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Meet the Leaders

Find out which financial services leaders you could spend the day shadowing. Each of these leaders bring a different background and skillset. They have their own story to tell about how and why they entered the financial services industry.

Sarah Barry

Chief Transformation Officer

Sarah was appointed to the Aegon Executive in October 2021 as Chief Transformation Officer and is responsible for strategic enterprise transformation and change delivery across the business. Sarah joined Aegon in June 2020 as Programme Director and has led on the RTS Bottom Up Planning initiatives and the Aegon Digital Experience (ADX) Programme, AUK’s largest and most strategic and complex programme of work. Sarah has substantial experience in leading and overseeing complex enterprise IT, change and transformation delivery in Financial Services. Prior to joining Aegon, she held roles at Sainsbury’s Bank as Head of Change Delivery and Head of Agile Ways of Working. She also founded and sold several of her own businesses between 2004 and 2014, before moving back into corporate. Learn more about Aegon here.
Sarah Barry
Judith Cruickshank

Managing Director
Commercial Mid-Market Banking, Scotland

Judith has worked with NatWest for 15 years in a variety of roles, focused on delivering customer solutions for both Retail and Commercial customers.

Judith is particularly passionate about helping customers prepare for the future through building financial capability and transitioning to a lower carbon world. Prior to joining NatWest Judith worked in oil & gas for Shell International and for Marakon Strategy Consultants, with experience in both Asia and Europe.

Outside of the bank, Judith is also a Director of Scottish EDGE, Board member of Scottish Financial Enterprise, Board Chair for Business in the Community Scotland and Finance Committee member of Heriot Watt University.

Learn more about the NatWest Group here.
Judith Cruickshank
Simon Dewar

Regional Director

Simon is the head of office for Edinburgh. He has managed investments for private individuals, trusts and pension funds for over 20 years and is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments. 

Leaving university in Bristol with the dot-com bubble approaching bursting point, Simon worked for 3 years in the financial PR sector in the City of London, before embarking on his wealth management career with Albert E. Sharp in 2001. After completing his training, he moved back north of the border to work at Brewin Dolphin in Edinburgh, before joining Rathbones in October 2006. He took over the management of the Rathbones Edinburgh office in 2018. 

Simon loves the outdoors and particularly enjoys playing tennis, golf and open-water swimming. However, his 4 young children largely prevent him from doing any of these!

Learn more about Rathbones here

Simon Dewar
Adam Drummond

Regional Director

Adam manages investment portfolios for clients ranging from individuals and families to trusts, pension funds and charitable organizations. He also manages the Glasgow office which includes planning for recruitment and strategy for growth.

Adam graduated from the University of St Andrews with an honors degree in Business Management. He then studied for a postgraduate qualification in Investment & Finance at the University of Strathclyde before joining Speirs & Jeffrey in 2010. At Speirs and Jeffrey Adam became Director and a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. Speirs & Jeffrey was fully integrated with Rathbones in July 2019.

Adam was named in the 2021 PAM Insight UK Top 40 Under 40, which looks at the rising stars across the Wealth Management and Private Banking Industries.

In his spare time, Adam is a keen tennis player, and loves watching pretty much any sport.

Learn more about Rathbones here

Julie Scott
Chief Commercial Officer

Julie has over 25 years’ experience in banking, insurance and wealth management and, prior to joining Royal London in 2021, she was CEO of 1825 Financial Planning & Advice.

Julie has worked across multiple brands and geographic territories with a focus on improving customer outcomes and experience. She has held senior positions for RBS, NatWest, Citizens Bank and Standard Life Aberdeen.

Learn more about Royal London here

Julie Scott
Paul Denton

Chief Executive Officer

Paul has more than 35 years’ experience in financial services and is Vice President and Vice-Chair of the Chartered Banker Institute.

Paul began his career with the Royal Bank of Scotland holding various senior positions before moving to the Co-operative Bank as Director for Branch, Mortgages and Business Banking. Before joining the Society in June 2019, he was Managing Director, Operations, of the UK’s largest funeral business, Co-op Funeralcare.

Paul is also a director of Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and is a member of the FCA Small Business Practitioner Panel.

Learn more about Scottish Building Society here.
Paul Denton
Sandy Begbie

Chief Executive Officer

Sandy Begbie CBE was appointed Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise in October 2020. Prior to joining SFE, Sandy led the development of the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee following an 18-month contract at Tesco Bank as the Chief Transformation Officer.

Sandy was responsible for the Global People, Organisation and Culture Integration following the successful merger of Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management. Before the merger Sandy was the Chief People Officer and Lead Executive for China and Hong Kong for Standard Life for eight years. During this time, he led the Standard Life HR team to be recognised as one of the top performing functions in the UK and also led the turn-around of Standard Life’s Chinese Joint Venture. Sandy was appointed Senior Advisor to the Standard Life Asia Board in July 2020, having been Chair of the Hong Kong-based Board since 2014.

Before joining Standard Life plc in May 2010, Sandy held similar Transformation and Group HR Director positions within Aegon, Scottish Power and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Sandy holds several non-executive positions including Chair of Career Ready, Non-Executive Director of Place 2 Be and Chair of the Centre for Moving Images.

Sandy was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in August 2018 for services to business and social inclusion, and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2023.

Learn more about SFE here.
Sandy Begbie
Stephen McGee

Chief Executive Officer

Stephen has been CEO of Scottish Friendly since April 2022 having previously held senior finance and actuarial roles at Aegon, Lloyds Banking Group and Phoenix Group.

Stephen graduated from the University of Glasgow with an honors degree in Mathematics and is a qualified actuary by profession. Stephen has spent his whole career working in the UK Life Insurance sector and focuses on driving customer and colleague advocacy as he believes this fuels long term sustainable business.

Stephen is a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion and equality – believing that there should be no barriers to individuals achieving their potential and supports a number of charities who operate in this space. 

Outside of work Stephen spends most of his time with his wife and son and helps run a children’s football club including coaching twenty 5 year olds.

Learn more about Scottish Friendly here

Stephen McGee
Graeme Bold

Workplace Pensions Director

Graeme has over 25 years’ experience in financial services and was appointed Workplace Pensions Director at Scottish Widows in September 2019. He is responsible for leading the workplace business, developing strategy, distribution and propositions to market as well delivering digital solutions to customers. Graeme is a member of the Scottish Widows Independent Governance Committee, a member of the Master Trust Strategist Committee and works closely with the Master Trust Board.

Prior to Scottish Widows, he was Operations Director at M&G Prudential leading strategy, development and the global services business in Mumbai. He was at Standard Life for 20 years and held a range of roles including Strategy Director, Operations Director and Proposition Director covering retail platforms and workplace pensions through RDR, Auto-enrolment and Pension Freedoms.

Graeme is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and also holds positions as Board trustee and chair of the Finance committee at Sight Scotland.

Learn more about Lloyds Banking Group here.
Graeme Bold
Debbie Walker

Chief Risk Officer

Debbie joined Tesco Bank in August 2017 and performed the role of Head of Risk Operations and then Compliance and Conduct Risk Director. She was appointed to the role of Interim Chief Risk Officer in June 2021 before being appointed as the Chief Risk Officer in January 2022.

Prior to joining Tesco Bank, Debbie worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, across a wide variety of commercial and risk management roles in both Corporate and Retail Banking.

Debbie is a Chartered Banker, has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a BA Honours degree in Economics from Heriot Watt University.

Debbie joined the Tesco Bank Board in January 2022.

Learn more about Tesco Bank here.

Debbie 1000 x 1000

Participating leaders​

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