Meet the team

The Chamber team is professional, friendly and helpful. We know, because our members told us!

You can contact us through the generic team address, or individually through our details below. The Chamber board and its policy council are elected by the wider Chamber membership at the annual AGM.

All members of the Chamber board are also members of the Chamber policy council. The council works with the Chamber team to develop Chamber policy and opinion on issues important to the business community.



Chief Executive

    • Russell Borthwick
    • Chief Executive
    • 01224 343 911
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      Russell Borthwick Chief Executive

      Russell joined the Chamber in February 2016.

      He was previously managing partner of a global marketing agency network based in Newcastle, regional managing director for Trinity Mirror’s North East of England newspaper division and also founded his own research & communications consultancy Press Ahead, which he ran for nearly a decade.  

      During his time in the "other" North East, he was involved with many initiatives and campaigns relating to inward investment, economic development, place marketing, major event bids and the skills and entrepreneurship agenda.

      In his role, he represents the Chamber and its members on various boards and committees including Opportunity North East, Visit Aberdeenshire, Scottish Chambers of Commerce and is vice chair of the City Centre Masterplan Reference Group. In addition, he works closely with British Chambers of Commerce.

      Born and brought up in Aberdeen and a dedicated/long-suffering (delete as applicable) fan of the Dons, Russell returned to the city after an absence of more than 20 years as he is passionate about the success of the area and sees AGCC as having a key role to play in helping to position our region as an even better place to live, work, study, visit, invest and do business for the future.

    • Liam Smyth
    • Deputy Chief Executive
    • 01224 343 920
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      Liam Smyth Deputy Chief Executive

      As deputy chief executive, Liam brings extensive operational, marketing and commercial experience to the team. He is well networked across the North-east of Scotland and further afield through the International Chamber Network.

      As well as growing membership through active engagement, he is responsible for the commercial success of our training, events, communications and International trade teams. He is a member of the board.

      As part of his role he represents Chamber members on a range of public and private sector bodies. He is an experienced chair, presenter and panellist at business and broadcast events, and has extensive experience in media and communications.

    • Julie Holland
    • PA to Chief Executive
    • 01224 343 911
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      Julie Holland PA to Chief Executive

      Julie joined the Chamber in September 2015 after working at Asset Development and Improvement Limited where she provided human resources support. Prior to this she has held several personal/executive assistant roles at director level, predominantly in the oil and gas industry.

      Julie’s main role at the Chamber is to provide a full range of PA support to the CEO and to assist the finance and administration director regarding company-secretary duties and HR administration. She also provides support to the Chamber’s President.


    • Seona Shand
    • Head of Membership
    • 01224 343 929
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      Seona Shand Head of Membership

      Seona worked in office support before event management, working with some of the world’s best known speakers then on to the voluntary sector engaging corporate partners and managing some of the most admired charitable events. 

      She brings a wealth of experience with a strong customer focus and supports members in the energy sector and all our premier partners as well as overseeing the prestigious Northern Star Business Awards.

      Seona is responsible for working with the Chamber teams and managing the membership team to help create the buoyant, diversified regional economy that will enable all member companies to be more successful and prosperous.

    • Teresa Bremner
    • Membership Network Manager
    • 01224 343 963
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      Teresa Bremner Membership Network Manager

      Teresa started her career in 1985 with Clydesdale Bank and enjoyed 28 years service within the bank.

      She qualified to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland and was Cemap accredited, with roles as private relationship manager and regional deposit partner pulling on Teresa's strong business development and customer relationship skills.

      She also held a management role with Regus, business services and serviced office providers, before joining the Chamber in September 2014.

      As membership network manager, Teresa is the lead contact for the business services and finance members. Her focus is on new acquisition and retention through the continual improvement of services provided to all members.

    • Mary Holland
    • Membership Network Manager
    • 01224 343 903
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      Mary Holland Membership Network Manager

      Mary joined the Chamber in January 2013 as a membership network manager.

      She started her career as a graduate recruit with BP in Aberdeen in 1987. Since then, she has worked in a wide range of management, service provision and project roles across private, public and third sector organisation in the North-east of Scotland. These have included BP, Amerada Hess, Common Purpose, Grampian Police, Capita Health Solutions and the Wood Foundation.

      Mary is the membership network manager responsible for the food & drink, tourism, skills, culture, business consultancy and retail sector members.

      An experienced professional with a strong customer focus and value driven ethos, Mary is delighted to be part of the team at AGCC working to improve the services provided to members.

    • John Shaw
    • Membership Network Manager
    • 01224 343 937
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      John Shaw Membership Network Manager

      John joined the Chamber in September 2017 as a membership network manager and is the key contact for a portfolio of Chamber members.

      He graduated with a BA (hons) in Management Studies at the University of Aberdeen in 2009 then went onto work as business adviser for Business Gateway where he managed a large portfolio of clients, advising them on the processes involved when starting a new business Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

      More recently, John worked in a business development role for an oil and gas service company where he account managed existing clients and successfully gaining new clients from identified markets.

      As a membership network manager he works with his existing portfolio of members to ensure they maximise their membership and actively promotes their businesses whenever possible.

    • Lee-Ann Stewart
    • Membership Network Assistant
    • 01224 343 915
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      Lee-Ann Stewart Membership Network Assistant

      Lee-Ann joined the Chamber in September 2014 as membership network assistant where she provides support to the membership network managers and acts as the conduit between members and the Chamber.

      Before the Chamber, Lee-Ann worked for the EIC as events & communications co-ordinator. In this role Lee-Ann assisted in the planning and facilitating of several events including a number of business presentations as well as corporate entertainment.

      During her time at the Chamber, Lee-Ann completed a Modern Apprenticeship in Business Administration at Level 3.



    • Nicola McGeown
    • Commercial Events Lead
    • 01224 343922
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      Nicola McGeown Commercial Events Lead

      After graduating from St Andrews University Nicola started her events career here in Scotland working as an event manager for an incentive company specialising in high end corporate events.

      She continued overseas to work in the group sales department of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai looking after the MICE market. From there she remained overseas working in a number of event management companies, including The Institute of International Research and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) managing many diverse events in and around the Middle East, India and Africa regions.

      After many years overseas Nicola returned to Aberdeen to look after the events department at Norwood Hall Hotel before taking up the position as commercial events lead here at the Chamber in March 2017.

    • Claire Gordon
    • Senior Events Executive
    • 01224 343 912
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      Claire Gordon Senior Events Executive

      Claire graduated with a BA (hons) in Management with Marketing at Robert Gordon University in 2013 then went onto work as a marketing assistant for an HR company based in Aberdeen. 

      She then joined the Chamber of Commerce in October 2014 as events executive where she currently helps to organise a varied calendar of events, in particular managing the planning of the VisitAberdeenshire Tourism Conference, Annual Employment Law Conference, We Mean Business and Shire Connections series.

    • Colin Fraser
    • Events Executive
    • 01224 343901
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      Colin Fraser Events Executive

      Colin graduated with a BA (hons) in Events Management at Robert Gordon University in 2014.

      Colin joined the Chamber events team in September 2015 and supports in the delivery of 120 Chamber events each year ranging from business breakfasts, lunch ‘n’ learns, conferences and leadership dinners. Colin also co-ordinates the Chamber’s Vocational Qualification Awards, managing room hire bookings and the popular “Meet the Leader” ministerial visits.

      In addition to the monthly Chamber events, Colin also works closely on one of the Chamber’s event management projects with Developing the Young Workforce North-east Scotland (DYW) in the delivery of workshops throughout the year. 

      Keen on all things social media, Colin is responsible for the day to day management of the events team’s social media channels to ensure that events are promoted effectively. Reaching an all-time Klout high score of 60 for events team, it is now Colin’s mission to keep the team Klout up in the high 50s.


    • Susan Staniforth
    • Training Team Leader
    • 01224 343 917
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      Susan Staniforth Training Team Leader

      Susan joined in January 2012, having previously account managed a large geographical territory and responsible for over £1m of IT training revenue. 

      With a strong background in sales and customer service, there is a wealth of experience to draw on while enjoying the unique experience of working with the teams at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

      One of the most gratifying aspects of the role is the positive comments given via our delegate evaluations and the repeat bookings on courses.

    • Valerie Tosh
    • Training Executive
    • 01224 343 902
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      Valerie Tosh Training Executive

      Valerie joined the Chamber as training co-ordinator working within the business services and training team. In her role she is responsible for all administration for the training, VQ and business mentoring teams. 

      Valerie has previously worked in various administration roles throughout her career and hopes to gain a broader knowledge within the business services industry.


    • Laura Grant
    • Marketing & Communications Lead
    • 01224 343926
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      Laura Grant Marketing & Communications Lead

      Former journalist and communications professional with a proven and successful 20 year track record across a variety of disciplines, Laura has led a number of campaigns for the private sector, particularly within the oil and gas and renewable energy industries.

      She has extensive experience of public relations planning for corporate and B2B organisations operating locally, nationally and internationally.

      Editor of the Business Bulletin with responsibility for all Chamber marketing and communications, her role is to make sure the voice of the North-east is heard while providing maximum returns for members through strategic and value-adding opportunities.

    • Anisha Patel
    • Marketing and Communications Executive
    • 01224 343 913
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      Anisha Patel Marketing and Communications Executive

      Anisha graduated with a BA (Hons) in Advertising from Southampton Solent University in 2009. 

      After a stint in the world of indoor skydiving, she worked in a variety of marketing roles for both B2B and B2C organisations before joining the Chamber in 2017 as a marketing and communications executive.   

      Anisha’s role is to help inform our members on all the services, events and training that are on offer at the Chamber. 

    • Graham Jacobs
    • Graphic Design Executive
    • 01224 343 934
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      Graham Jacobs Graphic Design Executive

      Graham graduated with a BDes (Hons) in Communication Design from Gray’s School of Art in 2015.

      Before joining the chamber, Graham worked as a graphic designer for Aberdeen Journals and for a time, worked as a freelance designer from home.

      His role is to design and produce the diverse range of visual communications of the Chamber which include the bulletin, flyers and infographics. Coming from a graphics and illustration background, he has a passion for all things creative.

    • Louise Norrie
    • Communications Assistant
    • 01224 343918
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      Louise Norrie Communications Assistant

      Louise joined the Chamber after completing an HND in Photography at North East Scotland College.

      She has always had a keen creative interest and is now following this through in her current role which involves maintaining the Chamber website, assisting with the production of the monthly Business Bulletin, creating and implementing marketing campaigns, and keeping Chamber members informed of news and opportunities through our social media accounts and eNewsletters.

      Jumping into this role Louise hopes to expand her knowledge within this sector and help the team where possible.

    • Jim Bruce
    • Media Sales Assistant
    • 01224 343 905
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      Jim Bruce Media Sales Assistant

      Jim Bruce recently retired from Aberdeen Journals after 41 years of service. For the last 20 years he was national advertising sales manager of the group with a specific remit to grow national revenues with particular emphasis in London, handling all the top brand names.

      He now has taken up the media sales role at the Chamber and would be delighted to help and advise you on all the advertising opportunities available through our portfolio.

Research and Policy

    • Emma Smalley
    • Research Team Leader
    • 01224 343 928
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      Emma Smalley Research Team Leader

      Emma graduated with a BSc in Sport and Social Science from Loughborough University in 2003. She then went on to complete a Masters in Sport Psychology graduating in 2004. 

      Since university, Emma has always had a passion for research and after a stint with the NHS and completing some voluntary work for Harrogate District Hospital she went to work for a research agency in Wetherby. She took the lead on some large research projects and her clients included Audi, Leeds City Council and Mars chocolates. In 2009, Emma moved to Aberdeen and worked within research roles for both Aberdeen and Robert Gordon Universities.

      Emma’s role at the Chamber is to co-ordinate and deliver sector-specific research.

    • Joanne Lumsden
    • Research Executive
    • 01224 343 935
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      Joanne Lumsden Research Executive

      Joanne graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. She then embarked on a PhD in Psychology in order to develop her research knowledge and experience further, with this being awarded in 2013.

      Upon completion of her studies, Joanne secured a lectureship in the School of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen. During her time there she remained an active researcher publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals while also teaching undergraduate courses and supervising student research projects.

      Her previous research experience has included numerous projects on social behaviour as well as evaluations of pedagogical approaches. She was also the principal investigator of a project funded by the British Academy which explored collaborative problem-solving.

      Joanne joined the Chamber as a research executive in November 2015 and looks forward to using her skills and knowledge to undertake a range of research projects.

    • Kirsten Irvine
    • Research Executive
    • 01224 343 930
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      Kirsten Irvine Research Executive

      Kirsten graduated with a BA (Hons) in Marketing and Psychology from Stirling University in 2012. 

      During her time at university, she developed her research and analysis skills through a variety of projects and dissertations, and also completed a research assistant placement at the University. She then completed a Masters in Consumer Psychology with Business at Bangor University in 2013.

      Kirsten joined the Chamber in June 2014 and supports the Chamber’s research unit, contributing to the execution of customer research, staff engagement and sector-specific research.

    • Rebecca Campbell
    • Policy Executive
    • 01224 343 964
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      Rebecca Campbell Policy Executive

      Rebecca graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a BSc (Hons) in Property Management and Valuation in 2010. She then worked in Economic Development at City of Edinburgh Council before moving to work in the property department at NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. During this time, Rebecca passed the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors professional exam to become a chartered surveyor.

      She then returned to university full time and was awarded her Masters in Urban Research from the University of Glasgow in 2013. Rebecca then began her PhD at the University of Stirling. Her research is on affordable housing for young people in rural areas.   

      Rebecca joined the Chamber in March 2017 and looks forward to developing her skills and knowledge in her role as policy executive, supporting the Chamber’s policy team, preparing responses to policy and consultations and lobbying on behalf of members. 

Export Documentation

    • Lorraine Neish
    • Export Documentation Team Leader
    • 01224 343 908
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      Lorraine Neish Export Documentation Team Leader

      Lorraine previously worked in the Finance sector covering various roles over a 20 year period.

      Lorraine joined the Chamber in 2007 and is the export documentation team leader. Her role in the chamber is to make the export documentation process as straightforward as possible for exporters.

    • Graeme Reid
    • Export Documentation Executive
    • 01224 343 919
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      Graeme Reid Export Documentation Executive

      Graeme Reid is certification officer with responsibility for certifying various documents for the International Business Department. Graeme gained over 20 years Shipping Office experience whilst employed with P&O Ferries.

    • Alexander Sim
    • Export Documentation Assistant
    • 01224 343 921
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      Alexander Sim Export Documentation Assistant

      Alexander Sim is a certification documentation assistant with responsibility for certifying various documents for the International Business Department. 

      He previously worked for Clydesdale Bank plc for over 34 years, the last 20 years working in their business banking section dealing with a wide cross section of business types and sizes.

    • Norma Davidson
    • Export Documentation Assistant
    • 01224 343 960
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      Norma Davidson Export Documentation Assistant

      Norma joined the Chamber in 2011 after working in Customer Service with BT over 20 years. Norma’s role in the Documentation team is to certify various documents for International trade.

International trade

    • Joan Young
    • International Trade Executive
    • 01224 343 962
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      Joan Young International Trade Executive

      Prior to joining the Chamber Joan ran her own business, worked in a building society, administered editorial offices for ecological, psychological and neuropsychological peer-reviewed academic journals published by British and international publishers and had several administration roles with Aberdeenshire Council. At the Chamber she has responsibility for certifying various documents, providing advice and guidance to both AGCC and Africa Business Centre (ABC) members, assisting in the planning and organisation of outward trade missions to emerging and developed overseas markets alongside welcoming inward delegations.


    • Sue Stephenson
    • Finance and Corporate Services Director
    • 01224 343 909
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      Sue Stephenson Finance and Corporate Services Director

      Sue joined the Chamber in August 2016.

      She previously held the role of finance manager at Aberdeen Sports Village, which she had held since its inception seven years ago and where, as part of the senior management team, she played a key role in its successful growth.

      Sue is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, holds an MBA from Durham University and is a member of the Board of Management for Langstane Housing Association.

    • Lauren Whyte
    • Finance Administrator
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      Lauren Whyte Finance Administrator

      Lauren Joined the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce in July 2017.

      Lauren joins us from Subsea7 where she spent the past four years as part of the financial reporting team.

      She is a part qualified accountant and member of the ACCA.

      In her role as finance administrator she will help to oversee all invoicing, credit control and bank reconciliations and also assists the finance and administration director with month end management accounts.

    • Laura Forsyth
    • Finance Administrator
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      Laura Forsyth Finance Administrator

      Laura Joined the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce in September 2017. She joined us from Nalco Champion where she spent the past five years in various finance roles.

      In her role as finance administrator she will help to oversee all invoicing, credit control and bank reconciliations and also assists with HR duties.


    • Terri Vogt
    • Circular North-east project manager
    • 01224 343933
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      Terri Vogt Circular North-east project manager

      An experienced manager, business woman and environmentalist, Terri’s experience has developed over a 28 year career working with a wide range of organisations.

      A strategist rather than specialist, she is ideally placed to see the bigger picture, understand how projects and strands can fit together and the importance of stakeholder engagement. With a proven track record of building business, stakeholder engagement and managing large inter-disciplinary projects, Terri has helped develop a new business in Aberdeen, run her own business and worked in the consultancy, corporate and public sector. 

      She leads on the Circular Economy project delivered by the Chamber on behalf of Zero Waste Scotland, helping organisations identify opportunities to turn waste into wealth.

    • Jo McDermid
    • Business Development Co-ordinator
    • 01224 343932
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      Jo McDermid Business Development Co-ordinator

      Jo joined the Chamber in 2015, initially as part of the team delivering the Developing the Young Workforce initiative. Prior to this, she worked for an oil and gas operating company, a recruitment agency and one of the world’s leading business schools in France and has a strong track record in supporting large scale projects with national and international activity.

      A thoughtful, analytical and delivery focussed person, Jo has a passion for people and builds strong, long lasting relationships.



    • John Brebner
    • President
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      John Brebner President

      Director - Brebner Consulting Ltd

      In 2016, John established his own consultancy business Brebner Consulting Ltd focusing on business advisory services, targeting a mix of direct Board appointments (executive and non-executive) as well as project based advisory work.

      This followed a 34 year career with Clydesdale Bank where he undertook various senior roles, latterly Head of Regional Business & Private Banking Centre – East Scotland and Regional Head of Specialist & Acquisition Finance – North of Scotland.

    • Jennifer Young
    • Vice president
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      Jennifer Young Vice president

      Jennifer believes that business in this area needs to be energetic and positive about meeting the challenges that we all face, whether economic, geographic, market-led or political. She sees the Chamber as continuing to play an integral role in achieving that

    • Edel Harris
    • Immediate past president
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      Edel Harris Immediate past president

      Edel Harris joined Cornerstone as chief executive in May 2008 having previously been deputy chief executive of Aberdeen Foyer.  

      Her background is in health promotion, holding a first class honours degree in health and social care, she worked for NHS Grampian for many years.  Edel has significant experience in leading a commercial social enterprise and in developing new social care services. 

      Edel is a former chairman and now vice chair of the Life Changes Trust, a former director of The Fragile X Society and a director of Aberdeen FC Community Trust. She is also a former chair of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Investment Fund.

    • Stephen Nicol
    • Chief financial officer - Wood Group PSN
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      Stephen Nicol Chief financial officer - Wood Group PSN

      Stephen relishes the opportunity to shape the strategic direction of the Chamber, and to share ideas, debate issues and take action to enable success for local businesses. He believes that being on the board will broaden his perspectives as he takes up his post as chief financial officer at Wood Group PSN.

    • Judith Thorpe
    • Co-owner and director - Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Limited
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      Judith Thorpe Co-owner and director - Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Limited

      Judith has worked in Aberdeen for 20 years, 17 as founding director of professional services company and member of the Chamber. Working with the full spectrum of organisations within Grampian, she is looking forward to using her network for the benefit of Chamber members.

    • Jill Webster
    • Rubberatkins Limited
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      Jill Webster Rubberatkins Limited

      Jill has over 35 years’ experience as a director of SMEs as well as experience as provost of Aberdeenshire Council with its half a billion pound budget. She believes that her many connections through her public and corporate activities will be an enormous asset to the Chamber board,

    • Chris Bain
    • External relations director - Aberdeen Harbour Board
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      Chris Bain External relations director - Aberdeen Harbour Board

      Educated at Stirling University, Chris followed an early career in helicopter and marine logistics, including roles with BIH and CHC Helicopters, and with Asco, subsequently moving into the role of Senior Logistics Manager within the oil & gas and construction sectors, including roles with Petrofac, Dubai Petroleum & Ras Al Khaimah Petroleum. Located primarily in the UK, Chris also spent five years of her career in the Middle East.

      Prior to joining Aberdeen Harbour, Chris headed up Project Services for Petrofac on the Laggan Tormore Project, based in the north of Shetland.

      Chris joined Aberdeen Harbour Executive in April 2013 as External Relations Manager and is an Executive Member of the Board.

    • John Gregor
    • Executive director - ANM Group Ltd
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      John Gregor Executive director - ANM Group Ltd

      John brings over three decades’ experience in livestock and food sectors to the Board.

      As executive director of ANM Group, chairman of Taste of Grampian, and a former director of Quality Meat Scotland, John is passionate about ensuring the agricultural sector’s sustainability, and represents group members’ and customers’ interests at political and stakeholder level.

    • Pádraig McCloskey
    • External relations manager - Shell UK Limited
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      Pádraig McCloskey External relations manager - Shell UK Limited

      After graduating from Imperial College in 2002, Pádraig joined Shell, initially working on the Pernis Refinery in the Netherlands in a technical role. After three years in Holland Pádraig made a significant career move into communications when he moved back to Ireland for the first of two spells working on the Corrib Gas Project. Pádraig has subsequently worked in the US and Canada before moving to Aberdeen in 2012.  

      Pádraig believes the North-east has great potential and is excited by the opportunity to support the Chambers vision for the region.

    • Dr Deborah O’Neil
    • Chief executive and scientific officer - NovaBiotics Ltd
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      Dr Deborah O’Neil Chief executive and scientific officer - NovaBiotics Ltd

      A biotechnologist with two decades of experience in the field of anti-infectives research & drug development, Deborah studied immunology at University College London before working in internationally acclaimed laboratories in San Diego and Ghent.

      Moving to Aberdeen in 2004, she founded NovaBiotics and has grown the business, as Chief Executive & Scientific Officer, into a leading global biotechnology company.

      Deborah is editor of the European Biopharmaceutical Review and International Pharmaceutical Technology, a member of the Scottish Life Science Industry Leadership Group and sits on the Advisory Board of the Scottish Life Sciences Association as well as a member of the Life Sciences Board of ONE and a proud Trustee of Crohn’s in Childhood Research Association.

    • Derren McRae
    • Managing director, CBRE Ltd
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      Derren McRae Managing director, CBRE Ltd

      Derren joined commercial property advisers CBRE in July 2009 and was appointed MD of the Aberdeen office in 2012.

      Educated at University of Aberdeen, Derren originally joined FG Burnett as a graduate then spent 7 years working in Glasgow with Culverwell before returning to Aberdeen to take up his current position. 

      Derren is also a director of Aberdeen Inspired and is looking forward to explore initiatives to promote the positive aspects of the area to help encourage future investment.



Policy Council

    • Simpson Buglass
    • Savills
    • Read bio

      Simpson Buglass Savills

      Simpson is a Director and Head of the Aberdeen Office at Savills. As well as his role on the Council, he is Honorary Consul for the Republic of Estonia and a member of the RICS Dispute Resolution Panel.

    • Belinda Miller
    • Aberdeenshire Council
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      Belinda Miller Aberdeenshire Council

      Belinda Miller is the Head of Service for Economic Development at Aberdeenshire Council. She is responsible for delivering the conditions for economic growth in line with the Council's economic strategy.

      Prior to joining Aberdeenshire Council, Belinda was a Specialist Advisor for Renewable Energy with UK Trade and Investment, and Head of Economic and Environmental Sustainability for Aberdeen City Council. She has a background in energy, climate change and sustainable development. Belinda has also represented Scotland and the North East of Scotland on a range of national and international groups and events and has led a number oil and gas trade missions.

    • Alan Rowe
    • University of Aberdeen
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      Alan Rowe University of Aberdeen

      Alan Rowe trained as a chemist, working in research before focusing on technology transfer where he has worked for more than 25 years. He joined the Rowett Research Institute in 1999. Since the Rowett merged with the University of Aberdeen in 2008 he has been responsible for wider interactions with the food and drink sector, maintaining a strong interest in innovation and the role of research in economic growth. He was a founding Director of Scotland Food and Drink, chairs its Innovation Group and is a member of the Executive Management Group.

    • Tim Smith
    • BP Plc
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      Tim Smith BP Plc

      Tim graduated as a Geology and Mining Engineering and now has over 25 years oil and gas industry experience. In 2009, he was appointed Vice President Communications and External Affairs for BP's North Sea business across the UK and Norway.

    • James Dunphy
    • Robert Gordon University
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      James Dunphy Robert Gordon University

      James Dunphy is responsible for widening participation, links with colleges and study support at Robert Gordon University (RGU). He is a member of the Scottish Funding Council’s Access and Inclusion Committee and has an interest in skills utilisation.

    • Stephen Hepburn
    • Clydesdale Bank
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      Stephen Hepburn Clydesdale Bank


      Stephen Hepburn is a Chartered Banker and a graduate of both Napier University and The University of Glasgow Business School where he completed an MSc in Organisational Development.

      He has more than 25 years’ experience in banking and over the last 15 years has held senior leadership positions in retail, private and business banking across Scotland with Clydesdale Bank.

      He is currently a member of the Banks Senior Leadership team in Scotland via his role as Head of Customer Banking based in Aberdeen where he has responsibility for implementing a local Banking strategy for the City and Shire across all customer segments.

      He is a current Chairman of the Aberdeen District Committee of the Chartered Banker Institute.

      Stephen resides in Turriff with his wife Mandy and young sons Bailey and Rio. In his spare time he is a sports enthusiast and keen runner who has got himself into the habit of doing a marathon each year with London 2017 as his latest goal.

    • Fiona Mann
    • Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre
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      Fiona Mann Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre

      Fiona has 20 years’ experience in the Exhibition and Events industry, working for corporate clients in a commercial and competitive environment. She joined AECC in 2002 as Event Manager then in January 2012 was appointed to the AECC Board.

      Key Skills include being extremely organised, enthusiastic, flexible in approach, excellent at multi-tasking, great communicator and focused on delivery. She has client experience, and has engaged in budget control and public safety.

      Fiona has an IOSH Certificate in Managing Safely in Exhibition & Events Industry, and a NEBOSH Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety with Distinction.

    • John Michie
    • Charles Michie Chemists
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      John Michie Charles Michie Chemists

      John has been a Chamber Council member for over 20 years – He is a partner in the long established Charles Michie Retail Pharmacy Group, Chairman of :- IFB - Internet For Business ltd.; ACCA – Aberdeen City Centre Association ; BiD – Aberdeen's Business Improvement District and a Board member of ACSEF.

    • Derick Murray
    • Nestrans
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      Derick Murray Nestrans

      Derick Murray is the Director of Nestrans, with responsibility for the regional transport strategy for the North East of Scotland. An Aberdonian and graduate of Aberdeen University, Derick has 35 years’ experience in the transport field. 

      Employed in the Roads Department of Grampian Regional Council, Derick developed numerous road schemes across Aberdeen and was responsible for compiling Aberdeen City Council’s Capital Plan. Having developed the region's Modern Transport System with the first use of the Scottish Government’s transport appraisal guidance, which proved the case for the AWPR, Derick became the AWPR Managing Agent until the publication of Orders stage.

    • Jennifer Stanning
    • Oil & Gas UK
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      Jennifer Stanning Oil & Gas UK

      Based in Oil & Gas UK’s Aberdeen office for four years, Jenny manages Oil & Gas UK’s stakeholder and political relationships across all parties and at all levels in Westminster, Holyrood and Europe and in local authorities across the UK. Jenny was previously Head of Press for the Scottish Liberal Democrats and is a member of the CIPR

    • Craig Stevenson
    • Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centre
    • Read bio

      Craig Stevenson Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centre

      Craig is Centre Manager for Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centre having had extensive retail experience as Store Manager of Bhs, House of Fraser and latterly Debenhams, where he won the Scottish Retail Award for Store Manager of the Year 2010.

    • George Thom
    • St James's Place Wealth Management
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      George Thom St James's Place Wealth Management

      George Thom is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland and has 34 years experience in the banking industry.  

    • Colette Backwell
    • CLAN
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      Colette Backwell CLAN

      Dr Colette Backwell took up her appointment as Chief Executive of CLAN Cancer Support in 2015. Colette’s previous roles include Director of the Scottish Food and Drink Federation and she has gained a wealth of experience in policy development, research, industry support and business management within the charitable, public and private sectors. In addition to being a member of the Scottish Committee and the North-east Scotland Committee of the Institute of Directors, Colette is also the current Chair of the Grampian Cancer Partnership Group and sits on the NHS Cancer Strategy Group.

    • Colin Campbell
    • Langstane Press
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      Colin Campbell Langstane Press

      Born in Aberdeen and educated at Aberdeen Grammar School, Colin followed his father into the family business Langstane Press and became Managing Director in 1987. A Past President of the Rotary Club of Aberdeen, a Past President of the Aberdeen Association of Royal Warrant Holders and a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in London. He has just begun his second term as an Assessor with the Burgesses of Guild and is currently a Trustee with VSA.

    • Eileen McBay
    • Eastern Airways
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      Eileen McBay Eastern Airways

      Eileen, an Aberdonian educated at Albyn School Girls, has worked in the Oil & Gas industry and in the hospitality industry as a Sales Manager for Holiday Inn Bucksburn and local hotelier Stewart Spence.

      She then pursued a career in the Airline industry, working with Gill Airways before moving to North East England where she worked as Business Development/Account Manager for over 6 years with Air France and Air France KLM, before joining Eastern Airways in 2008.

      Eileen is a member of the Burgess of Guild and an Associate Member of Institute of Marketing.

    • Kevin McCormick
    • ARCHIE Foundation
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      Kevin McCormick ARCHIE Foundation

      Kevin is MD of The McCormick Consultancy (Aberdeen) Ltd, specialists in marketing and PR communications, a role which he fulfils on behalf of The ARCHIE Foundation.

      A Fellow of the IOD he is a trustee of ARCHIE and Grampian Transport Museum, and a member of the Board of Governors of Lathallan School.

      He chairs the Chamber’s Skills Network Group and sits on the Board of the ‘Invest in Young People’ initiative.

    • Tom Sanders
    • EY
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      Tom Sanders EY

      Tom is an experienced audit manager with EY Aberdeen. In addition to his role, he co-leads the Connecting Emerging Leaders (CEL) Programme, a development and networking group for future leaders. With this unique perspective, Tom will bring diversity to the policy council and will represent the views of the next generation. Tom is also passionate about promoting the region as a vibrant and dynamic area, and looks forward to getting more involved with his role on the Policy Council.

    • Jane Spiers
    • Aberdeen Performing Arts
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      Jane Spiers Aberdeen Performing Arts

      Jane is Chief Executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, responsible for three of Aberdeen’s city centre venues, His Majesty’s Theatre; the Music Hall; and The Lemon Tree. 

      She is also leading the redevelopment of the Music Hall. 

      Prior to that, she was Chief Executive of Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre.

      She was project champion for the redevelopment of the Tolbooth, Stirling’s Centre for Music and the Arts.

      She is an experienced programmer, producer, festivals and events manager. She is currently on the board of Sound and the Beacon Arts Centre. 

    • Richard Sweetnam
    • Aberdeen City Council
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      Richard Sweetnam Aberdeen City Council

      Richard has more than 20 years of economic development experience having worked in a number of research and consultancy roles in the UK, Ireland and Brussels, before joining local government in 2009. 

      He joined Aberdeen City Council as Head of Economic Development in 2015 where his remit includes trade and inward investment, business support, employability, external funding and supporting the delivery of number of key infrastructure projects in the city. 

      He studied at Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and the University of Texas and is a member of the Institution of Economic Development. 

    • Graeme Watt
    • FG Burnett
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      Graeme Watt FG Burnett

      Graeme is a Director of property consultant F G Burnett. Industrial property is his forte providing, as he does, consultancy advice on agency and rent review matters. As well as the RICS, Graeme is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

    • Alex Yelland
    • Chevron Upstream Europe
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      Alex Yelland Chevron Upstream Europe

      Alex has more than 15 years' public affairs experience in the automotive and energy industries with assignments in the UK, US and Asia. In 2014, he was appointed Policy, Government and Public Affairs Manager for Chevron’s European upstream exploration and production interests, based in Aberdeen.

    • Neil Clapperton
    • Grampian Housing Association
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      Neil Clapperton Grampian Housing Association

      Neil Clapperton is the chief executive of Grampian Housing Association, a landlord with 3,500 properties, 110 staff and a turnover of £16m.  He has championed innovation in funding, digital technology, affordable housing’s role in sustaining the NE economy, its public services and enterprise. Neil has worked for charities, associations and local authorities, across many roles: regeneration, care, development, quality assurance, strategy and service management. He holds a degree in Construction Management and is a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

    • Adrian Watson
    • Aberdeen Inspired
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      Adrian Watson Aberdeen Inspired

      Adrian spent 30 years in the police, the last seven as commander for Aberdeen City.

      He had a varied career in the service that included secondments both nationally and abroad. 

      Latterly, he was also the vice-chair of Community Planning Aberdeen.

      He holds an MBA from Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University.

      In July 2016, Adrian was appointed CEO at Aberdeen Inspired.

    • Bob Keiller
    • Director- AB15 Ltd
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      Bob Keiller Director- AB15 Ltd

      Bob Keiller was appointed Chairman of Scottish Enterprise in January 2016.

      Previously he was CEO of Wood Group, a company with $7bn (USD) sales, over 40,000 employees, and operations in more than 50 countries.

      Bob completed the $1bn sale of PSN to Wood Group in April 2011. He was responsible for the creation of PSN by manufacturing a $280m management buyout from Halliburton in 2006.

      Bob has a Master of Engineering degree from Heriot-Watt University and is a chartered engineer. He was previously Chairman of the Offshore Contracting Association (OCA) and co-chair of the cross-industry trade body Oil and Gas UK.

      Bob is former Chairman of the Entrepreneurial Exchange. Awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and 2008, he was also named Scottish Businessman of the Year in 2007 and Grampian Industrialist of the Year in 2008. In 2011 Bob was voted “Scottish Male Business Leader of the Year” at the Scottish Leadership awards.

      Alongside his non-executive role in Scottish Enterprise, Bob is providing mentoring and support for ambitious business leaders and Social Enterprises. He also has a busy calendar of public speaking engagements.

      He has delivered countless pitches, presentations and talks – winning many contracts and raising lots of business funding. He also claims to have made nearly every mistake possible but is still adding more to the list and often shares his learning in this area with aspiring business leaders.

      Bob is married with three children and lives in Aberdeen.

    • Nat Anderson
    • Opportunity North East
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      Nat Anderson Opportunity North East

      Senior marketing & communications manager, Opportunity North East (ONE)

      Nat is the marketing and communications lead for Opportunity North East (ONE), the private sector led and funded economic development body for North East Scotland. ONE was established at the end of 2015 to strengthen and diversify the region’s economy to achieve a long term economic renaissance.

      His career in communications began in journalism, latterly as a news reporter with the Press and Journal. He moved into public relations in 2001 and has held senior consultancy and in-house roles in the public and private sectors in Aberdeen, Inverness and London.

    • Maggie Bochel
    • Aurora Planning
    • Rita Brown
    • DC Thomson
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      Rita Brown DC Thomson

      Rita Brown is an award-winning journalist and editor. Originally from sunny California, she studied in America before moving to Aberdeen and starting work at an evening paper, securing exclusive content and building a network of contacts.

      She worked her way up to a senior reporter and was later named the publication’s content editor. Rita then transitioned into PR, delivering media training and provided emergency response support.

      Rita joined Energy Voice as editor in March 2014 and is responsible for the digital platform’s editorial team and scope. Her coverage includes sit down interviews with BP CEO Bob Dudley and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

    • John Davidson
    • NESCOL
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      John Davidson NESCOL

      Born in Paisley, John has considerable experience having spent the last 20 years in Further Education. Previously, John spent a number of years in Retail Management. As Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality at North East Scotland College (NESCOL), John is accountable for providing strategic leadership and corporate planning of all curriculum functions across the region. During the last seven years in Aberdeen, John has built valuable relationships at both local and national level including Universities, Schools, Skills Development Scotland, Industry Partners and of course, the Chamber and is a driver of Foundation Apprenticeships for the North-east. A graduate in 1996 with a Computing Degree at the University of Abertay and a Post Graduate in Education at Stirling University, John’s hobbies include Tennis, Hillwalking and following his hometown football team – St Mirren!


Ex officio

    • Colin Taylor
    • Dean of Guild
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      Colin Taylor Dean of Guild

      Colin was elected Dean of Guild of the City of Aberdeen in 2014 and on 27th February 2015 the Lord Lyon King of Arms appointed him as Lord Dean of Guild of the City and Royal Burgh of Aberdeen.

      Born in Aberdeen, he enjoyed a forty-two years career in insurance broking before retiring in 2006.

      Colin is a Director and Deputy Chairman of Sport Aberdeen, has been President of Junior Chamber Aberdeen, Chairman of the Scottish Senate of Junior Chamber Scotland, President of The Insurance Institute of Aberdeen, Chairman of The Royal Northern and University Club, Director of Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Aberdeen & District Cerebral Palsy Association and President of The FRS Club.  He is a Senator of Junior Chamber International and in 2014 was presented with a Scottish Samurai Award.

    • Elaine Cleary
    • President of JCI
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      Elaine Cleary President of JCI

      Originally from Ireland, Elaine is a student teacher of Business Education after a diverse career in Economic and Rural Development that has spanned from rural Ireland to the Outer Hebrides and over to Aberdeen. Not long after moving to Aberdeen, Elaine joined Junior Chamber International (JCI) as an opportunity to support active community participation partnered with professional and personal development. She is currently leading the local branch of JCI Aberdeen as their local President. Through JCI, Elaine has travelled throughout Europe, learning and training with the organisation, getting involved in debating, public speaking, and having opportunities to support global campaigns. She had led project team on local and International projects and this year is leading the Scottish Ten Outstanding Young People Award.