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Biographies

Cynthia Guthrie 

Cynthia is joint managing director of Guthrie Group Ltd: distributors of Health & Safety and facilities supplies.  Her career has spanned financial services, NHS, defence sector and the media. Cynthia was a member of the board which set up Sky Television’s operations in Scotland, with  responsibility for HR and Facilities. During this time BSkyB grew from start up to FTSE 20 in 8 years: and from 12 to 14,500 staff within that timescale. Cynthia was promoted by Elisabeth Murdoch to the post of Group HR Director of BSkyB, and served on the Executive of British Sky Broadcasting Group, based in London. 

Cynthia is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. She is on the Board of Governors of West Lothian College, where she is a member of the Audit Committee: Chairman of WhatELSE (the Edinburgh & Lothians Safety & Environmental Group) and a member of the Scottish Chamber of Safety.

Brian Martin

Brian has a proven track record in leading the growth of shareholder value through transformation and turnaround both as an Advisor and as a CEO in the products and services sectors.  

Most recently Brian supported the Board of a €250m Finnish Machinery Company acquired by Clyde Blowers Capital, to stabilise and grow the business following bankruptcy as the CBC Board Representative. Up to the end of 2011 Brian led the PwC Corporate Consulting team in Scotland for 5 years where he was responsible for selling and leading the delivery of multi million pound transformation projects to £200m+ turnover clients.  

Between 2002 and 2004 Brian was the CEO for Shanks Plc (Scotland), a £50m loss making industrial services company employing 300 staff which provided commercial waste collection and recycling services. With full P+L accountability, Brian led a turnaround to generate a profit after 18 months, after which the business was demerged and partly sold off to the private equity company Terra Firma.  

From 1996 to 2002 he worked in Strategy Consulting with Andersen Consulting and PW in London following a 10 year structured management development career path with ICI Plc.  

Brian has a degree in Physics and Electronic Engineering from Glasgow University, an MBA and MSc in International Marketing both from Strathclyde University and is a Chartered Electrical Engineer. He lives in Glasgow, has 4 children and is a keen Sailor and Hillwalker. 

Gary McEwan

After leaving school aged 16, Gary has gone on to start a number of businesses and is by any definition, a ‘serial entrepreneur'.

Gary has invested in, operated and developed businesses as diverse as transport training, financial services software, electronic manufacturing and business consultancy in addition to managing an investment syndicate.

Gary visited Buckingham Palace in July 2005 when HM The Queen conferred ‘The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion'. A professional business adviser, Gary was described by Professor John Parker from ‘The Academy of Leadership and Management' as ‘one of the best business advisers....in the world'.

Since November 2008, Gary has been operating as chief executive of Enterprise North East Trust, based in Aberdeen. ‘Enterprise' delivers ‘Business Gateway' in Aberdeen City & Shire in addition to Tayside. Every year, Enterprise assists more than 2000 new business to start and existing businesses to grow. The organisation operates a large portfolio of 18 serviced business centres from Fraserburgh down to Perth containing over 300 businesses. In addition, Enterprise develops and funds community projects which support the development of entrepreneurship and enterprise amongst the young and the community as a whole.

Gary is very clear about his passion for business. He is deeply involved in the promotion of entrepreneurship to young people as a credible and viable career option. He regularly speaks to students of all ages, as well as young offenders and those with addiction problems. He believes in young people and supports their development as a key part of his professional life. Gary is a regular contributor to the media and is an energising and motivational public speaker.

Career highlights for Gary McEwan are as follows:

  • Recipient of ‘The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion' 2005
  • UK Entrepreneur of the Year' 1993
  • ‘Scottish Most Significant Growth' Award 1994
  • First inductee into the Livewire ‘Hall of Fame' 2006
  • Chairman, The Prince's Trust, Youth Business Scotland (Grampian)
  • Director, The Entrepreneurial Exchange
  • Hon. Vice President Young Enterprise Scotland
  • Regular lecturer (Entrepreneurship), University West of Scotland
  • Honorary Fellow, University of Dundee

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Venue information

Howard Hotel, Edinburgh 34 Great King Street
Edinburgh
EH3 6QH

0131 557 3500

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Chairman

Gary McEwan, Enterprise North East Trust. www.enetrust.com

Speakers

  • Cynthia Guthrie, The Guthrie Group, www.guthriegroup.co.uk
  • Brian Martin, Caltona
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