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Pinsent Masons Named Stonewall’s Scotland Diversity Champion

Pinsent Masons has been crowned Scottish Diversity Champion for a second year by equality campaign charity Stonewall.

The first law firm to be included in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index back in 2008, Pinsent Masons has consistently ranked in the Top 100 British employers. This year marks the fifth consecutive year the firm has been placed in the British top five and the second successive year as Top Employer Private Sector in the Stonewall Scotland Workplace Awards.

With more than 500 staff based at offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Pinsent Masons has been consistent in supporting LGBT issues in the workplace and out with the business.

Construction sector specialist and senior associate, Craig Macphee, collected the award on behalf of colleagues at a celebration dinner at the Virgin Money Banking Hall in Glasgow.

Craig Macphee said: “The willingness of the firm to embrace diversity and inclusion has benefits across the firm. It encourages a more inclusive atmosphere and even for those staff not directly affected by diversity issues, they will feel a parallel benefit if other colleagues are able to come to work and be genuine or authentic.”

“More often now, we are being asked by clients, and even third parties who supply services to Pinsent Masons, to share information on the approach we are taking on diversity issues, and we are happy to be able to positively contribute to the wider equality agenda.”

One initiative which has made a significant contribution to promoting diversity within Pinsent Masons has been the formation of an LGBT Allies network. Staff can privately discuss with an Ally, who are visible and known throughout the firm, matters they may feel they are unable or unwilling to raise with managers.

Craig added: “The Allies network has gained a lot of traction with staff and they are available for anyone, working at any level, who would benefit from have a confidential sounding board or is looking to seek advice on a range of issues. There is also a strong partnership across the firm with other forums such as our Disability and Wellbeing Network and Female Futures Network, because often those groups share common issues and experiences.”

Pinsent Masons’ Chair of Scotland and Northern Ireland, Katharine Hardie, said: “Diversity and inclusion is a central tenet of our business and we are delighted that Stonewall has again recognised the work being done across the firm, and particularly in Scotland, on these vitally important issues.

“Law graduates are increasingly selective when it comes to deciding which firms they will work for and resting on our laurels and past reputation will not cut it when it comes to attracting the best legal talent. Being highly regarded by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index provides potential future employees with a valuable benchmark and an assurance that diversity and inclusion is treated seriously at Pinsent Masons.”

Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Pinsent Masons are playing a huge role in improving the lives of LGBT people in Scotland, and should be very proud of their work.

“We still don’t live in a world where everyone is able to be themselves in the workplace, as we know more than a third of LGBT staff (36 per cent) hide who they are at work. By taking steps to make their workplaces supportive and welcoming of all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, these organisations are bringing us closer to a world where everyone is accepted without exception.”

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.pinsentmasons.com/

Accountancy giant names new boss for Scotland

PwC has unveiled a new boss for its operation in Scotland. The firm has unveiled Claire Reid as the successor to long-standing Scottish chairman Lindsay Gardiner, who has stepped down after seven years in the role.

Ms Reid, until recently head of assurance for PwC in Scotland, becomes the first female to hold the post.

And she comes to the role with a strong background in technology. Ms Reid joined PwC in 1998 and in the earlier part of her career with the firm was based in Silicon Valley, California, where she worked with a number of high-profile technology clients.

On returning to the UK she worked to establish and develop PwC’s relationship with Oracle, a cloud computing partner, going on to help build the firm’s cyber security operation, during a 10-year spell in London.

Ms Reid, who has a degree in international business and modern languages from the University of Strathclyde, returned to her hometown of Glasgow in 2016 to become head of assurance and lead the firm’s technology risk practice across the UK.

Ms Reid said: “I am truly honoured to take on the role as regional leader for Scotland. It’s great to be back home in Scotland, working with local organisations and supporting them to prosper and grow across the region.

“Scotland has a dynamic and thriving economy with lots of great opportunity for business, our communities and the people of Scotland.

“I am really excited to build on our recent success and on our investment in Scotland. With my background in technology and digital change, I look forward to bringing continued energy and focus to this topic for our region.”

Mr Gardiner meanwhile will continue to work within the firm’s audit business. Mr Gardiner said: “Leading our wider team in Scotland for the last seven years has been a privilege and great fun. A lot has changed in that time, both in the way we deliver services for our clients, and in the firm itself.

“We now work, in some respects, for the majority of listed companies based in Scotland, have developed our oil and gas and financial services centres of excellence and significantly grown our services to locally-based private organisations and across the public sector.

“We now have more than 900 staff in Scotland and we have opened our new offices in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.”

EY appoints Ally Scott as managing partner of Scottish operations

EY has for the first time appointed someone who is not a chartered accountant to head its Scottish operation, and flagged major hiring plans.

Ally Scott, who joined the accountancy firm’s Scottish operation from banking giant Barclays in autumn 2016 as head of transaction advisory services, will succeed Mark Harvey as EY’s managing partner for Scotland on July 1. Mr Harvey will remain a partner of EY until next April, before joining car retailing giant Arnold Clark as chief financial officer in the summer of 2020.

A spokeswoman for EY confirmed that Mr Scott would be the first leader of the Scottish business who was not a chartered accountant.

EY highlighted its ambitions to increase its current Scottish workforce of about 1,000 by 25 per cent over the next 12 months.

The spokeswoman said: “We are going to be recruiting at all levels of seniority but also across all service lines. It is in all geographies as well. It is across the office network.”

EY has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen.

The accountancy firm noted Mr Scott had led the firm’s Scottish transaction advisory services practice to 15% and 21% growth in its last two financial years, “helping secure deals for prominent Scottish clients such as Simon Howie Group, QTS Group and Weir Group”.

EY noted Mr Harvey had, since taking on the Scotland managing partner role in 2015, raised the annual revenues of the accountancy firm’s Scottish business from about £100 million to £170m.

Mr Scott, who joined Royal Bank of Scotland as a 16-year-old trainee and worked for the Edinburgh-based institution from 1985 to 2005 before joining Barclays, said: “It’s a real honour to take up the role of managing partner. Under Mark’s leadership, EY has enjoyed significant growth in Scotland, securing notable client wins across all service lines and investing in our product offering to support a broader range of businesses.”

He added: “Our ambition to increase headcount to 1,250 staff across all levels in the next 12 months is a strong signal of our intent to build on that momentum. It’s an exciting time to be part of our business. Our continued investment in technology and automation has resulted in our Edinburgh office becoming EY’s UK centre of excellence in data analytics and provides our clients with an exceptional level of strategic insight and clarity in decision-making.”

The EY spokeswoman noted some of the new jobs would be in the data analytics, automation and digital area, but emphasised hiring would be broadly based, citing a ramping up of activity across assurance, advisory and tax operations.

Business Minister commends Scottish Industrial Strategy efforts

Speaking to over 50 business leaders at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) Annual Forum today (Friday 26 April), Lord Henley showcased how, through collaboration between UK and Scottish government, Scottish businesses and regions were “rising to the occasion” to meet some of the UK’s biggest challenges.

In particular he highlighted the importance of collaboration between the SCDI and government in supporting Scottish enterprise in recent years – with £87 million of UK government funding awarded to 163 Scottish organisations through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund since its launch in April 2017.

The government has also invested over £1.35 billion pounds across Scotland, as part of the City and Growth Deals, aimed at providing more power and flexibility to cities in terms of employment and skills, business support and housing.

Business Minister Lord Henley said:

From addressing the needs of an ageing society, to capitalising on the benefits of artificial intelligence, it’s brilliant to see first-hand how businesses in Scotland are thriving while tackling the UK’s grand challenges.

Through collaboration between business and the UK and Scottish governments, we can ensure that we continue to back Scottish businesses, boosting productivity and creating high quality, well paid jobs.

As part of his visit, Lord Henley met with life sciences company RoslinCT to see how £887,000 of government funding, awarded in October 2018, is being used to help develop stem cell therapies for clinical use.

He also met with scientists and academia from SynthSys, Edinburgh’s virtual centre for Synthetic Biology, to tour its flagship Genome Foundry, which is using robotics and automation to assemble DNA for medical applications.