Business Committee

Business Committee

The Business Committee consists of 21 elected General Council members, four Independent Members of Court and four ex-officio members. The Committee meets four times a year online. Members can join Committee meetings virtually and there is no requirement to be in Aberdeen to participate.

Schedule of Meetings and Previous Minutes

The dates of 2024 Business Committee meetings are as follows:

  • Thursday 07 March 2024
  • Thursday 06 June 2024
  • Thursday 05 September 2024
  • Thursday 05 December 2024

There are two statutory meetings of the General Council each year. Click here for more information.

All members of the General Council are welcome to attend the statutory meetings to hear about news and developments at the University.

Minutes of Meetings

2023

2022

2021

2020

Please contact alumni@abdn.ac.uk for further information.

 

2019

Please contact alumni@abdn.ac.uk for further information.

 

2018

Please contact alumni@abdn.ac.uk for further information.

 

 

Members

If you want to have a more active role in the General Council, you can stand for election to the Business Committee. Please use our get in touch form to find out more.

Elected & Co-opted Members

Current Term of Office Ends

End of Three Terms of Office

Duncan Macniven (Convener)

Jenny Mordue (Vice-Convener)

John Campbell

Colin Duncan

Hugh Galbraith

Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle

Jan McRobbie

Dan Montgomery

Dorsa Naderi Mehr

Graeme Nicol

Ogutu Okudo

Arnab Paul

Stefan Pelev

Patricia Pugh

Mel Roberts

Heliang Shi

Mary Stephen

Judith Taylor

John White

Haiyan Zhang

2025

2025

2024

2024

2026

2024

2026

2025

2026

2025

2026

2026

2026

2024

2025

2024

2024

2026

2026

2026

 

 

2025

2025

2030

2030

2032

2030

2026

2028

2032

2025

2032

2032

2032

2024

2031

2030

2024

2026

2032

2032

 

 

     

Ex-officio Members

Current Term of Office Ends

End of Three Terms of Office

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Clerk & Registrar to the General Council

Rector

President of AUSA

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A


Independent Members of Court

Current Term of Office Ends

End of Three Terms of Office

Robert Traynham

Otto Thoresen

Anne Minto

 

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

Member Biographies

Duncan Macniven (Convener)

Studied History at Aberdeen from 1968 to 1973. Joining the civil service, he spent 38 years in various departments including Historic Scotland and the Forestry Commission before serving as Registrar General for Scotland from 2003 to 2011. Awarded CBE in 2012. A member of the Business Committee since 2014, he is also an active member of his local church and an Assistant Scout Leader.


Jenny Mordue (Vice-Convener)

Emeritus Professor in Biological Sciences in Aberdeen with 30 years experience in higher education, research and senior management. She is an expert in arthropod physiology and behaviour in relation to crop and human protection with more than 100 peer reviewed papers and 2 patents. Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Entomological Society. Member of Review Panels for BBSRC/DEFRA, USDA, Norwegian Research Council. She set up and headed the Graduate School in the College of Life Sciences and Medicine. She is member and trustee of SCI (Society of Chemical Industry), where science meets business, awarded the Society’s Lampitt Medal and has a strong interest in encouraging the early career development of young scientists and women in SET.


John Campbell

Director, Tissues Cells and Advanced Therapeutics Advanced Therapeutics, National R& D lead in the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. Hon. Professor, Chemokine Research Group, Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow. Hon. Professor, School of Clinical Sciences, University of Edinburgh. Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. Co-Founder and Scientific Adviser. Resolution Therapeutics Ltd. Edinburgh.


Colin Duncan

Spent 30 years in senior management at Marks & Spencer. Ran his own business consultancy, spent eight years as a non-executive member of NHS Ayrshire & Arran, and in 2009 was appointed to the Accounts Commission of Scotland. He is currently a member of the Scottish Dental Practice Board and is active in arts and culture within South Ayrshire.


Hugh Galbraith

Emeritus Professor in School of Biological Sciences at Aberdeen University.  Southern Hebridean islander, educated at Oban High School, Strathclyde University (BSc (Hons) and Aberdeen University (PhD). Worked (1972-2010: teaching, research, management, administration) in Aberdeen at the North of Scotland College of Agriculture (SRUC) followed by the Department of Agriculture/School of Biological Sciences (University). Subsequent (post-2010) provision of teaching, research, consultancy and audit services by contract in College and University sectors.  Author of a range of publications and contributor to scientific symposia internationally.  Member of UK and European learned societies. Major interests in development of analytical skills, and in promotion of collaborative working.


Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle

While at University Mark was a student representative on the Course Committee and Editor of Gaudie. He has worked in education since 2003, as a schoolteacher, a college lecturer and as a lecturer in HSE. He is the programme Leader for the BA (Hons) degree in Moral and Philosophical Studies with Religious Education at the University of the Highlands and lslands. Mark also serves his local community council as Chairman.


Jan McRobbie

Aberdeenshire by birth, family and choice of location, resident of Old Aberdeen for the last three decades, her background is in Local Government Governance and Scrutiny.  Initially employed, in February 1987, by Aberdeen City District Council as an Area Housing Officer, she was inherited by Aberdeenshire Council on Local Government Reorganisation in 1996, now working mainly in Partnership Committees. Passionate about the communities and culture of North East Scotland, and an Elder at St Machar’s Cathedral.


Anne Minto (Independent Member of Court)

Anne is a lawyer by profession and a graduate of the University of Aberdeen. She is a member of the University Court and chairs the Finance and Resources Committee. She was Chair of the university Development Trust until September 2021. She has worked in senior executive global roles in Shell and Smiths Group and latterly served on the Centrica Executive Committee as the Group Human Resources Director from 2002 until 2011. She has served on the boards of Shire plc, Tate and Lyle plc and EXL Services Holdings Inc  as a non-executive director and chair of  the remuneration/compensation  committees on each of these boards. She is a former chair of both the Institute of Employment Studies and the Engineering Development Trust and served for over ten years on the National Employers Committee for the UK Reserve Forces. She is a member of the International Women’s UK Forum and mentors a number of senior women in preparation for board roles. She was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to the engineering industry.


Dan Montgomery

Graduated in Modern Languages in 1980. With a particular interest in undergraduate student recruitment and the student experience, he worked as Head of University Guidance at Robert Gordon’s College. A Company Director and Trustee of the UK Combined Cadet Force Association, he commanded RGC Combined Cadet Force for 25 years with the rank of Wing Commander.  Published Robert Gordon’s College: The Military Tradition in 2008 and is involved in ongoing work on the College Roll of Honour. A former Panel member with Children’s Hearings Scotland and is a church Elder at Rubislaw Parish Church.


Dorsa Naderi Mehr

Iranian by birth, now living and working in Aberdeen as a project engineer in the oil industry, having previously worked in petroleum engineering in Tehran. Graduated 2022 as a Master of Science in Oil and Gas Engineering, University of Aberdeen.


Graeme Nicol

Business career which includes Managing Director of Textiles Company; running company delivering Emergency Medical Services and Occupational Health Services; UK Director of Consulting and Management Services focused on technology commercialisation and business start-ups; Consultant on Research and Enterprise Services for Open University.  Past Member of ESRC Research Committee and ESRC Impact Awards Judge; past President of Gordonian Association; Ex Deacon Convener of The Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen; Chairman of Aberdeen Endowments Trust.


Ogutu Okudo

Oil and Gas Enterprise Management graduate (MSc) of 2015, an oil and energy expert working at the intersection of business and politics in the energy sector. Referred to by CNN as “the woman on a mission to disrupt the Africa energy sector,” she has played a significant role at the centre of the strategic deployment of decentralized energy technology solutions in East Africa. CEO of Guuru Energy, promoting the development and deployment of Africa's vast oil, gas and renewable energy resources. A Forbes 30 Under 30 listmaker, in the past decade Ogutu has worked as energy transition advisor to the President of Kenya, Nairobi County Chief Executive Officer (CCO) for Energy and Electricity, Executive Board Director of the National Oil Company of Kenya and a technical consultant for the World Bank and the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (Kenya).


Arnab Paul

Independent director and healthcare professional with nearly 2 decades of experience. Founder of a Homecare Company called Patient Planet. Tertiary education at at Virginia State University and American University in Washington DC (Hurst Fellowship, 2000). In 2009, granted the Saltire Scholarship to study for MBA in International Healthcare Management at University of Aberdeen. Young Entrepreneur Award and the Fastest Growing Indian Company Award in 2018. In 2019, selected to join the Global Roster of Experts in Digital Health at the World Health Organization in Geneva. In 2023, finalist for the UK Alumni Award in the Business & Innovation category.


Stefan Pelev

Native of Bulgaria now working in Luxembourg. Tertiary education at Aberdeen (MA Management Studies and International Relations 2017), Leiden (MSc Political Science 2018) and Lund (MSc Business and Economics 2022). Vice-President, Aberdeen University Students Association in 2016. Now works as Contracts Officer in Amazon’s EU Design & Construction Team.


Patricia Pugh

Previously Chief Executive of the former Grampian Careers, chaired the Adult Guidance Network for North East Scotland and project managed development of a professional post graduate qualification in Career Guidance & Development.


Mel Roberts

An Aberdonian, former pupil of Aberdeen High School for Girls and graduate of Aberdeen University with an MA Hons in English Literature and Language.   Career in Public and Government Affairs in the UK oil and gas industry, first with Texaco in Aberdeen and then in the London based UK team focusing on activities in the Aberdeen area and offshore operations.  Following the Texaco merger with Chevron, she became Public and Government Affairs Manager for Upstream Europe, with responsibility for supporting onshore and offshore activities, and involved travel within Europe and to the US, where she was assigned to Chevron’s corporate HQ to develop a Corporate Responsibility Strategy.  Mel was delighted to re-join the Business Committee in September 2022.


Mary Stephen

Member of staff in the School of Education. Supports Gaelic Medium Education and was previously Chairperson for Croileagan Obair Dheathain and Feis Obair Dheahthain. Research based teaching has focused on early year’s education, teaching on the BA Childhood Practice and MA in Education undergraduate programmes.


Heliang Shi

James Henry Scott Scholar. More than 10 years of expertise in Oil & Gas industry. Graduated from the university in 2021 with a master’s degree in science of Environmental Pollution and Remediation. Works for Air Liquide Global E&C Solution in China as Business Programme Manager. 


Judith Taylor

Born and brought up in the North East of Scotland, she graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1986 with a MA (Hons) in History and International Relations. Joining the Bank of Scotland’s graduate trainee scheme, she spent 10 years in Edinburgh (including 2 years as Executive Assistant to the Governor) before moving back to Aberdeen where she worked as a Director of Corporate Banking with Bank of Scotland, Treasurer with Aberdeen Asset Management and Director of Corporate Banking with Clydesdale Bank.  Following 30 years in financial services, she works as secretary to the boards of 6 local Camphill charities.  Her big passion is music: she plays the flute in a community orchestra. 


Otto Thoresen (Independent Member of Court)

Serving chairman of NEST, the BT Defined Benefits Pension Scheme and Aviva International Insurance. In addition, he has served on the Board of the Association of British Insurers and is the former Chief Executive of life and pensions company AEGON UK. A Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries, he has been involved during his career in advising government and regulators on consumer issues in financial services. In 2007, he led a review for HM Treasury on delivering generic financial advice which was published in 2008 with its recommendations accepted by the Government. In Scotland, he chairs the Board of the life subsidiary of Abrdn.


Robert Traynham (Independent Member of Court)

Political veteran and communications expert who, for nearly 25 years, has designed and executed impactful communications, marketing and external campaigns for elected leaders, political organizations, non-profits, and Fortune 50 companies such as Wal-Mart, Comcast and currently Facebook.  He is currently the Head of Public Affairs for Facebook in their Washington, DC offices where he oversees the external engagement relationships on behalf of the company to reporters, non-profit leaders, universities and other thought leaders across the globe


John White

Born and brought up in Edinburgh, studied History at Aberdeen from 1973 to 1977 and took the professional exams of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (now called the Chartered Governance Institute). After a number of administrative roles in and around Edinburgh he moved to one with a private family group of companies in Kirkwall, Orkney, becoming Director and Company Secretary of S & J D Robertson Group Limited, where he spent more than thirty years. Still living in Orkney and involved with a number of local organisations, including Orkney Housing Association, as well as having trained to become a tour guide.


Haiyan Zhang

Graduated from the University in 2020 with a Masters degree in International Business and Finance. She works as a Data Analyst in Shanghai, China. She loves Aberdeen and views it as her second hometown. She is obsessed with travelling, music, hiking, and fresh things.


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Elections

Members of the Business Committee are elected by the General Council and can serve three terms of three years. Elections take place on a rolling annual basis depending on vacancies.

Notice of Elections will be published on this website.