloyds Banking Group customer relationship manager Theresa Sharp and former RBS relationship director Brian Henderson join SIS’s investment management team.  

Anderson Strathern has added Sarah McKinlay to its highly rated private client team.  The Scottish legal firm also announced that Carole Tomlinson is the new head of the practice.  In other news from the legal scene and as reported by Insider, MacRoberts has appointed Neil Kennedy as its new managing partner.  Kennedy, a corporate lawyer and adviser to Scotland’s SME community, replaces John Macmillan.  Meanwhile, MacRoberts former head of corporate recovery, Alan Meek, has joined Morton Fraser as a partner and international law firm CMS, which merged with Dundas & Wilson in 2014, announced six partner promotions across its Scottish offices.  

AMIQUS MS.pngAt Scottish property specialist Rettie & Co, Sandra Jablonska has recently been appointed as Marketing Executive and at fellow industry player Savills, the international property firm has announced a series of promotions across its Edinburgh and Glasgow offices including at associate director level. 

Denholm was in the business news again this week around a partnership we have struck up with the award-winning Edinburgh-headquartered startup, Amiqus.  The deal - which marks Amiqus’ first move into the executive search and recruitment sector - allows us to incorporate Amiqus’ web-based compliance software, Amiqus ID, into our candidate offering. 

Amiqus CEO and founder, Callum Murray, is pictured with our own COO, Marisa Carroll.  

Commenting on the deal with Amiqus, who are chaired by Sir Sandy Crombie, our CEO Nicki Denholm said: “The use of technology and digital communications increasingly supports our ability to attract specialist marketing and commercial talent from across the UK and the rest of the world and Amiqus ID gives us an enhanced offering which is of particular importance as we approach a new GDPR reality.” 

In the week when International Women’s Day took place and was marked across every continent, Scottish tech news outlet DIGIT ran a commentary piece - ‘The gender inequality issue and what to do about it’ -  by Silicon Valley-based guest contributor Sue Duris.  

As initiatives are on the up in Scotland around women in tech, Duris writes of the US perspective: “Gender inequality is magnified in the heavily male-dominated tech industry.  Studies show that women hold only 25 percent of all computing jobs (down from 36 percent in 1990), represent only 11 percent of the executive positions at Silicon Valley companies, account for slightly less than 15 percent of all board seats at tech companies, and hold only 7 percent of executive roles at the top 100 venture capital firms.  In addition, only 17 percent have a female founder.  And, in 2017, women founders received only 2 per cent of all venture capital dollars.


The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search

Aegon has announced 'a series of big changes to its senior management team to reflect the firm's shift from traditional life company to a "digital platform business".  Ronnie Taylor will lead the sales teams as chief distribution officer. Taylor joins from Scottish Widows and has also held senior roles at Standard Life.'

On the legal scene, one appointment in particular caught the eye this week when former professional footballer Derek Stillie - whose journeyman career as a goalkeeper included Aberdeen, Dundee United and Wigan - was hired by Brodies as an associate in the firm’s business disputes and asset recovery team. 

In another notable move in Scotland’s professional services sector, mid-tier accountant BDO has hired Rory McPherson from Royal Bank of Scotland.  McPherson, who has over a decade of M&A experience, joins as a partner in the corporate finance team. 

Outgoing Tesco Bank chief Benny Higgins was in the news this week around plans for a £2 billion national investment bank to support smaller businesses and strategic projects from housing to technology.  Reported widely across the UK and Scottish press, the Scottish National Investment Bank is expected to be operational as early as 2020.  The Scottish Government will formally respond to Higgins’ recommendations in May.  The Financial Times’ Scotland correspondent, Mure Dickie, reported that “Mr Higgins cited Germany’s KfW as an example of the economic contribution a state investment bank could make."

And, at a time when the question of how Scottish businesses fund their growth continues to move up the news agenda, former head of commercial banking at Royal Bank of Scotland, Iain Burnside, has joined the Edinburgh office of DSL Business Finance, the organisation that delivers the Scottish Microfinance Fund.  

In what is commonly referred to as “poacher turned gatekeeper” by those in the trade, or in other words when journalists make a move into PR, there have been two standout switches from Scotland’s newspaper industry to in-house communications roles.  At LendingCrowd, the fast-growing peer-to-peer alternative finance provider that loaned towards £20 million to SMEs in 2017, Gareth Mackie, formerly business correspondent at The Scotsman, is now head of content.  Meantime, Scott McCulloch, a longstanding business reporter at Trinity Mirror, has joined the communications team at Shepherd and Wedderburn.  

At Trinity Mirror, whose stable includes Scottish Business Insider, former senior business journalists Colin Donald (former business editor of the Sunday Herald) and Rosemary Gallagher (former business news editor at Scotland on Sunday and recently exited head of communications at the Scottish Whisky Association) have boosted Insider’s business reporting team under editor, Ken Symon.

Also in Scotland’s PR world and as reported by Insider, Rebecca Durnin has joined Media House International, the corporate communications and crisis management agency founded by her father, Jack Irvine, in 1991.  Continuing the family line in all things media, Durnin’s father is a former editor of The Scottish Sun and her brother Chris Irvine is an associate editor with MailOnline in New York.


The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search

In Scottish startup world, shopping app Mallzee announced a high profile board appointment alongside its latest funding round in the form of Peter Robinson, a former head of e-commerce at Marks & Spencers and multi-channel director at Selfridges & Co.  

Also on the tech scene, former Deloitte partner, Mike McGregor, has taken up a non-executive post at Scottish enterprise software company, Cooper Software.  Ubiquitous chairman George Elliott said McGregor brings “a wealth of experience and significant market knowledge to the business.” 

One of Scotland’s most dynamic angel investment firms, Galvanise Capital, has appointed Kate McKay as an associate at its Edinburgh HQ.  McKay, who was selected for Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Fellowship programme in 2017, joins founding partners Nick Jones, Harry Weber-Brown and Devina Paul as the firm builds its portfolio of fast-growth digital companies across the UK.  

Like George Elliott, Nick Jones is something of a serial chairman himself, perhaps most notably at customer analytics startup Aquila Insight who were acquired last year by US marketing group Merkle.  Global investment advisory firm GP Bullhound, who advised Aquila around the deal, last week announced the judging panel for the Northern Tech Awards which come to Edinburgh for the first time next month. 

Reported on by SBNN, doyenne of scale-ups, Sherry Coutu CBE, will be joined on the panel by former senior Hewlett Packard executive and Wood Group non-executive director Jacqui Ferguson and recently appointed CodeClan CEO Melinda Matthews Clarkson.  Colin McLellan, CFO at Skyscanner, commented:

“Championing the innovation and ambition of entrepreneurs across the North of England and Scotland will be critical to attracting the talent and investment required to fuel the next chapter of growth for both regions. The Northern Tech Awards provides a fantastic showcase of the rising stars of the Scottish and Northern English digital economy, particularly in this year’s host city of Edinburgh.”

In Scotland’s food and drink sector, Julie Hesketh-Laird takes up the chief executive reins at the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO).  Hesketh-Laird, a former acting and deputy chief executive at the Scottish Whisky Association, replaces retiring SSPO chief executive Scott Landsburgh, has also held a number of senior policy roles at the CBI in both Edinburgh and London.  

In the same industry, one that employs around 10,000 people directly or indirectly in Scotland and is worth over £500 million to the nation’s economy, salmon farming company Loch Duart has appointed Ian Laird, managing director of cashmere business Alex Begg, as a non-executive director.

The last week has seen more revolving doors in Scotland’s legal world, with Lorna Finlayson heading for Addleshaw Goddard from Burness Paull to boost the firm’s financial services regulation team along with Clare Hughes who moves from Eversheds in London.  Entering the building at Burness Paull as a partner to head up its restructuring and insolvency team is Michael Thomson following his exit from Pinsent Masons. 

As reported by Daily Business Group, the University of Strathclyde has appointed former Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson as a visiting professor.  Willon holds high profile NXD post with Royal Bank of Scotland, ScottishPower and Intertek. 


The latest departures, hires & promotions

As reported by Nick Freer, in association with Denholm Search, 16 Feb 2018

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.”  

PRESSPHOTO.pngIn 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.