The University of Aberdeen has honoured two prominent Aberdeen businessmen in recognition of their contribution to entrepreneurship and the local community.
George Yule, Managing Partner of BGE Consulting and Former Vice Chairman of Aberdeen Football Club, and Gary McEwan, Chief Executive of Elevator, have been appointed Honorary Professors of Entrepreneurship.
Their main role will be to support students, as well as help the University create partnerships with local and national businesses with the aim of increasing the institution's entrepreneurial focus.
With more than three decades of oilfield experience, including start-ups, management buyouts, acquisitions and internalisation projects, Professor Yule has experienced the highs and lows of a busy business career in Aberdeen. A qualified mechanical engineer, he has extensive practical experience of the global oil and gas sector, as well as being a recognised advisor in business research, diligence and the management of change in organisations.
Professor Yule has held several strategic roles, including former President of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Aberdeen Sports Village and the 2009 Grampian Industrialist of the Year. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University in 2016, for his services to business and sport in the North East of Scotland.
With a clear passion for business and enterprise, Professor McEwan is deeply involved in the promotion of entrepreneurship to young people as a credible and viable career option. A recipient of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, he has invested in, operated and developed businesses as diverse as transport, training, financial services software, electronic manufacturing and business consultancy.
In November 2008, he was appointed CEO of Elevator, and played a key role in the design and development of the company’s two Centres for Entrepreneurship in Aberdeen and Tayside. The thriving hubs offer a safe space for ambitious entrepreneurs to fast-track their businesses through Elevator’s range of accelerator programmes and delivery of Business Gateway services.
University Principal George Boyne welcomed the appointment of both businessmen as Honorary Professors.
“Our business school is internationally recognised for its excellence in world-leading research where students can benefit from a study experience that will considerably enhance their job prospects,” he said.
“George and Gary bring with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise in so many areas of business, which they will use to increase the University’s entrepreneurial focus, building and enhancing partnerships both locally and nationally, as well as providing advice and support to our students. We are delighted to have them on board and look forward to working alongside them.”
Professors Yule and McEwan both said they were "extremely honoured" to have been recognised by the University.
Professor Yule said: “I look forward to engaging with my academic colleagues and sharing my business and life experiences with the student population. This year, 2020, has been very challenging for most of us, so this is a very happy and proud moment for my family."
Professor McEwan added: “The University offers a plethora of enterprising opportunities, creating pathways for future entrepreneurs. I look forward to working with and inspiring students to use the power of entrepreneurship to create economic and social value as we strive to bring entrepreneurship into the heart of every part of the University.”