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Sir Bill Gammell

Sir Bill is Chief Executive of Cairn Energy PLC (Cairn) and Chairman of Cairn India Limited.  Cairn is an Edinburgh-based oil and gas exploration and production company and a member of the FTSE 100.

Bill founded Cairn in 1980 and under his direction the group has grown from a market capitalisation of $10 million in 1992 to over $10 billion today. The share price has increased over 100 fold during the same period.  Cairn has grown both organically and by acquisition and Bill has wide corporate experience.  Cairn has conducted Public Company Corporate Transactions in the UK, US, Australia, Holland and India and Bill has served on the boards in all of these jurisdictions.   

Alongside his leadership at Cairn PLC Bill holds/held the following directorships: 

2008 – Director sportscotland

2007 - Member of UK Indian Business Council

2007 - Member of Government Asia Task Force

2006 - Member of British Olympic Advisory

Board2006 - Founder & Chairman, The Winning Scotland Foundation (WSF)

2003 – Director of Artemis VCT Trust

1999 – 2009 - Director of The Scottish Institute of Sport

2008 - Non Executive Director, Glasgow 2014 

Numerous awards and honours include: 

2007 - Hon Doctorate of Engineering, Heriot Watt  University

2006 - Knighthood for services to industry in Scotland                         Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame                        

IOD Scotland Director of the Year                        

Hon Doctorate of University, Stirling University

2005 - Hon Doctorate of Business Administration, Napier University

2004 - Ernst and Young UK Entrepreneur of the Year                         Business Insider Elite Leader of the Year. 

Bill is passionate about developing people and instilling a positive winning attitude in both business and sport.  This developed from his own entrepreneurial career and his experience as a Scottish rugby internationalist (1977-1980).  In 2006 he founded Winning Scotland Foundation to mobilise efforts to raise aspirations and self-belief amongst young people and their coaches in Scotland.  The mantra of the Foundation is ‘winning isn’t everything but wanting to win is’ and over £3.5 million has been invested in key programmes to date. 

Bill was educated at Fettes College and has a BA in Economics and Accounting from Stirling University. He was born on 29 December 1952. He is married with 3 sons and a stepson.  

Nelson Gray 

A Chartered Accountant with a background in the service industry's, who, following the sale of his own business, became a "hands on" Business Angel investor, mentor, non executive director and fund manager.

He has been involved in a wide range of companies, as diverse as a PCB and Biotech manufacturing, diagnostic platforms, intelligence software systems, medical devices, call centres and a kitchen designer. Presently chairman of Antoxis, a drug development company specialising antioxidants to combat oxidative stress and free radical damage in conditions such as ischaemic stroke and Parkinson's disease, and a mentor to a number of high growth companies involved in a range of sectors including recruitment, entertainment and call centres.

He acted as the fund manager for Scotland's leading angel syndicate and has invested in 21 companies personally.  Having qualified as a UK Financial Services Authority fund manager, he managed two early stage investment funds and was responsible for funding over 50 Scottish SME's.

He is presently an FSA registered fund manager with Braveheart Investment Group plc, the London AIM listed business angel group, a non executive director for the Genomia Seedcorn Investment Fund which is targeted the research outputs of a group of public animal and life sciences sector research establishments and until recently was the locum fund manager for Clyde Blowers Capital LLP.

Nelson is a non executive director of LINC Scotland, the Scottish national Business Angel network.

Nelson has developed and presents LINC's "Introduction to being a Business Angel" seminar and their "Business Angel Master Class", aimed at improving the returns achieved by of Business Angel investing and promoting best practice. He chairs LINC's Best Practice committee. On behalf of LINC he acts as a mentor to new investment groups and is frequently called on to provide training, mentoring and advice to Angel organisations in the UK and elsewhere.

In April 2008 Nelson was awarded the tile "Business Angel of the Year 2008" by The European Business Angel Network (EBAN) and in 2009 was invited to be a founding member of the US based Global Angel Roundtable, a "thought leadership group for serious angel investing".

Nelson has provided advice on the establishment and structuring of a number of innovative early stage investment funds both in Scotland and overseas, and is presently advising a number of national and local government development agencies on the effective promotion of innovation and commercialisation within universities, the establishment local investment communities and the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture.

He has talked and lectured at a wide range of events across the world, including the USA, Chile, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, Luxemburg, Bulgaria, India, Russia, Jordan, Denmark and Holland.

Nelson is a member of the University of St Andrews "Panel for Intellectual Property and Patents" a group that oversees University policy and provides advice on the handling and development of intellectual property arising from the University's research.

Education, Training & Professional Qualifications

Chartered Accountant - Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

BA. (Hons) Accountancy - University of Strathclyde, 1979

MBA - Heriot-Watt University, 1990

Diploma in Company Direction - Institute of Directors, 1990

Financial Services Authority registered Investment Manager and Adviser (registration number NXG01075).


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Venue information

Norton House Hotel Ingliston
EH28 8LX

0131 333 1275


Nelson Gray, Firth Ventures. www.nelsongray.com


  • Sir Bill Gammell, Cairn Energy, www.cairn-energy.plc.uk

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Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC160976.
Registered office: Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead Street, Hamilton, ML3 7DP. Developed by Mercurytide