Reflections on the Rutherford Cross Next Generation CFO series

In 2023, Rutherford Cross turns 10 years old and, at the same time, so does our Next Generation CFO series which we launched in the summer of 2013!

Since the launch of Rutherford Cross, we have been committed to supporting the senior finance community in Scotland through running events that develop networks and facilitate new relationships. Next Generation CFO was our first event concept, and it has only been through the generosity of some of Scotland’s most prominent CFOs (along with the interest shown by those who aspire to be in their position one day), that has enabled it to thrive.

Attendees have predominantly been at Financial Controller or Finance Director level and have represented a broad cross-section of business sizes and sectors. The sessions have centred around how you build a career to CFO level in terms of qualifications, technical expertise, strategic insight and developing the internal/external networks who can mentor and advise in your journey. The overall aim has been to help nurture Scotland’s next finance leaders by both connecting them to their peer groups and providing access to CFOs who have previously trodden a similar path.

Up to 2019, Next Generation CFO had taken place as an in-person business breakfast; but that came to an abrupt halt, along with so much in life and business, with the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. Over the subsequent 12 months, we paused the event as it seemed inappropriate with so many people and organisations focusing their energies elsewhere.

When we re-launched the event in 2021, we did so with an emphasis on promoting Scotland’s female CFOs after noting that Deloitte’s Women in the Boardroom report put the number of female CFOs at 15.2% in the UK (see more). In addition, we started running them as virtual lunchtime sessions to make them more accessible to a wider group of people without the constraints of time or location. The result has been an excellent level of attendance, albeit without some of the extra benefits of the face-to-face networking opportunities, so we will be looking to create a mix of in-person and virtual events from next year onwards.

When looking at the list of 27 speakers over the 10 years, it represents an impressive list of the Scottish CFO community. As is the nature of being a CFO, many of the below have since moved onto new roles or organisations, or retired from corporate life altogether. In particular, it was very sad to hear of Alex Short’s passing in 2016, who had been one of our most popular speakers as he transitioned from AG Barr to Edrington.

  • Jann Brown – CFO, Cairn Energy
  • Allan Dowie – CFO, Clyde Blowers Capital
  • Alex Short – CFO, Edrington Group
  • Graham Reid – CFO, CALA Group
  • George Watt – CFO, STV plc
  • David Arden – CFO, Sainsbury’s Bank
  • David Harris – CFO, BPI plc
  • Stuart Paterson – CFO, Forth Ports
  • Alex Stewart – CFO, Clyde Blowers Capital
  • Carole Cran – CFO, Aggreko
  • Luke Savage – CFO, Standard Life
  • Lynn Brown – Director of Finance, Glasgow City Council
  • Jos van der Burg – Senior FD, Heineken UK
  • Phil McNaull – Director of Finance, University of Edinburgh
  • Stuart Lorimer – CFO, AG Barr plc
  • Stuart Roberts – Group FD, Robertson Group
  • John Watson – CCO, Edinburgh Airport
  • Allan Watson – CFO, Kyowa Kirin International
  • Heather Metcalfe – CFO, DC Thomson Trading Board
  • Stewart Macgregor – Group FD, Stewart Milne Group
  • Richard Logan – Group Finance Director, iomart Group PLC
  • Gordon Wales – CFO, Scottish Government
  • Bruce Pritchard – COO, Liminal BioSciences
  • Arlene Cairns – CFO, James Donaldson & Sons
  • Lindsay Dixon – CFO, STV plc
  • Ashleigh Greenan – CFO, Calnex Solutions
  • Alyson Donaldson – UK CFO, IVC Evidensia


As we look to 2023 and beyond, we are incredibly excited to continue the Next Generation CFO series and will be announcing our speakers for next year in due course. I passed the hosting baton onto my fellow Director, Hazel Wynn earlier this year and look forward to seeing how the series evolves for current and new audiences.

If you are interested in attending Next Generation CFO in future, or being part of our other events, please contact [email protected] to register your interest or visit our events page for more information.

Mark Lewis, Managing Director, Rutherford Cross