The John Smith Centre Board oversees the conduct, leadership and management of the Centre and includes members of the Smith family, University of Glasgow alumni, public service practitioners and academic staff.
The Board sets the priorities; benchmarks best practice; and reviews performance to enable the Centre to achieve its aim to promote trust in politics and public service and to empower and attract more people to contribute to public life.
The Centre operates under the University of Glasgow’s charitable status. A record for the John Smith Centre’s Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) is available to access via the Scottish charity regulator’s website. The SCIO exists as legal entity in order to contract with the University of Glasgow to produce a Memorandum of Association which details our governance arrangements. The SCIO files zero sum accounts as the funds we raise and spend are held by the University of Glasgow.
Our current Board members are:
Ruth Davidson is a former leader of the Scottish Conservatives and a former MSP for Edinburgh Central. Before politics, Ruth worked in journalism for over a decade, first in newspapers, before moving to radio and television. The majority of her time was spent at the BBC working in news and current affairs as a presenter, reporter and documentary maker. Ruth became the youngest party leader in the UK when elected head of the Scottish Conservatives in 2011 at the age of 32. She went on to lead the party through seven national elections and two referendums in just under eight years. During that period, she led the party to its greatest result in Scotland at a general election for nearly 40 years and its best ever result at Holyrood. Ruth is engaged to her partner, Jen, and they live in Edinburgh with their son, Finn, and cocker spaniel, Wilson.
Resham Kotecha is a strategy and policy specialist and is currently the Head of Policy & Government Affairs, EMEA at Wise. As a former strategy consultant, Resham worked with senior leadership teams at blue chip tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. She has also been active in politics for the last decade. She stood as a candidate in the 2015 general election, where she was the Conservative Party’s youngest BME candidate, and also fought the 2017 election. Resham currently serves as the Head of Engagement for Women2Win – an organisation founded by the former Prime Minister, working to get more women elected to Parliament. Resham has written for publications and think tanks such as The Times, the Centre for Policy Studies and Huffington Post and regularly speaks at policy conferences. She is the founder of the Conservative Policy Network, designed to increase accessibility to policy-makers, and is a Trustee of the Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Cambridge University and has been recognised as as a ‘Global Shaper’ by the World Economic Forum for political work in trying to achieve a more representative Parliament.
Founding Partner of Charlotte Street Partners, the strategic communications firm based in London and Edinburgh. Andrew began his career in the civil service in the Government Economic Service. He then worked as researcher and economist for the SNP and as a business economist at Royal Bank of Scotland. He was elected as a member of the first Scottish Parliament in 1999. There, he served as Shadow Minister for, variously: Finance, Economy, Transport and Lifelong Learning. In 2003, Andrew re-joined RBS working in a number of roles including as Deputy Chief Economist. During the banking crisis, he served as Head of Group Communications and was intimately involved in the bank’s high-profile engagement with the City, UK Government and media during those tumultuous times. In 2012, prior to the launch of Charlotte Street Partners, Andrew joined global marcomms group WPP Group in a client strategy role working with agencies and group across the full range of services including media and advertising. Andrew is a Board Member and Trustee of the John Smith Centre for Public Service, the Edinburgh International Culture Summit and of Sistema Scotland which is a social transformation charity. In March 2020 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In September 2016 he was appointed to chair the Sustainable Growth Commission, which reported to the First Minister in May 2018. He was also a member of the Independent Commission on Referendums based at UCL’s Constitution Unit, which reported in July 2018. He writes and broadcasts regularly.