Woman's woman who wins out in a man's world

IT'S a matter of sex. Male business executives are rarely, if ever, described in terms of their looks. If the head of this particular HBOS programme were a man, he would probably be described as "smart, politically savvy, stubborn and bright".

Instead the head of the bank's effort to promote women in business is usually characterised as "blonde, bubbly, blue-eyed and attractive".

The description is not inaccurate. Clare Logie is all of these things. But there is a lot more to her than hair colour and personality.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Logie, who flies to Washington today to deliver a keynote International Women's Day speech on Monday, is a business executive with a mission.

Her aim is simple, though in the staid male-dominated world of business, radical: to support and encourage women to start or grow a business and to showcase their contribution to all aspects of the UK economy.

According to the Economist magazine "women are now the most powerful engine of global growth... forget China, India and the internet".

As chair of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, run in conjunction with the World Bank Group in Washington DC, Logie wants to be at the forefront of the women-led change.

Single-handedly, she has led a transformation of women's interests in banking and strikes fear into the hearts of boring banking men.

And won many friends and admirers – in the professional sense – along the way.

Brian Johnston, who employed Logie while head of corporate banking for HBOS, said she is "highly respected externally and within HBOS".

Described by some colleagues as "hyper" and sometimes "scatty", Johnston says her determination is such she will not let obstacles get in her way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He says: "She is very focused and knowledgeable and a great networker. It is an important job; demographics suggest women will be the next business leaders and source of employment.

"Never mind the multi-million pound deals playing a part in the success of Clare's HBOS Women team, Clare taking it on to the global stage is probably the thing I was most proud of in my HBOS career."

Logie, 37, grew up on the Wirral in Cheshire, arriving in Scotland age 18 to attend St Andrews University.

After graduation, she joined the Bank of Scotland, staying for nine years.

After a move to drinks giant Allied Domecq as global internal communications manager, Logie decided she wanted to do something different, so she set up her own small jewellery business for three years.

She returned to what had become HBOS in 2003 to head up the Women in Business Unit.

Professor Sara Carter, of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, says Logie has an intellectual approach, tempered by a concern for practicalities.

She says: "As chair of the Global Banking Alliance, she operates at an international level, and understands equally the issues facing women in developing economies and the potential in advanced economies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"She has worked hard to change attitudes and opinions about women entrepreneurs.

"It is largely thanks to Clare and her team that women entrepreneurs in the UK are recognised and better supported by the banking industry than ever before."

Asked what she is most proud of, Logie herself does not hesitate to answer: "Growing the HBOS Women concept from a small area that no-one knew much about to a fairly high- profile initiative that has won three national awards, become the European Bank of best practice for financial services support for women and helped contribute to Corporate's 'Look at things differently' mission by doing just that. Also becoming the chair of the Global Banking Alliance for Women, which is run from the World Bank Group's IFC, is pretty satisfying."

Known as more of a "culture vulture" than a "gym bunny," she is proud that she hasn't seen the inside of a gym for ten years.

A girl's girl, Logie is at home with the press pack and at the same time confident with business leaders, male or female.

She admits working in a man's world is not always easy. She says: " Women can be their own worst enemies by holding themselves back. But it's not easy if, like me, you are five feet two inches and you enter a room looking up at a group of men talking about golf or rugby or whatever and you just don't know what to say or even how to introduce yourself."

Pauline McCart, managing director of Forth Independent Newspapers, says that Logie wins business simply because she is accessible and helpful.

She says meeting Logie has provided her with networking opportunities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McCart adds: "Clare is one of the best in the business and her enthusiasm and positivity is infectious, I certainly feel my sense of purpose and resolve has been strengthened since I made contact with her and the HBOS women in business team.

"She exudes a 'can do' mentality that is both stimulating and motivational."

Innovation when dealing with women-led start-ups is urgently required as only 3 per cent of venture capital goes to businesses owned by women.

It has been suggested that confidence in business projections and the thought of exits may be one reason why venture capital is not a popular choice for women.

Logie says it is a known problem that women are less likely to use bank finance and rely proportionately more on personal savings and household income which impacts on the size and growth prospects of their businesses.

Gita Patel, the co-founder of Stargate Capital Management and a director of Trapezia, Europe's first venture capital fund that exclusively target's women-focused businesses, says the HBOS women's team have gained considerable expertise under Logie's leadership.

She says: "Clare has this amazing ability to identify business opportunities in the financial services sector and use the market intelligence available from the women's networks to target initiatives and at the same time she is also streetwise in acknowledging that she needs to bring other people on board with the requisite expertise and consult with others to gain their buy -in or bounce ideas of. She is excellent at getting the right people around the table."

The rise of Logie has not been missed by HBOS chief executive of corporate banking Peter Cummings. He says: "The Women in Business Programme is an important feature of our business and Clare has developed this theme and the thinking around our future in this space."


Born – Wirral, Cheshire (1970 if you have to know!)

Family Single

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Education Wirral Grammar School for Girls, St Andrews and Liverpool universities

Career Joined Bank of Scotland's graduate training programme in 1991, working in marketing, HR, strategy, communications and executive support. Two years at Allied Domecq as global internal communications manager. Three years running a small business. Four years back at HBOS as director, HBOS Women

Qualifications Degree in English language & literature, diploma in marketing, Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland

Hobbies Music, cinema, photography, reading – arty stuff. Wine, food, shopping, travel and conversation

Working to raise profile of women in business

IT IS international women's day today, with events being held around the world encouraging women to celebrate their achievements.

In business, however, real celebrations are a long way off.

A recent study by the universities of Stirling and Strathclyde found that women-owned or led businesses contribute 60billion to the UK economy.

Women also represent 27 per cent of Britain's self -employed.

But they are still less likely to create a new business.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last year, the HBOS women team, led by director Clare Logie, launched the 4.5 million Trapezia fund in partnership with Stargate Capital Management. Its aim, to invest in businesses controlled by, or benefiting, women.

The first fund raised 4.5m, but now a second version hopes to raise 50m for early-stage companies with women centrally involved.

HBOS's research shows women do not want positive discrimination, nor do they want products or services that are any different to those offered to men.

Logie says working with women entrepreneurs can be very delicate.

She adds: "If you get it wrong, you patronise women. They do not want to feel mollycoddled, but they do want access and respect."

HBOS has also set up the Women's Entrepreneurship Forum to help develop female-driven businesses.

Last year, the CBI said if enterprise levels in the UK for women matched those of men, there would be 1.7 million more self-employed women.