Influential Scottish business body hails milestone with all-woman senior leadership team

One of Scotland’s most influential business bodies is to have an all-woman senior leadership team for the first time.

CBI Scotland said its vice chair, Jennifer Young, who is managing partner of legal firm Ledingham Chalmers, will become chairperson in the new year. She will take over the role from Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, who has been CBI Scotland’s chair since January 2021.

Young will work closely with CBI Scotland director Tracy Black to represent the interests of thousands of members. The Aberdeen-based lawyer has been accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a construction law specialist for some 20 years. At Ledingham Chalmers, she oversees all aspects of the firm including leading and implementing strategy, internal and external communications, governance, client management and team management.

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Young said: “We are operating in particularly challenging times. That said, there remains ample potential to deliver a prosperous economic future for Scotland with the support of CBI Scotland in its role as a leading advocate for our talented and driven business community. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Keith Anderson for his support and leadership and relish the opportunity this role presents to lead an organisation crucial for delivering jobs, investment and economic growth, nationwide.”

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Black said she believed that Young would make a “lasting contribution” to the CBI’s work north of the Border. She said: “The professional services sector, which includes the legal profession, accountancy, architecture practices and other specialists, accounts for a large proportion of businesses in Scotland, making a significant contribution to the economy. Jennifer brings wide experience of this sector as the managing partner of a growing legal firm. Her experiences working and living in the North-east, a region that will be an important part of Scotland’s economic recovery, will also be invaluable for CBI Scotland members.”

Black added: “I thank Keith for his work as chair as the business community emerged from the pandemic. Keith’s experiences as ScottishPower chief executive have been invaluable as Scotland and the rest of the UK look to renewables to help achieve their net-zero ambitions.”

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Young’s appointment was formally announced at the CBI Aberdeen business dinner. Guests heard a keynote speech by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney. The event sponsor was Shell UK, which was represented by Simon Roddy, senior vice president upstream. Young will take up the role on January 1.

Ledingham Chalmers recently extended its presence in Inverness after agreeing a “milestone” takeover. The deal for Anderson Shaw & Gilbert (ASG) forms part of Ledingham’s nationwide growth plans and creates a business with annual revenues of about £14 million and a headcount of 196 including 29 partners. Young described the deal as an important milestone in the firm’s strategy to double its revenue to £25m by 2025.

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Tracy Black and Jennifer Young at the CBI Scotland Aberdeen business dinner.

Last month, Ledingham Chalmers revealed that it had set aside £200,000 to support staff tackle the rising cost of living as it posted record revenues. The firm’s financial results for 2021/22 revealed its highest turnover - £12.8m - since becoming a limited liability partnership (LLP) in 2006.

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