Movers & Shakers

Departures, hires & promotions

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

While Denholm has added fast-growing C-suite and headhunting services to its overall offering in recent times, the firm retains a firm hold on its USP as Scotland’s pre-eminent player in search and recruitment for the corporate marketing function. 

All things digital have transformed marketing roles in every organisation , roles which continue to evolve alongside the constantly shifting plates of the business world. Industry research by Gartner last month identifies marketing technology spend, customer experience, innovation and personalisation as key trends for marketing leaders across

the globe, while Deloitte’s benchmark CMO Survey in Q4 of 2018 reveals a focus on marketing talent - in particular, evolving digital marketing needs triggering “increased importance for marketers in getting talent right” - as being integral for forward-thinking corporations.

Denholm’s own digital credentials were highlighted in November, with news that the firm has been chosen as the UK partner of Vienna-headquartered Talentor, a global executive search group that has made a name for itself in the technology sector among others.  

Reflecting on the year to date, the senior marketing appointments secured by Denholm for clients like Aberdeen Standard Investments, Edrington-Beam Suntory, Whyte and Mackay, Prudential, Ultimate Finance Group, LendingCrowd, DC Thomson, Johnston Carmichael and Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank Group are testament to a well-honed proposition described recently by Denholm’s CEO and founding director, Nicki Denholm as “local expertise combined with a global network” and “replacing out-of-date industry practices with an agile and innovative approach to support the growth plans of our clients.” 

Denholm’s unswerving commitment to putting the requirements of a diverse range of clients at the centre of its proposition is perhaps the key ingredient of its success to date and feedback from the CEO of Johnston Carmichael supports this.  

Sandy Manson, CEO of Johnston Carmichael, described the partnership with Denholm, “We worked with them very successfully a couple of years ago to find us a transformational Marketing Director.

The Denholm team have an impressive ability to source and identify outstanding candidates which are a great fit for our business. We recently set them the challenge of sourcing  our new HR Director and Risk and Compliance Director and we were delighted with the outcome.”

The latest departures, hires & promotions

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

FDATA’s Global Open Banking Summit arrives in Edinburgh in early December, with a number of the industry’s great and the good jetting in to discuss the new Open Banking regime which comes into force in 2019.  

FinTech Scotland and Edinburgh-headquartered personal finance app Money Dashboard are among native supporters of the event which begins at the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall before moving onto the National Museum of Scotland for the evening awards ceremony.  A number of associated announcements are expected on the day.  

Denholm worked alongside one of Scotland’s other key fintech players, fintech SME lender LendingCrowd, this year to find a CMO to help drive growth as the business looks to scale over the next twelve months. 

Last week, LendingCrowd announced that Darren Cairns, formerly chief marketing officer at London-based Neyber, had joined the team in Edinburgh bringing “over 20 years in digital and mobile technology marketing”.  

In October, LendingCrowd announced that former Standard Life CEO and Chairman, Sir Sandy Crombie, had joined the board as chair.     

Staying in Scotland’s tech scene, the end of November saw the inaugural Scottish Tech Startup Awards, organised by Brian Corcoran’s Turing Fest.  Those up for awards on the night include Care Sourcer, Cultivate HQ, Mallzee, Snap40, Administrate, TVSquared, ADV, Amiqus and MindMate

Internationalisation will be a theme of the Startup Awards and this week the press covered the launch of Mike Welch’s new tyre venture, Tirescanner, which is targeting the US market with an online portal for brick and mortar independent tyre retailers across North America. 

Scotland continues to make a name for itself in all things social enterprise in 2018 and one of the sector’s brightest stars, Alan Mahon-founded social enterprise brewery Brewgooder, announced two new board members this week in the form of Skyscanner VP of growth, Shane Corstorphine, and Patrick Hartless of William Grant & Sons.  

In Scottish private banking circles, Hampden & Co, the UK’s newest private bank made a senior hire from the UK’s oldest private bank, C. Hoare & Co, with Allison McCowan joining as Banking Director.  It was a good week for Hampden & Co as it also picked up “Best UK Private Bank” at a major industry awards ceremony in London.  

Among other appointments on the Scottish business scene, The Co-operative Bank has hired Donald Kerr as its new head of SME banking from CYBG, Euan Duncan is now chair of Scottish law firm MacRoberts, Hibernian FC finance director will also now be crunching the numbers at The Scottish Whisky Experience, and Scott Cochrane and Ruary Neill have joined Baillie Gifford’s UK Growth Fund as non-executive directors.

The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search
The much-anticipated news on Standard Life Aberdeen’s new chairman was revealed this week, with the FTSE 100 investment giant appointing former HSBC chairman Sir Douglas Flint to the board ahead of taking the chair reins over from Sir Gerry Grimstone at the beginning of next year. 

Sir Douglas is a University of Glasgow accounting graduate, who began his career with an accountancy firm who became part of KPMG and is a former finance director at HSBC. Standard Life Aberdeen is reported to have undertaken a “rigorous and comprehensive search” to identify its next chair.  Sir Gerry Grimstone, a director at Standard Life since 2003, said:

“Douglas will make an excellent chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen” and reflecting on his time with the business added, “It is a fine company with the most brilliant employees all committed to serving customers and clients.”

Sir Douglas Flint said: “I look forward to working with my fellow directors and the management team over the coming months and years to continue to shape its future success.”  Standard Life Aberdeen, created following the merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management last year, “will continue to evolve in both size and composition.” 

In the world of fizzy drinks Irn-Bru has appointed former Superdry CFO Nick Wharton, who brings industry experience including from time at Cadbury Schweppes, as a non-executive on the board.  Irn-Bru recently reported interim results, with an increase in both turnover and profits.  

A line-up of the great and the good from Scotland’s commercial and social enterprise sectors have been appointed to advise onto Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal, which will see £1.3 billion of investment over the next 15 years to accelerate economic growth.  The regional enterprise council is to chaired by Hibernian Football Club chief executive Leeann Dempster, with other board members including Scottish Enterprise chief Steve Dunlop, Scotland IS’s Polly Purvis, Stephen Drost of CodeBase and Robert Carr of Anderson Strathern.   

FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles broke cover this week on her latest venture, a wellbeing company that will focus on “mental health and relationships space, looking at how technology can enable us to be happier and more productive.  Relish is reported to have raised over $2 million from Silicon Valley investors. 

Also on the tech front, there are a number of high profile events taking in Edinburgh over the next fortnight including the FutureX-run Startup Summit, a fintech pitch event at Royal Bank of Scotland’s entrepreneurial hub at Gogarburn and ScotChain, Scotland’s largest event of the year around blockchain technologies, at the same venue.

The latest departures, hires & promotions

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

After taking his first chair role in the technology startup sector last year when he joined Amiqus (a startup Denholm partnered with last year, see media coverage here) as chair, fintech lending platform LendingCrowd announced this week that Sir Sandy Crombie has taken the helm as Chairman.

Sir Sandy Crombie, a former CEO of Standard Life, Senior Independent Director at Royal Bank of Scotland and now Chairman of LendingCrowd, said:

“LendingCrowd has made impressive strides in a relatively short space of time, supporting the growth ambitions of hundreds of businesses. This is an exciting time for the business and I look forward to working with Stuart and the rest of the team as the platform scales and delivers even more benefits to SMEs, which are the backbone of both the Scottish and UK economies.”  

LendingCrowd’s CEO and founder, Stuart Lunn, who Denholm have been working alongside in recent months, said of Sir Sandy’s appointment: 

“Attracting such an experienced and highly-rated individual as Sir Sandy is a validation of our approach to building a long-term, sustainable model capable of being scaled in a high-growth sector. We have a strong focus on financial processes, regulation and compliance and Sir Sandy will bring invaluable knowledge and expertise around these issues and in supporting our strategic aims.”

In the world of private banking, Hampden & Co, the UK’s first private bank to be launched in over two decades, made a senior hire this week in the form of Duncan Buchanan who moves to the challenger private bank from Bank of Scotland Private, a division of Lloyds Banking Group where he specialised in providing lending to high net worth individuals.  Hampden & Co has offices on Edinburgh’s iconic Charlotte Square and in Mayfair, London.   

Scotland’s largest independent insurance broker, Bruce Stevenson, added a strong footprint in the North East this week when it announced the acquisition of Aberdeenshire-based Youngson Insurance Consultants.  Bruce Stevenson, whose corporate ambassador is famed adventure cyclist Mark Beaumont, now has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Galashiels and Turriff.    

In legal circles, Kirsty McBirnie was appointed as legal director for Morton Fraser’s banking and finance groups, while Anderson Strathern celebrated 20 years as an Investors in People-accredited firm.  

On the tech scene, Informatics Ventures announced the opening of entries for EIE19 in Edinburgh next May.  In what will be EIE’s 11th year, the investor showcase and year round support programme has been a springboard to over £500 million in funding and FanDuel, Mallzee, Celtic Renewables, Two Big Ears, ZoneFox, pureLiFi and MindMate can be counted among its alumni companies.

One of Scotland’s next technology star companies in the making looks likely to be Optoscribe, who develop and manufacture extremely high spec circuit components for data centres who in turn support the biggest tech companies on the planet.  Led by CEO Nick Psaila and with a advisory team that includes industry stalwart George Elliot, Optoscribe recently completed an external funding round led by UK private equity house Maven Capital alongside Scottish angel firms Archangels and Par Equity.  

The latest departures, hires & promotions

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

In the accounting sector, EY’s head of financial services in Scotland, Sue Dawe, has been appointed to the Big Four’s UK board. The appointment of Dawe also translates to a 50:50 gender balance on EY’s main UK board, to which EY UK chair Steve Varley said that while the appointment reflected requisite Left to right are Bruce Farquhar Gillian Jamieson and Murray McCall of Anderson Strathern (by Stewart Attwood) (2).jpgskills and experience, “I’m also proud that we are adding to the diversity of our UK board.”  

In what continues to be a headline-grabbing storyline in the UK and internationally, it was reported last week that California is set to become the first US state to impose a quota for the inclusion of women on the boards of public companies headquartered there. 

Overall, women comprised around 20 per cent of Fortune 1000 companies in the US last year.

On the legal scene, independent Scottish legal firm Anderson Strathern announced a raft of promotions, including the appointment of Gillian Jamieson as partner.  Jamieson took ten years out of the profession to bring up her young family and credited Anderson Strathern’s progressive ethos on career advancement.  In June, the legal firm revealed that a series of client appointments during the first half of the year had helped to increase year-on-year revenue by 8 per cent. 

*Left to right are Bruce Farquhar Gillian Jamieson and Murray McCall of Anderson Strathern (by Stewart Attwood)

In Scotland’s property circles, Rettie & Co has strengthened its Build to Rent (BTR) team with the appointment of Pedrom Aghabala, who brings industry experience from working at some of the largest regional property groups in the UK and US.    

In the week of Insider’s annual Deals & Dealmakers awards dinner in Glasgow, Edinburgh-headquartered corporate finance firm Quest Corporate announced its first acquisition, the latest exit from its company investment portfolio and a number of hires to its team including Andrew Munro, who joins Quest from EY as an investment analyst. 

On the non-executive front, longstanding iomart chairman Ian Ritchie has stepped down from the post following a ten-year stint to be replaced by Tony Steele, also a non-exec at STV, at the cloud computing business.  Meanwhile, over at Macfarlane Group, the London Stock Exchange-listed  Scottish packaging company, Andrea Dunstan has been appointed to the board. 

The latest departures, hires & promotions

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

IoD Scotland has appointed a new chair, with Aidan O’Carroll succeeding Susan Deacon for a three-year tenure.  O’Carroll, a senior partner with Big Four accountant EY, will also take a seat on the IoD’s UK Council and said of his appointment:

“The leadership community in Scotland is a very broad church with public, private and third sector leaders all facing key challenges around growth and building success alongside the vital pillars of ethics, governance and integrity.” 

In the week of Aberdeen Standard Investment’s annual Gender Summit in Edinburgh, Women’s Enterprise Scotland, who promote female involvement in the economy, announced the promotion Carolyn Currie from COO to CEO. 

Women’s Enterprise Scotland is an adviser to the G20 on gender economic equity and Currie said on the occasion of her appointment that “women-owned business already contribute £5 billion in GVA which is more than other notable sectors of the economy such as Food & Drink, Sustainable Tourism and the Creative Industries.”

Anderson Strathern has hired Beth Cameron to a newly created position of Communications and PR Manager at the independent Scottish legal firm.  Cameron, formerly of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and most recently the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, will work closely with senior litigation partner Catriona Watt who also looks after the firm’s marketing function.  Last month, Anderson Strathern reported 8 per cent year-on-year revenue growth for the first six months of the year helped by a series of client appointments including Crown Estate Scotland, APUC and the University of West of Scotland.  

At property specialist Rettie & Co, Lisa Pitchers has joined the specialist property player to head up its new Glasgow City sales office following stints with Slater Hogg & Howison and DJ Alexander.  Simon Rettie, Managing Director, said: “Glasgow has been one of our fastest growing markets, we see great potential in the city centre and its great to have Lisa in place.”

On Scotland’s creative industries scene, there were a couple of breaking stories on the mergers and acquisitions front last week.  Global media giant Dentsu, headquartered in Tokyo, announced the acquisition of Iain Valentine-run agency Whitespace and the “Whitespacers” team is now part of the international Dentsu Aegis Network

Meanwhile, Glasgow creative brand agency MadeBrave announced the acquisition of Leith-based Campfire, a content production firm who specialise in film and video.  The move follows a rich vein of form at Andrew Dobbie-founded MadeBrave, with the award-winning agency announcing one of its largest ever contract wins in the form of First Bus Scotland last month.  (pictured above)

As one of Scotland’s largest tech festivals, Turing Fest, kicks off this week, there were a few notable funding rounds announced by some of the country’s brightest digital startup players.  CodeBase HQ-ed Care Sourcer, who match care providers with those in need of care via its technology platform, raised £8.5 million from Legal & General and ADV.  Care Sourcer also announced that former Skyscanner COO Mark Logan has joined the board as a non-exec.   

Another digital health player, Snap40, founded by former medical student Christopher McCann and now developing AI-enabled patient monitoring solutions, raised £6 million from ADV and a group of private investors including Skyscanner chair and co-founder Gareth Williams.  Also in the news last week was a $4 million round secured by FanDuel co-founders Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones to fund their new venture, eSports startup Flick. 

The latest departures, hires & promotions

Reported by Nick Freer, founding director at the Freer Consultancy, in association with Denholm Search
blog (9).png"Fantastic news on the homefront to begin with - Jackie Anderson, who is our Head of Agency, and Fiona Todd – Head of Glasgow – have both been appointed to the Denholm Board of Directors."


One of Scotland’s most highly rated fintech businesses, Edinburgh-headquartered Nucleus, a technology platform that supports financial advisers, has hired Valerie Rogerson from Standard Life to run its client relations team.  Nucleus, who recently announced that it will be seeking a listing on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market, moved into a new city centre office base at Greenside on Blenheim Place last year to accommodate its rapid growth. 

Also on Scotland’s tech scene, Scottish innovation centre The Data Lab has appointed a new chair, with Mark Hunter, chief data officer and director of labs at Sainsbury’s Bank, taking over the reins from founding chairman Neil Logan who stands down after four years.

The Data Lab’s chief executive, Gillian Docherty, said: “Neil has been with The Data Lab since 2014 and has helped us achieve a huge amount in a short time.”

Scottish computer science and informatics stalwart David Richardson, who was also part of the founding team at The Data Lab, is set to move from the University of Edinburgh to Heriot-Watt later this year to take up the position of Chief Entrepreneurial Executive at the university’s new Discovery and Innovation Centre.

Richardson is currently Director of Partnerships at the University of Edinburgh’s soon to be opened Bayes Centre. In property circles, Shepherd’s managing partner Ian Fergusson was recently appointed chair at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland in the industry body’s 150th anniversary year.  On the occasion of his appointment, Fergusson said that “attracting new talent to the profession is one of our key drives.”

Accountancy firm Grant Thornton has hired Sarah Lam from Johnston Carmichael Wealth as marketing manager to provide support across its Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen offices.  The firm says Lam “has gained an outstanding reputation for her client-focused approach, her ability to listen and her commitment to build positive relationships.”

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin has made two senior appointments to its Edinburgh team.  Marc Wilkinson succeeds Jonathan Tweedie as head of the Edinburgh office and Donald Brown has been promoted to head of private client for the firm in the capital.

In NXD news, Standard Life Aberdeen has appointed Cathleen Raffaeli, who brings “strong experience in fintech”, as a non-executive director.

The latest departures, hires & promotions

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

Global accounting giant PwC has appointed Douglas Shand (pictured on the far right) to a new role - director of technology and innovation for Scotland - with Shand, based out of the firm’s Edinburgh office, tasked with “building partnerships with technology businesses” and focusing on six main areas: data and analytics, the future of work, tech for good, cyber security, digital and technology impact and, disruptive innovation and emerging technology. 

Last year, Shand was one of the main players behind PwC’s tie-up with CodeBase, the UK’s fastest growing incubator HQ-ed in Edinburgh.  Last month, continuing a recent trend of Scottish business reporters taking up in-house PR positions, Kevin Scott exited The Herald to take up the role of media and communications manager at PwC’s Glasgow office. 

CodeBase itself goes from strength to strength and having opened CodeBase Stirling in 2017, this month the team announced a partnership with Sir Ian Wood’s economic development agency Opportunity North East (ONE).  The upshot is that ONE CodeBase will open a new co-working space for fast-growing digital tech startups in Aberdeen later this year.  

At one of Scotland’s most highly rated tech startups, Leah Hutcheon-founded Appointedd, Adam Holt joins as sales director and Andrew Gibbon becomes head of partnerships as the scheduling software specialist looks to further internationalise its product offering.

At Martin Currie - who reportedly halved its holding in Facebook on the back of the recent privacy scandal - the global fund manager has appointed Zehrid Osmani from BlackRock to replace industry stalwart Tom Walker.  

In a newly-created position at Glasgow Airport, Mark Johnston is now managing director, moving up from operations director and reporting into AGS Airports chief executive Derek Provan.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has a new director of strategy and communications with Gerry McFall now in place.  SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: “With Scotch Whisky supporting over 40,000 jobs in Scotland and exporting over £4 billion annually, having strong leadership in place is crucial to safeguarding Scotch Whisky’s future both at home and overseas.”   

At Brand Scotland, Cat Leaver has been appointed to drive the recently launched Scotland is Now campaign.  Charlie Smith, director of marketing and digital at VisitScotland, said: “Cat brings a wealth of experience, a fresh perspective and the creative energy that will be vital in a highly competitive global marketplace.” 

On the NXD front, Scottish Friendly has appointed Anja Balfour and Gillian Watson to its board of directors. 

The latest departures, hires & promotions

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

Q2 of 2018 has already seen a series of notable moves on the business scene, with activity particularly pronounced across Scotland’s legal, property, technology and financial sectors. 

In legal circles, Burness Paull announced changes to its leadership team with Tamar Tammes assuming the role of managing partner - the first woman appointed managing partner at the firm - and Peter Lawson taking over as chairman.  Over at Anderson Strathern, the firm announced the latest in a series of lateral hires with renewable energy expert Alan Simpson joining the Energy team.

At CALA Homes, Alan Brown steps down as chief executive after more than three decades with the group and Graham Reid, formerly group finance director, becomes interim chief executive.  Meanwhile, another Scottish property stalwart has stepped down with news of Andrew Rettie retiring as longstanding chair of Strutt & Parker. 

A deal to merge Strutt & Parker with the UK division of BNP Paribas Real Estate was completed last year. ‚Äč

Engage Invest Exploit, better known as EIE, took place in Edinburgh last week.  EIE18, the largest gathering of tech investors outside London, is now in its 10th year and 60 early stage technology businesses pitched for seed to Series A funding on the day. 

The winning pitch was by Amy Williams, a former ad agency executive and founder of Good-Loop, an ethical video advertising platform. 

By day, attendees were treated to a keynote speech from UK software pioneer Dame Stephanie Shirley and at the evening dinner event at the National Museum of Scotland, FanDuel co-founders Nigel Eccles, Lesley Eccles and Rob Jones captivated the audience with tales from FanDuel’s journey to billion dollar-valued unicorn and revealed plans around their latest ventures.  

Glasgow’s tech scene has started to blossom over the last twelve months and Incremental Group, co-founded by The Data Lab chairman Neil Logan, has relocated from the Tontine Building in the city to recently opened flexible working space The Garment Factory.  Incremental, who specialise in digital transformation in the commercial and public sectors, is growing quickly and announced plans to hire up to 400 people over the next 4 years. 

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, who officially opened Incremental’s new HQ, said: “Innovative, inclusive and ambitious companies are the future of business in Scotland and Incremental is a great example of this.  It is fitting that they should take premises in the iconic Garment Factory – bringing enterprise and activity back to what was once the home of a bustling industry for the city.”  

Incremental CEO Neil Logan is one of EY’s recently announced Entrepreneur of the Year award nominees, along with Philip Grady of Glasgow-based fintech star Castlight, Sara Speirs of FM business Spectrum Service Solutions and Chris Stewart of Chris Stewart Group.  

At Glasgow-based Scottish Equity Partners, who were famously the first external venture capital investor in Skyscanner, managing partner Calum Paterson has been named as chairman of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA).  

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. 

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.

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.