Business Committee

Business Committee

The Business Committee consists of 21 elected graduates, four Independent Members of Court and four Ex-officio members. The Committee has a duty of dialogue with the University Court on all matters relating to the well-being of the University, and meets four times a year.

Schedule of Meetings and Previous Minutes

The dates of 2023 Business Committee meetings are as follows:

  • Thursday 02 March 2023
  • Thursday 01 June 2023
  • Thursday 07 September 2023
  • Thursday 02 November 2023

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

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

 

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

Eric Crockart

Colin Duncan

Lisa Henderson

Mark Lindley-Highfield of Ballumbie Castle

Euan Mackenzie

Jan McRobbie

Dan Montgomery

Graeme Nicol

Patricia Pugh

Heliang Shi

Susan Strachan

Mark Strange

Mary Stephen

Judith Taylor

Yafan Zhang

Mel Roberts

2023

2025

2024

2023

2024

2023

2024

2023

2023

2025

2025

2024

2024

2023

2024

2024

2023

2024

2025

 

 

 

2023

2025

2030

2026

2030

2029

2030

2023

2026

2028

2025

2024

2030

2029

2027

2024

2023

2030

2031

 

 

 

     

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

Iain Percival

Robert Traynham

Otto Thoresen

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.


Eric Crockart

An Aberdonian, a former pupil of Aberdeen Grammar School, and an English Honours graduate of Aberdeen University. He worked as a news reporter for more than 33 years, mostly for the BBC. In 2008 he became a freelance media consultant. He is the chair of the Steering Group of Capturing the Energy, a project to preserve the history of Britain's offshore oil and gas industry. Eric is a long-standing member of both the Musicians' Union and the National Union of Journalists, and a published song-writer. He is also a former script editor of Student Show.


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.


Lisa Henderson

An Aberdonian and an Aberdeen Law graduate (1987-1991). She called to the Scottish bar in 1995 was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2016. She called to the bar in England and Wales in 2019 and is a door tenant at 42 Bedford Row, London. She is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.


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.


Euan Mackenzie

Born and brought up in the North East of Scotland, he graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 1990 with an LLB(Hons) degree. Since then he has worked as a lawyer in Edinburgh, initially as a solicitor and, since 1999, as an Advocate at the Scottish Bar, undertaking a variety of court work. He was appointed as a Standing Junior to the Scottish Government and has worked as Counsel to the Inquiry in two major public inquiries. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 2016. He is passionate about education and in giving something back to the University.


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.


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.


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.


Iain Percival (Independent Member of Court)

Graduated BSc (Hons) in Geology. He joined Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum in 1973 as a production geologist and spent over 30 years working for the company in locations across the world, ending his career as the global Chief Petroleum Engineer. During this time he also graduated from Heriot Watt with a Masters in Engineering and from Brunel University with a MBA. He played a key role in creating a campus ambassador programme between the University and Shell, and in establishing a new petroleum engineering undergraduate degree. He was named an honorary professor in 2012 in recognition of his ongoing activities in support of the Schools of Engineering and Geoscience.


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.


Susan Strachan

After graduating from Aberdeen and Napier Universities Susan went on to pursue a career in marketing and economic development in the public and private sectors within a range of organisations: Aberdeen Journals, Robert Gordon University, Grampian Enterprise and consultancy companies in the oil service sector. She also established her own translation company specialising in business-to-business translation.  Originally from Aberdeen, Susan still lives in the city. 


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. 


Mark Strange

Brought up and educated in Aberdeen, he read Divinity at Aberdeen University before completing his studies at Lincoln Theological College. Served his Title at St Barnabas Church in Worcester before becoming Vicar of St Wulstan’s, Worcester, returning to Scotland to serve as Rector of Elgin, Lossiemouth, Aberlour and Dufftown as well as Synod Clerk of Moray. He was elected Bishop of the diocese in 2007 and was elected Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church in 2017.


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. 


Yafan Zhang

From Tianjin, China, she graduated from the School of Law in 2017. Currently, she works as a lawyer in Shanghai, China, and she focuses on the business and commercial litigation and arbitration area. She was a Student Ambassador in 2017 and, although she has graduated now, she is keen to introduce and recommend the University of Aberdeen to Chinese students. She loves Aberdeen and regards Aberdeen as her second hometown overseas.


Otto Thoresen

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 

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.

 

 

Elections

Appointment of Members of the Business Committee of the General Council

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.