Media release: Four non-exec directors appointed at Edinburgh Marketing


MARKETING Edinburgh, the official city agency responsible for promoting Edinburgh to the world, has today announced an impressive quartet of new non-executive board members, tasked with shaping the future direction and global positioning of Scotland’s capital city.

On the back of a record-breaking year for Marketing Edinburgh, the four non-executive board members come from a range of marketing, finance and corporate backgrounds and have had careers spanning organisations as diverse as Cadbury’s, Unilever, Standard Life, Wood Mackenzie and RBS.

Building on the success of Marketing Edinburgh’s existing board and with their full backing, the full restructure is set to create a leaner, more agile team, armed with the right skill-set to take Edinburgh forward and respond to key outcomes from the 2050 City Vision.

All leaders from their respective fields, the high-profile appointments include award-winning marketer Claire Harrison-Church, who brings 30 years of experience working with likes of Unilever, Sainsbury’s and most recently ASDA. Her award-winning campaign for Boots, ‘Here Come the Girls’, being one of the most iconic campaigns in the company’s history.

New Zealander, Paul Rowllings, based in Edinburgh for the last 20 years, has built a hugely successful career in global marketing and revenue growth, working with international gas and oil consultancy, Wood Mackenzie and Aegon insurance.

With a proven track record in company expansion and building global brand reputations, most recently his focus has been on business development and investment in a number of promising Scottish start-ups.

Having started her career in marketing at Cadbury and Kraft Foods, Sandra Blake moved to Edinburgh 12 years ago, to take on a range of marketing and strategy roles at The Royal Bank of Scotland, before moving into a second HR career, as Head of Leadership and Talent at RBS.

Sandra moved to Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) in January 2015 as head of Talent and Development, allowing her to further develop her passion for connecting people with business results.

Stephen Ingledew brings decades of experience in transformational leadership and marketing from the world of finance. Working with AMP, Barclays Wealth and most recently nine years with Standard Life since 2007, where he was managing director, Customers and Marketing.

Having built a reputation for implementing successful customer initiatives, Stephen embraces creative thinking and new technology capabilities to push the boundaries in disruptive innovation.

Finally, the fifth non-executive, Dr Gordon Rintoul CBE, director, National Museum of Scotland, who sat on the original Marketing Edinburgh board, will also continue his role to aid the transition of the new team, bringing continuity.

With over 30 years of experience from the museum sector from across the UK, he has overseen significant developments and award-winning projects, including the transformation of the National Museum of Scotland. Dr Rintoul also sits on a number of governing bodies, including working with the Scottish government to produce the new Tourism Strategy for Scotland.

The non-executives will join three City of Edinburgh Councillors, Lord Provost Frank Ross, Jo Mowat and Gordon Munro, alongside an observer on the board.

Marketing Edinburgh’s chief executive, John Donnelly, and chair, Gordon Robertson, director of Communications at Edinburgh Airport, will also continue their roles.

Over 40 candidates applied for the four non-remunerated, non-executive posts, which aimed to attract applicants with proven commercial acumen, alongside an enthusiasm and passion to get involved with the promotion of the city.

The new board members will be actively supporting Marketing Edinburgh in its partner collaboration, with the first task to create a three to five-year strategic plan that will echo the timing of the City Vision.

2016/17 was Marketing Edinburgh’s most successful year on record, with the organisation achieving or exceeding the majority of its strategic KPIs across its marketing campaigns, membership targets, corporate partnerships and increased economic impact of business tourism and film to the city.

Generating revenue growth to a record level of £1.98M, Marketing Edinburgh delivered an ROI of 103:1, across all its activities on behalf of the city.

Gordon Robertson, chair, Marketing Edinburgh, said: “It’s rare for an organisation to be recruiting four non-executive appointments simultaneously and I would like to thank Scott Black and the team at FWB Park Brown for their hard work in finding our talented new board appointees.

“Ensuring we secured the right blend of personalities as well as complementary skill-sets was a huge priority and critical to Marketing Edinburgh’s ongoing success as it moves to the next level.

“The high standard of quality candidates that applied for the non-executive positions is a testament to the work of John Donnelly and the Marketing Edinburgh team over the last few years to transform the organisation into a credible marketing agency that has delivered record breaking results for the city.”

Speaking about her appointment, Claire Harrison-Church said: “Edinburgh is the perfect place to live – where else can you be minutes away from brilliant shops and restaurants, or rolling hills and beaches.

“It’s easy to be complacent, Edinburgh attracts four million annual visitors, it’s the city that sells itself. This simply isn’t true. As a marketer, I’ve driven growth in business as diverse as shampoo, fried chicken and grocery retail.

“What’s key is understanding your customers and then being focused on what’s most important, not trying to do everything. I look forward to the challenge of bringing that experience and passion to promoting Edinburgh as one of the best places in the world to live, work, study and visit.”

Paul Rowllings said: “It’s been 20 years since I arrived in Edinburgh and instantly fell in love with this amazing city.

“I feel fortunate to have built a successful career and happy life here. Edinburgh has presented me with so many opportunities, and I am looking forward to giving something back. I hope my international marketing experience and commercial mindset will help Marketing Edinburgh continue to build on this city’s outstanding global reputation.”

Sandra Blake said: “Edinburgh competes on a global stage; I feel it needs ambition and a city brand to match.

“A potential challenge is complacency, thinking Edinburgh can market itself to the world and the opportunity cost of not investing in the long-term success of the city.

“Collaboration between the public and private sectors, learning from outside the UK and securing funding to do Edinburgh justice, versus other big city brands, will be key.

“The 2050 City Vision initiative is a unique opportunity for everyone to have their say and for us to create a strong and sustainable city brand.  I am delighted to be able to give something back to a city I love.”

Stephen Ingledew said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the fabulous work of Marketing Edinburgh. I hope my marketing and innovation background can further help position Edinburgh as one of the greatest cities in Europe, if not the world, to visit with its amazing heritage, embracing diversity as well as vibrant community and economy.”

Dr Gordon Rintoul said: “Over the past four years, Marketing Edinburgh has moved from strength to strength, delivering a very good ROI for the city on a modest investment.

“The hard work and support of the existing board has been crucial in that success and I am very pleased to be continuing my role to support Marketing Edinburgh as it evolves to the next level as a destination marketing and management organisation.”

A new Marketing Edinburgh advisory committee of around 20 stakeholders and influencers from Edinburgh’s business, tourism and education sectors will be appointed in September. The committee will offer continuous and constructive advice and insight, providing an open dialogue between Marketing Edinburgh and the city.

Following the recent local elections, the three City of Edinburgh Councillor board representatives will also be announced shortly.


For further information, please contact Ali Liddy of Wire at / 07342 882 380

Notes to editors:

2016/17 was Marketing Edinburgh most successful year on record across all key elements of the organisation.  Working in conjunction with their partners, over the last 12 months Convention Edinburgh has secured conferences worth c.£85M plus for the city. Alongside membership revenue growth, the Conference Accommodation Booking service, also reported a strong year, delivering room sales for local accommodation providers, 12 per cent up on target to £1.3M. While filming in the city generated almost £8M in economic impact.

As the City of Edinburgh Council funding has dropped from £1.3M in 2011 to £890K last year, Marketing Edinburgh has stepped up to secure new investment from membership and partners,  increasing the ratio of private investment of overall revenue from 37 per cent to 53 per cent, generating a record high of £1.1M in private investment for 2016/2017.

The ongoing success of our Corporate Partnership Programme has played a pivotal role in aiding this transition. Set up three years ago from a starting point of zero, last year alone it generated £500K private investment in marketing campaigns for Edinburgh.


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