Top 50 Scottish Women 2007

By The Drum, Administrator

October 4, 2007 | 5 min read

The leading ladies

Perhaps unsurprisingly, topping the list is the Deputy First Minister, the formidable Nicola Sturgeon MSP, who has slipped smoothly into her new role as Health Minister with a surprising deftness. She has largely avoided making any unpopular PR gaffes, and will be overseeing some of the most important social marketing messages to come through the Executive in her health remit.

Linda Fabiani occupies the fifth spot. The current Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture wields extensive influence not only within but also furth of Scotland, a fact recognised by those who voted in the poll.

No doubt of great delight to Jeremy Clarkson, but disappointing to the environmental lobby is that the majority of our successful women are zipping around in top of the line German sports cars and convertibles. An Audi, Mercedes or a BMW seem to be the vehicles of choice among a high proportion of high fliers – or should that be rollers – closely followed by smart Mini convertibles or Mazda MX-5s.

Among the perks of success in the sector, indulging one’s petrol head seems to be high on the list. Whilst one of our respondents owned up to running the more ecologically practical Toyota Corolla Verso, the odd Alfa Romeo Spyder and Vintage Merc also popped up. However, the top drive among women in these sectors is an Audi, frequently black, and often a convertible. However, shame on one of our top fifty, who only bought her Jaguar because she “just liked the colour,”.

A full list was compiled through nominations gathered through The Drum and its website With a huge list of nominations, an expert panel was compiled to select the final fifty.

The panel consisted of Gordon Young, publisher of The Drum, Jacqueline Doherty, MD of 2Fluid, Janet Lee Adam, Eastern Digital Director, Ian Wright, MD of Family, Liz O’ Connor of Open Scotland, Mark Gorman, Chairman of SMA, and Graeme Atha, partner at Frame and director of the Marketing Society.

The judges sent hours debating the list, ranking the nominees on influence, achievements and profile.

The final fifty were then again polled and ranked by the readership of The Drum, as almost 2000 individual responses were gathered, to compile the final ranking order.

A high proportion of the Top 50 Women are drawn from larger client companies. Caroline Packman, Denise Hill and Helen Campbell, all of VisitScotland, feature in the top 10, demonstrating how influential the large buyers of marketing services are in the eyes of their peers.

Kirsty Hunter of Tennent’s lager also features amongst a top echelon crowded with public figures from the new minority SNP administration. In fact, only five creative or marketing companies appear in the Top 20, proving that buying power is the predominant factor tipping the balance of power.

The right of centre business press are the popular journals of choice, with a surprisingly high proportion of women also listing the Daily Record as one of their must reads. Principally, the Times, the Sunday Times and the Scotsman were the favourite newspapers of our ladies, and their regular required read. Of the Scottish Sundays, the Sunday Herald seems to be more popular, with its popularity not noticeably tied to the eastern or western location of our winners. Even the News of the World is the regular read of one of our top 50 ladies, but we are not saying which one. Other titles such as the Costa Blanca News, the Saddleback Times, and the Paisley Daily Express were notable, but slightly less ubiquitous.

The late Dame Anita Roddick figured prominently as a business role model. Her pioneering influence as an icebreaker in business when it was still largely a man’s world, cannot be underestimated. The philanthropic spirit and genial nature of Sir Tom Hunter warmed the hearts of a great number of our poll toppers too.

The fashion for closing deals in restaurants seems to have waned over time, or perhaps that remains the preserve of the men in the media, marketing and PR universe. Either way, the majority of our Top 50 claimed never to do business over lunch or dinner, although that did not stop them offering up their tips for the top gastronomic retreat.

The Fourth Floor restaurant at Harvey Nicholls is evidently where a lot of power lunches are taken, together with Oloroso – still popular after all these years – and Rogano in Glasgow, the perennial favourite. Only Heather Luscombe of Bigmouthmedia reported scoring her biggest deal on the Edinburgh-Glasgow train en route to catch the George Michael show, providing evidence that the much maligned service can have its uses.

Click here to view the Top 50 Women


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