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Annual Conference

IoD Scotland AC202 - Collaborating for Scotland's Growth - Header

IoD Scotland Annual Conference

Collaborating for Scotland's Growth

Virtual Event 5 & 6 November 2020

This first virtual IoD Scotland Annual Conference, headlined this year by Salesforce, brings together exceptional speakers from the top echelons of business, politics, the third sector and sport who will deliver excellent insight and takeaways that will make a lasting impression on both you and your business.

Wherever you are, we encourage you to be part of the live experience and learn and engage with your fellow business professionals. 

The Conference aims to broaden knowledge in the wider business context to encourage reflection and debate and qualifies towards your CPD.  View the IoD Competency Framework, containing 15 core competencies across three dimensions:  Knowledge, Skills, Mindset, with particular reference to the following standards: K1.8 (managing risk/crisis), K2.5 (leadership) and K3.1 (vision and value creation).


Our guest speakers explore how Scotland’s business landscape can respond to the pandemic and beyond to a greener, more sustainable future:


Benny Higgins, Chair, Scottish Government Advisory Group on Economic Recovery
Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance
Vivek Ganotra, Field CTO - Consumer Industries, Salesforce
Robin Watson CBE, Chief Executive, Wood Plc


A panel of international athletes highlight what sport can teach business about teamwork and mental resilience:

• Kieron Achara MBE, Olympian and former GB Basketball and Scotland International
• Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Scottish International Cricketer
• John Barclay, Former Scotland Rugby International

Workshops give you bite-size updates on today’s topics:

Pike + Bambridge offer  a whistle-stop tour of new hybrid and electric vehicles coming to market and tax and employee benefit opportunities
• Showcasing the suite of solutions, Salesforce will highlight ways to help organisations return to work safely.
• No organisation is immune to cyberattack; Scottish Business Resilience Centre give advice and what to do if you experience a cyber incident
• The net zero agenda is transforming business and regulation for the low carbon economy. Are you ready?  Zero Waste Scotland will highlight what net zero means for your business, and the planet.

Ignite Session features a quick-fire round with two company founders from two different sectors but both with a bold and inspiring vision:

• Nicki Sturzaker, Drylaw House
• Dr Iain MacRitchie, MCR Pathways 

The finance panel offer a UK-wide perspective on finance, the economy and Scotland’s future:   

•  Jonathan Geldart, Director General, Institute of Directors
•  Dr Roger Barker, Director of Policy and Corporate Governance, Institute of Directors
•  Dr Gillian Murray, Deputy Principal (Enterprise and Business), Heriot-Watt University

There will also be networking, an exhibition hall – and we’ve even managed to organise a cocktail masterclass – all hosted live on a virtual platform!

Join us on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning at this online event for business leaders and directors from across the UK and beyond.

The conference is not only for IoD members, but for all those in the business community who strive to achieve the best.

If you have any questions, please email or call Joyce on 01577 865498 / 07711 432745

Some highlights from the 2019 Conference

IoD Scotland Annual Conference

Select a tab for further details.

Kieron Achara MBE

Olympian and former GB Basketball and Scotland International

Kieron has recently retired from professional basketball after a career spanning more than two decades.  He was fortunate to live in the USA, Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria before returning back to Scotland to play for the Glasgow Rocks. He was captain of Scotland and Great Britain where he earned 105 international caps.  He also competed in the London 2012 Olympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Kieron currently works with various organisations championing athlete transition and mental health awareness as well as being patron founder of Rocks in the Community, that uses sport as a tool to better peoples’ lives. 

Abbi Aitken-Drummond

Scottish International Cricketer

Abbi Aitken-Drummond is a Scottish International cricketer with 151 caps to her name. She captained the national side between 2010 and 2017 and has been involved in the national set up for 16 years. The senior figure has been part of the continuous effort to professionalise the game in Scotland and is well versed in juggling the pressures and expectations for on field performances with full time work off the field. The 29-year old comes with a wealth of experience of what it takes to be a leader and is a firm believer in the transferable skills that sport can give you in the workplace. She is also an advocate for the power of exercise in aiding positive mental well-being.

John Barclay

Former Scotland Rugby International Captain


Scottish International John Barclay was educated at Dollar Academy in Scotland. On leaving school in 2004, John went to the Glasgow Warriors Academy as an apprentice. Within a month he was selected as part of the Scotland squad, before playing a game of professional rugby. Months later he played for Warriors, making him their youngest debutant to date at 18 years old. John spent nine years at Glasgow, scoring 15 tries and captaining the side on many occasions. A successful five-year spell at Llanelli Scarlets followed, during which John captained the team to victory in the 2017 Guinness Pro12, and as runners- up in 2018.

On the international stage, John won 76 caps for his country, captaining the team on 15 occasions and won the last of his caps at his third Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.

John has spoken at various events using his leadership experience to assist businesses with their own leadership issues and strategies. Dealing with adversity, toxic environments and managing pressure and expectations are areas that have resonated with organisations throughout the business world. 

Dr Roger Barker

Director of Policy and Corporate Governance, Institute of Directors

Roger took on the role of Director of Policy and Corporate Governance in September 2020. He is also Honorary Associate at the Centre for Ethics and Law at University College London, and a regular speaker on corporate governance issues at a variety of leading universities and business schools.

Previously, Roger was Managing Director of Governomics Ltd, a corporate governance advisory firm. And during an earlier stint at the IoD, he served as Director of Corporate Governance and Professional Standards (2008-2016).

Roger is the author of numerous books and articles on corporate governance and board effectiveness, including a new co-edited volume: ‘The Law and Governance of Decentralised Business Models: Between Hierarchies and Markets’ (Routledge, 2020). Previous books include: ‘Corporate Governance and Investment Management: The Promises and Limitations of the New Financial Economy’ (Edward Elgar, 2017), ‘The Effective Board: Building Individual and Board Success’ (Kogan Page, 2010), and ‘Corporate Governance, Competition, and Political Parties: Explaining Corporate Governance Change in Europe’ (Oxford University Press, 2010).

A former investment banker, Roger spent almost 15 years in a variety of equity research and senior management roles at UBS and Bank Vontobel, both in the UK and Switzerland. He has a doctorate from Oxford University and taught Politics at Merton College, Oxford (2005-2008). Until January 2020, he served as a UK Member of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.

Kate Forbes MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Finance

Forbes, Kate

Kate Forbes MSP is from Dingwall, although she spent part of her upbringing in Glasgow and India. Until she was elected as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Kate was employed as an accountant in the banking industry. Prior to that she studied History at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh with a focus on human migration.
As a backbencher, she has served on the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee; the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee; the Health and Sport Committee; and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee. She also served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Finance and the Constitution. 

As well as leading a campaign to ban plastic straws, Kate has participated in several cross-party groups at Holyrood including Crofting, Gaelic, Human Trafficking, Palliative Care and Rural Policy. 

A fluent Gaelic speaker, Kate made history earlier this year by becoming the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber.

In February 2020 she was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Finance. 

Jonathan Geldart 

Director General, Institute of Directors

Jon was appointed Director General of the Institute of Directors in October 2019. Prior to this he spent 30 years working in the professional services sector, most recently at Grant Thornton International Ltd responsible for the organisation’s interest in China and previously at PwC. Jon has a long-standing connection with the IoD, as Chair of IoD Yorkshire and North East region prior to his appointment as Director General. 

He is the author of three books on China and in addition to being a Fellow of the IoD he is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He studied Geography and Archaeology at St. Andrews University specialising in underwater archaeology. 

Outside of work, his interests include hill walking and fell running. He was the navigator in a rally team for 20 years and is a qualified UK Mountain Leader with significant experience of operating in extreme environments. He has walked unsupported to the North Pole and completed other expeditions in Norway, the Canadian Arctic and the Everest region.

Vivek Ganotra

Field CTO - Consumer Industries, Salesforce

Vivek is a Technology leader with 20+ years’ experience transforming IT functions in international organisations, primarily in the Consumer Industries.

Currently he is the Field CTO for Consumer Industries at Salesforce and has been in this role since September 2019. His role focuses on guiding Consumer Goods companies on shaping and executing their transformations and guiding the internal product development for the industry.

He previously worked at British American Tobacco for 16 years in various Commercial and Technology leadership roles. He was instrumental in shaping and driving key transformations in the Route-to-Market (B2B) and D2C areas, underpinned with Salesforce Technology.

Vivek is passionate about bridging the gap between great ideas around Digital Transformation and tangible execution and outcomes in large enterprises.  

Benny Higgins

Higgins, Benny -crop

Benny began his career at Standard Life in 1983 where he joined as an actuarial student and went on to become a member of the Standard Life Group Executive Committee in 1996. In 1997 he moved to RBS to become Chief Executive of Retail Banking. He was with RBS until 2005, during which time he led the successful integration of NatWest Retail Banking – one of the largest hostile takeovers ever undertaken in banking. He became Chief Executive, Retail, HBOS in 2006 before joining Tesco Bank as Chief Executive in 2008, a position he held until February 2018.

In September 2017 Benny was asked by the Scottish Government to develop an implementation plan for the creation of a Scottish National Investment Bank. Subsequently he was appointed as Strategic Adviser to the First Minister on the building of the Scottish National Investment Bank and Chairman of Scottish Government’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery post Covid-19.

Benny is Executive Chairman of the Buccleuch Group, Chairman of the National Galleries of Scotland, Chairman of Sistema Scotland, Chairman of Forster Chase Advisory Limited, Non-Executive Chairman of AAB Wealth (Anderson Anderson & Brown Wealth), Chairman of The Fine Art Society (London & Edinburgh), Non-Executive Director of Glasgow Life, Trustee of Burrell Renaissance, Non-Executive Director of Arabian Centres, Chairman of Kyckr and Commissioner of the Infrastructure Commission of Scotland.

Benny graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics from the University of Glasgow and he was awarded a University Blue in 1983. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow, Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University, Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University, Honorary Professor at Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Doctor of University, University of Glasgow and University of Glasgow, Court member of Finance Committee.

Dr Iain MacRitchie

Founder and Chair, MCR Pathways


Iain is the founder and chair of MCR Pathways, an award winning school-based mentoring programme, which supports 2,500 disadvantaged young people across Scotland each week.

Iain, a Glaswegian, previously advised over 100 businesses internationally and acted as executive chairman/CEO in leading the transformation of 18 different companies during his career.  It was Iain’s leadership role of 3 failing care organisations, with 90 children’s homes, 5 schools and foster agency, that now drives him. Despite the transformation in the quality, operations and financial stability, Iain could not reconcile that it made no difference to the outcomes of the young people in care. Despite being at the peak of his business career Iain decided to use his time and resources to help the young people, disadvantaged through no fault of their own, to be determined by their potential and never their circumstances. In 2007 he set up his charitable foundation and has now dedicated 7 years as a full-time volunteer to establish MCR Pathways nationally.

Iain’s work in supporting the country’s most disadvantaged young people has been recognised by a number of awards including Glasgow’s St Mungo Medal, The Lifetime Achievement Award in The Diversity Awards 2019, and being named as one of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders worldwide by AACSB International. He also became visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde in 2020 and a regional IOD Scotland winner and Third Sector Director of the Year.

Dr Gillian Murray

Deputy Principal (Enterprise and Business), Heriot-Watt University


Dr Gillian Murray is the Deputy Principal (Enterprise and Business), Heriot-Watt University. Gill joined Heriot-Watt University in October 2016 to lead on the development and implementation of the University’s Enterprise and Business Engagement Strategy, mobilising the University’s intellectual and capital assets to effect greater impact regionally, nationally and globally. She was previously at the University of Liverpool, where she built innovative new models for Business/University collaboration, transforming the city region through strategic partnerships and supply chain development. Whilst at Heriot Watt, Gillian has led a number of major innovation and skills initiatives including, positioning the University as a leading provider of Graduate Apprentices in Scotland, building a global innovation ecosystem and partnership network (GRID), transforming online education and creating new flexible upskilling opportunities in key emerging sectors. She is a founding member of the Centre for Work Based Learning, working with partners in Scotland to enhance opportunity through work based learning; a member of the Enterprise & Skills Strategic Board for the Scottish Government (created in 2017, the Strategic Board aligns and co-ordinates the activities of Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies: Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council); a member of the Confederation of British Industry Scotland Council.

Nicki Sturzaker

Co-Founder, Drylaw House

Nicki has worked in communications for over 20 years in London and Scotland across a variety of sectors. She has utilised her corporate skills and insights to build two businesses from scratch and take them both to exit within four years.

She established her own marcomms consultancy and built an enviable portfolio of hospitality, tourism, food and drink clients, alongside this she and her husband transformed their home into an exclusive use venue.

Nicki’s attention to detail and ambition to deliver a five star product put Drylaw House on the map as the perfect venue for special occasions and celebrations.  

Robin Watson CBE

Chief Executive, Wood Plc

Watson, Robin-Chief Executive_Wood_Plc

As Chief Executive, Robin created Wood Plc from the UK LSE Class 1 acquisition of Amec Foster Wheeler by the Wood Group in 2017.

Today, Wood Plc is one of the world’s leading engineering and consultancy companies operating in Energy and the Built Environment.  It has offices in over 60 countries, employing over 50,000 people and generating in excess of $10 billion in revenues.

A Chartered Mechanical Engineer, Robin is a Fellow of both the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Energy Institute. 

He holds an MBA from the University of Strathclyde and an Honours Degree in Offshore & Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.  

Robin was awarded the Institute of Director’s ‘Director of the Year, Large Business Category 2019’.

1: The Zero-Carbon Car – electric vehicles, tax and the next 5 years!

As recently as 2019, electric vehicles were predicted to reach global parity with combustion engine vehicles by 2025. Now, many experts are predicting this will be achieved by 2025.

What does this mean for decision makers in business, where does the infrastructure we need come from, and how can decision makers in business benefit from this unprecedented revolution in the way we move?

Having contributed to CA Magazine, as well as conducted CPD courses on fleet management for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Pike + Bambridge’s Managing Director, Piers Bambridge will guide delegates through the new world of mobility.

Encompassing everything from what the world of autonomous vehicles may look like in 2030, to tax and employee benefit opportunities in 2020, we will take you through a whistle-stop tour of what many are predicting will be the ‘smart phone revolution’ of the 20s.

We’ll review:
• New Hybrid and Electric vehicles coming to market, including Amazon’s pet project, Rivian.
• Tax benefits of electric vehicles for company directors in 2020
• Salary sacrifice options to offer a new employee benefit element to car schemes helping engage remote employees in the challenging climate of 2020

Piers Bambridge and Nick Stein, Pike + Bambridge


2: An Intro to Cyber Security and Taster Session on the NCSC Cyber Exercise in a Box

Exercise in a Box is an online tool from the NCSC which helps organisations test and practise their response to a cyber attack. The service provides exercises, based around the main cyber threats, which your organisation can do in your own time, in a safe environment, as many times as you want. It includes everything you need for setting up, planning, delivery, and post-exercise activity, all in one place.

This iteration of Exercise in a Box has been piloted with small and medium enterprises, local government and the emergency services, but other private and public sector communities could benefit from using it.
The session will also give some overarching cyber advice, including what to do if you experience a cyber incident.

Jude McCorry - CEO, Declan Doyle - Head of Ethical Hacking and Mark Cunningham Dickie – Head of Incident Response, Scottish Business Resilience Centre 


3: Why every organisation needs a net zero plan, and what you can do about it!

The net zero agenda is bringing the fight against climate change into the boardroom, transforming business for a low carbon future and ensuring every public body and private company is part of the solution.

Organisations can wait to be pushed by mounting regulations and fiscal measures, or seize the competitive advantages which come with owning the issue and showing leadership.  One way or another, change is coming.  Are you ready?

Zero Waste Scotland offers practical insight into what net zero means for your organisation, how you can measure and start reducing carbon impacts across your operations and supply chains, and how doing net zero right can benefit the planet, and your bottom-line.

Michael Lenaghan, Environmental Policy Advisor and Fraser Millar, Environmental Analyst, Zero Waste Scotland

4. Meeting New Workplace Challenges

Salesforce will deliver a session which will include a showcase of their suite of solutions, which are helping organisations return to work safely.

Allan Brown, Senior AE, Salesforce




Thursday Leadership Lecture

Benny Higgins

Covid-19 has brought an abrupt disruption of all that is familiar, with a sudden and devastating impact on health, society and business. Benny Higgins, Chair, Scottish Government Advisory Group on Economic Recovery will use his Leadership Lecture to explore how a crisis can be a catalyst for change.

The former senior executive of some of the UK’s biggest banks will outline the way forward for Scotland that will require courage, versatility and a recalibration of structures and policy.

Covid-19 is playing out against a backdrop of global climate challenges, UK–EU trade negotiations and tension over the political future of Scotland. We are in changing and unpredictable circumstances but, with collaboration, these can create opportunities.

Benny will explore key themes, including:

• How do we collaborate effectively to create a new dynamic for growth and prosperity for Scotland?
• How do we create a country that is stronger and fairer to achieve greater societal integration?
• What is the role of business leaders in building a stronger Scotland?
• How do we make businesses more efficient, more effective and better places to work?
• How do we best serve young people so that their generation is not forever blighted by the current situation?
• How can Scotland ensure it has the right skills-set to help drive stronger economic growth?
• How can Scotland ensure green economic recovery?
• How can Scotland attract more inward investment?

During a Q&A Session facilitated by Aidan O’Carroll, Chair of IoD Scotland, the audience can respond with their own questions.

IoD Scotland Annual Conference

Collaborating for Scotland’s Growth

Virtual Event:  Thursday 5 & Friday 6 November 2020

Summary Agenda 

Thursday 5 November:  2.00pm–5.00pm (Expo available from 1.00pm)
14:00     Welcome & Introductions: Aidan O’Carroll, Chair, IoD Scotland
14:10      Leadership Lecture with Benny Higgins, Chair, Scottish Government
              Advisory Group on Economic Recovery
15:00     Keynote: Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance
15:30     Workshops
16:15      Concluding Remarks
16:20     Cocktail Masterclass & Networking / Connecting with Colleagues &

17:00     Day 1 Concludes
Friday 6 November:  10.00am–2.00pm (Expo available from 9.00am)
10:00     Welcome & Introductions: Malcolm Cannon, National Director, IoD
10:00     Keynote:  Jonathan Geldart, Director General & Dr Roger Barker
              Director of Policy and Corporate Governance, Institute of Directors
10:35      Panel Session: Kieron Achara MBE, Olympian and former GB Basketball and
              Scotland International; Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Scottish International
              Cricketer and John Barclay, Former Scotland Rugby International
11:20      Connecting with Colleagues & Expo
11:30      Workshops
12:15      Connecting with Colleagues & Expo
12:35      Leadership Conversation with Robin Watson CBE, Chief Executive, Wood
13:10      Connecting with Colleagues & Expo
13:20     Keynote: Salesforce
13:40     Ignite Session: Dr Iain MacRitchie, Founder & CEO, MCR Pathways &
              Nicki Sturzaker, Co-Founder, Drylaw House
13:55      Concluding Remarks
14:00     Connecting with Colleagues & Expo: available until 15:00


Headline Sponsor


Salesforce is the #1 CRM, bringing companies and customers together in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, blockchain, voice, and artificial intelligence—to connect to their customers in a whole new way. The Salesforce Customer 360 is an integrated CRM platform that unites marketing, sales, commerce, service and IT departments.

We are delighted to once again be sponsoring the IoD Scotland Annual Conference and look forward to connecting and chatting with delegates over the two days.
For more information, please visit


Workshop Sponsors


Over the past 10 years, Pike + Bambridge has supported over 2000 professionals through the time-consuming and, often confusing, process of acquiring the new vehicle they need.  Doing so in a very personalised way, our team implement both traditional company car schemes, as well as Senior Staff schemes for professionals all over the UK.  Our goal is to help give clients back more time, save more money and have less hassle when it comes to procuring their next car.  Experience a better class of journey.
For more information, visit


The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is a respected voice in business resilience, bringing together the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, and the business community. Our vision is to become the catalyst that makes Scotland one of the safest and most resilient places to live, work, and do business, both on and offline. SBRC operates across three areas offering a range of services and education, covering all aspects of business resilience and cyber security under the following areas:
• Community and Membership
• Prevent and Protect
• Skills and Education

We work in partnership to protect people, places, and processes.
For more information, visit

Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy. We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.
For more information, visit


Edinburgh Business School was founded in 1995 as the graduate business school of Heriot Watt University. In 2019 it merged with Heriot Watt’s School of Social Science to become Scotland’s largest business school.

The business school launched and continues to offer one of the most popular online MBA programmes in the world, with 9,171 current students and 20,281 alumni across the globe. Our graduates go on to become some of the greatest leaders in the world from captains of industry such as Maurice Tulloch, former CEO of Aviva to political leaders, for example Hassan Ali Khayre, former Prime Minister of Somalia, who completed his MBA at Edinburgh Business School when he was a refugee, living in Norway.

Since Heriot Watt opened its doors in 1821 and Edinburgh Business School joined its ranks 174 years later, the university’s ethos is to offer continuous development; to upskill in order to take advantage of tomorrow’s industries and tomorrow’s markets.
For more information, visit


Where Now Consulting is a leading management consultancy that specialises in helping companies and organisations to develop effective growth and operational plans, and to convert these into actions and results. Focusing on the development of business models for growth, we advise on sales and channel strategy, market entry strategies, mergers and acquisitions, alliance partnerships, customer experience and operational excellence.

Our team of professionals have extensive experience in leading the growth and development of companies across a variety of sectors. From strategy to implementation we will help you to grow and compete.
For more information, visit





For more information, please contact

0131 557 5488


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