Better Directors, Better Business and a Better Economy

Susan Deacon Appointed Chair of Institute of Directors in Scotland

Press Release
04 November 2015

Susan Deacon appointed Chair of Institute of Directors in Scotland

First female Chair of IoD Scotland highlights importance of leadership and enterprise

Susan Deacon has today [Wednesday 04 November 2015] been named as the new Chair of the Institute of Directors in Scotland. She was appointed following an open and extensive recruitment process and will become the first woman to hold the position of IoD Scotland’s national Chair. Susan succeeds Ian McKay, who will officially stand down as Chair at the IoD Scotland Conference this Friday (6 November), having served since 2012. Susan will pick up the baton at the same event.

Susan brings to the role a wealth of leadership experience and involvement in Scottish business and public life. She has served on the Boards of a number of businesses and charities and is a former MSP and Scottish Government Minister. A keen advocate of collaboration and cross-sectoral cooperation, she has worked widely across the private, public and third sectors in developing strategic partnerships and at the interface between academia, business and Government.

Ian McKay welcomes Susan’s appointment. He comments: “The future of the IoD is in excellent hands with Susan at the helm. Her varied experience and approach to leadership will be of real benefit to the IoD at a time when boards are increasingly embracing change.”

Commenting on her appointment, Susan signalled her intention to build on IoD Scotland’s work to date to promote strong leadership and governance. She said “Successful organisations need effective leaders – it’s that simple. If Scotland is to continue to grow and flourish on a world stage we need to support the leaders of today and to grow the leaders of tomorrow. So too must our Boardrooms have within them a diverse range of skills and experience and operate to the highest possible standards. I am very proud to be taking on the role of Chair of IoD Scotland, an organisation which has been at the forefront of promoting high standards of leadership and governance.”

She added “It is crucially important that Scotland remains a good place in which to invest and do business. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with a wide range of people and organisations who are driving creativity, innovation, enterprise and growth across Scotland. IoD Scotland has a key role to play in supporting Scotland’s business leaders to ensure their voices are heard and their contribution is recognised. Achieving economic success and social progress go hand in hand. With more powers being devolved to Scotland, and Holyrood elections next year, it is vital that that policymakers work to support and enable enterprise and do not put obstacles or constraints in its way.”

David Watt, Executive Director of the IoD in Scotland concludes: “The Chair’s appointment is welcomed by myself and the staff team, and we look forward to working with Susan to further grow the IoD in Scotland, and to drive change across Scotland’s business sector.”

Susan’s first opportunity to address the membership will be at the IoD Scotland Annual Conference, being held at Cameron House, Loch Lomond on Friday 6 November. Joining Susan on the podium will be a number of Scottish leaders and prominent speakers including Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airports Limited; Philip Grant, Chairman of the Scottish Executive Committee of Lloyds Banking Group; and Stephen Whitelaw, a technology futurologist.


Issued on behalf of the IoD Scotland by Clark Communications. Please contact:
Lesley Brydon
0131 225 9596 / 07771 630834


Susan Deacon, extended biography

Susan graduated in Social Policy and Politics and later an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. Her early career was in local government management and research before moving into management consultancy in the private sector and then executive education as MBA Director of Programmes at Edinburgh Business School, Heriot Watt University.

Susan was elected as MSP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh in 1999 and served as Scotland’s first Cabinet Minister for Health following devolution. She stood down from elected office in 2007, and has since worked widely across the private, public and third sectors in the fields of leadership, governance and strategic change.

Susan is currently Assistant Principal External Relations and a Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and was previously Professor of Social Change at Queen Margaret University. She is a regular contributor to policy and leadership forums across the UK and has been an advisor to many organisations on business strategy and public policy issues.

She is a Non-Executive Director of ScottishPower Ltd, Lothian Buses Ltd and the Institute of Occupational Medicine and has been a member of the Scotland Committee of the Institute of Directors since 2012. Previous appointments include Chairman of ScottishPower Renewable Energy Ltd, Scottish Government Early Years’ ‘Champion’, Founding Chair of the Hibernian Community Foundation and a Board member of the Iberdrola Foundation, Pfizer UK Foundation, Traverse Theatre and Dewar Arts Awards Trust.
The Institute of Directors

• The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with approximately 34,000 members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurial directors of start-up companies, third sector and public sector

• The IoD provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels. These include Government ministers and their shadows, parliamentary committee members, senior civil servants and think-tanks. IoD policies and views are actively promoted to the national, regional and trade media. Follow us on Twitter to get the IoD’s reaction on business and public policy issues.

• The IoD offers a wide range of business services which include business centre facilities, with 15 UK centres (including three in London, Reading, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast), conferences, networking events, virtual offices, issues-led guides and literature, as well as free access to business information and advisory services. The IoD places great emphasis on director development and has established a certified qualification for directors – Chartered Director – as well as running specific board and director-level training and individual career mentoring programmes.

• For further information, visit the website:

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