Commissioners

The commissioners will be responsible for:

  • Bringing specific skills and experience
  • Providing expert, impartial advice
  • Engaging widely with stakeholders including industry, expert and interest groups, government, local government and public bodies, civic society and the public

 

Ian Russell CBE

Ian Russell CBE

Chair

He is currently chair of Scottish Futures Trust and HICL Infrastructure Company, a non-executive director of Herald Investment Trust and a trustee of National Museums of Scotland.

From 1994 to 2006, he was an executive director of Scottish Power Plc, initially as Finance Director for seven years and then as Chief Executive for a further five years, during which time he led the UK Government Commission investigating the development of a National Youth Volunteering Strategy.

Previously he held senior finance roles at a number of organisations including Tomkins, HSBC and Mars. Since 2006 Mr Russell has been a non-executive director in a variety of commercial and public sector organisations.

His previous appointments included non-executive roles at BlackRock Income and Growth Trust, Mercantile Investment Trust, British Polythene Industries, Johnston Press, Remploy and Advanced Power. He served on the Council of Edinburgh International Festival and the Scottish Council of the Prince's Trust and was Chair of the Campaign Board for the University of Edinburgh.

He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, having trained with Thomson McLintock. He holds a BCom (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Iain Docherty

Professor Iain Docherty

University of Stirling

Iain Docherty is the Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Stirling. Previously he was Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Glasgow. For 20 years he has researched the interconnections between strategic planning and transport policies, investment decision-making and economic performance. He has worked with and advised a range of private sector, public and government agencies in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden on these issues.

Ken Gillespie

Ken Gillespie

Homes for Scotland

He is currently Chair of both Homes for Scotland and Construction Scotland, and a non-executive Director of Home Group.

From 2006-2017, He was Executive Director of Galliford Try plc, a FTSE 250 Housebuilding and Construction Group, initially responsible for  Construction and Investments and in 2014 appointed as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer. Ken has been involved in the delivery of a number of significant Infrastructure projects in Scotland and across the UK, including the 2012 Olympics, the M74 link in Glasgow and the Queensferry Crossing.

He has spent his whole career in the Housebuilding and Construction sectors since leaving School and joining George Wimpey plc as a Quantity Surveying apprentice.

He is a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and holds a BSc in Quantity Surveying from Napier University in Edinburgh.

 

Benny Higgins

Benny Higgins

Commissioner

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. 

Benny is Executive Chairman of the Buccleuch Group, Chairman of the National Galleries of Scotland, Chairman of Sistema Scotland, Non Executive Director of Glasgow Life, Trustee of Burrell Renaissance, Non Executive Director of Arabian Centres and Chairman of Kyckr.

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 a Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow, Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University and Honorary Professor at Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University.

Mary Pitcaithly OBE

Mary Pitcaithly OBE

Scottish Police Authority

Mary is currently a member of the Scottish Police Authority. She also served on the boards of SACRO and Youthlink Scotland. From 1998 to 2018, Mary was Chief Executive of Falkirk Council and is a former chair of SOLACE Scotland, the representative body for Local Authority Chief Executives. She also served as Chair of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland wand was the Chief Counting Officer for Scotland. Mary is a member of the Law Society of Scotland and holds an LL.B. (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh.

Rachel Skinner

Rachel Skinner

UK Head of Transport, WSP

Rachel Skinner BSc(Hons) MSc(Eng) CEng FICE MCIHT TPP

Rachel is UK Head of Transport and an Executive Director of WSP, and a Vice President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), where she leads the Public Voice portfolio. She is a chartered engineer, an ICE Fellow and Trustee. She is also a Patron of Women in Transport, having been one of its founding board members. 

In 2016, Rachel was named as one of The Telegraph’s inaugural Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering and in 2017 she was named as the Most Distinguished Winner and Best Woman Civil Engineer at the Women in Civil Engineering Awards.

She has authored and co-authored various publications on topics including autonomous vehicles and future place-making, and before that about digital technology and its potential for infrastructure, industry innovation and collaboration. She is involved with major projects for clients across the public and private sectors, including leadership of a growing portfolio of future mobility projects in the UK and overseas.

 

Grahame Smith

Grahame Smith

General Secretary, TUC

Grahame Smith was appointed General Secretary of the Scottish TUC in November 2006.

He is a Graduate of Strathclyde University, where he obtained an Honours Degree in Economics and Industrial Relations.

He serves on a number of Boards/bodies in the field of economic development and skills. He is a Non-Executive Director of Skills Development Scotland; a member of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board; a Board member of the Scottish Qualifications Authority; a Non- Executive Director of Investors in People Community Interest Company; Chairperson of Scotland Europa; and a member of the UK Government’s MER Oil and Gas Forum and the Scottish Oil and Gas Industry Leadership Group.

He is Co-Chair of the Fair Work Convention and, having been a member of the Wood Commission on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, is actively involved in the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations through his membership of the DYW National Group.

In November 2015 Grahame received an honorary degree of Doctor of the University from the University of Strathclyde in recognition of his achievements in the field of industrial relations, economic policy and his work in knowledge exchange.

Following the 2016 EU Referendum, Grahame was appointed by the First Minister to serve on the Standing Council on Europe which is advising the Scottish Government on Brexit and maintaining Scotland’s relationship with the EU.

Sara Thiam

Sara Thiam

Director, ICE Scotland

Sara is Director for the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland – working with members to inform the infrastructure debate, promote and diversify the profession and deliver lifelong learning for Scotland’s civil engineers. She is a board member for the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and chaired the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force in 2015.

From 2002-2012 Sara led several economic development projects for the City of Edinburgh Council including the Glasgow Edinburgh Collaboration Initiative, the City Centre Development Partnership and EU knowledge transfer projects.

After an early career in London with the British Council Sara returned to Scotland to lead Community Learning Scotland’s international work, helping set up the Eurodesk youth information project, which was subsequently replicated across the EU. Sara holds a BA (Hons) in modern languages from the University of Stirling.

John Trower

John Trower

OPTIMITY

Having graduated with an Honours Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Strathclyde University he started his career in Scottish Power. After a period working as a Divisional Director in a number of listed telecommunications and internet companies, he became an independent advisor to the private equity industry working variously for Lloyds Development Capital, Fleming Private Equity and Growth Capital Partners. He has served as a Non-Exec Director on the Boards of various tech companies including Metronet UK and internet and hosting company; My1Login a cyber security and identity management company; and ODRO a video technology company serving the recruitment industry. He is currently Chairman of Optimity which is a B2B Wireless ISP based in London. From 2015 to 2018 he was a member of OFCOM’s national Advisory Committee for Scotland (ACS) which is a statutory body providing advice to inform policy and regulation which has particular significance to Scotland with a scope covering fixed and mobile telecoms, spectrum allocation, TV & radio licencing, PSB broadcasting content monitoring & complaints and Royal Mail delivery services.

Professor Janette Webb

Professor Janette Webb

University of Edinburgh

Professor Janette Webb, University of Edinburgh, has extensive research expertise in multi-level governance of low carbon infrastructure, with a particular focus on comparative European heat and energy efficiency policies and practices.  She is Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre Phase 4, leading multi-disciplinary research on local and regional energy systems.  She leads the University’s Heat and the City Research Group, and is also part of the UK Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions, and the UKRI EnergyREV consortium.  

She was a member of the Scottish Government Fuel Poverty Review Panel and adviser on Energy Efficient Scotland proposals.  She is a peer reviewer of UK Government BEIS social research on heat networks, and adviser to the Industrial Strategy Challenge: Prospering from the Energy Revolution.  She chaired the Committee on Climate Change 2016 Advisory Group on Energy Efficiency and Heat.