IoD chair and broadcaster among latest RSE fellows

New fellows: Patrick Macdonald and Sally Magnusson

Business leaders, entrepreneurs and academics are among 57 new fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy.

Patrick Macdonald, who chairs the Institute of Directors Scotland, is joined on this year’s list by BAFTA and Emmy-winning satirist Armando Iannucci, the journalist and charity founder Sally Magnusson and the businesswoman Ana Stewart. Also on the list are data specialist Gillian Docherty and the university spin-out champion Prof Bill Buchanan.

The society now has about 1,800 fellows in its ranks, from the sciences, literature, arts, law and business.

Mr Macdonald, a member of the IoD since 2001, became chairman in March 2021. He has held executive and non-executive roles across a range of international businesses ​​from startups to large enterprises in both public and private sectors over the last four decades.

He began his professional career as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence before joining Unilever and going on to work for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in Germany and the UK, before joining General Electric (GE) in the USA.

Mr Macdonald became CEO of John Menzies and has experience working in private equity-backed businesses including Reconomy, the waste management company.

He said: “It is an honour to be receiving this Fellowship from the RSE. I look forward to actively contributing to the RSE’s important and influential work across Scotland and the UK.”

Catherine McWilliam, nation director at IoD Scotland, said: “This is wonderful news, and we would like to extend our congratulations to Patrick from the IoD Scotland team. His extensive industry knowledge and leadership skills have been an integral part of IoD’s continuous growth and success in Scotland during his three years as chair and many years before that as a member.”

Ana Stewart
Ana Stewart: helping women (pic: Terry Murden)

Mr Iannucci has been elected as an honorary fellow for his satirical work, writing, directing and producing.

He said: “I am thrilled to be elected to the fellowship of the RSE. This is confirmation from the champions of the highest standards of academic and cultural excellence in Scotland that writing jokes is an honourable pursuit.

“This recognition will spur me on to make more people laugh louder, longer and harder than ever before, and will remind me at all times that it’s as equally important to make people think as well as laugh. I promise to do my best.”

Sally Magnusson was elected for her charity work, including her dementia charity Playlist for Life, which promotes the benefits of music.

Ana Stewart, a technology entrepreneur, board member of the Scottish Football Association and founder of Pathways Forward – an initiative that helps women forge their way in business – said: “Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of our economy and we all have a part to play in shaping our society into one that welcomes all of our entrepreneurs through every stage of their journey, regardless of gender or background.”

Gillian Docherty has worked to champion innovation, digital skills and community engagement with technology. She is the chief commercial officer of the University of Strathclyde, the chair of CodeBase and is the president of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Professor Bill Buchanan of Edinburgh Napier University is a cyber security expert and computer scientist. He has been involved in at least four university spin-out companies: Zonefox, Cyacomb, Symphonic and Memcrypt.

Mike Welch, founder of online tyre company Blackcircles and now president and chief executive of Treadsy, said: “Becoming a fellow is an incredible honour, and means I am following in the footsteps of two iconic figures to me.”

The complete list of new Fellows 2024:


  • Armando Iannucci
    Writer and political satirist
  • Professor David Croisdale-Appleby
    Chair, Healthwatch England


  • Professor Alan Reid
    Professor of Mathematics, Rice University
  • Professor Ann Rigney
    Professor in Comparative Literature, Utrecht University
  • Professor De-Zhu Li
    Professor of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences Kunming Institute of Botany
  • Professor Donald Dingwell
    Director, Department for Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • Professor John Cioffi
    Professor Emeritus of Engineering, Standford University
  • Professor Miguel Ferrer Baena
    Research Professor, Department of Ethology and Biodiversity Conservation, Spanish National Research Council


  • Dr Sally Magnusson
    Founder, Playlist for Life / Broadcaster and journalist
  • Dr Michael Welch
    President and CEO of Tirebuyer.com / Founder and Chairman of The Welch Trust 
  • Michael P Clancy OBE WS
    Director of Law Reform, Law Society of Scotland
  • Patrick Macdonald
    Chair, Institute of Directors
  • Ana Stewart
    Chair, Pathway Forward
  • Gillian Docherty OBE
    Chief Commercial Officer, University of Strathclyde
  • Laura Dunlop
    President, Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland
  • Leonie Bell
    Director, V&A Dundee
  • Chris Stark
    Chief Executive, Climate Change Committee
  • Professor Ailsa Hall
    Former Director, Sea Mammal Research Unit
  • Professor Apala Majumdar
    Professor of Applied Mathematics, University of Strathclyde
  • Professor David Dockrell
    Chair of Infection Medicine / Director of the Centre for Inflammation Research, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Donna Heddle
    Director, Institute for Northern Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Professor Elham Kashefi
    Personal Chair in Quantum Computing, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Emma Sutton
    Professor of English, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Emma Thomson
    Professor in Infectious Diseases (Virology), University of Glasgow
  • Professor Fiona Leverick
    Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Gabriela Medero
    Associate Principal for Business and Enterprise / Professor in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Heriot Watt University
  • Professor George Batty
    Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London
  • Professor Hamish Simpson
    Professor of Orthopaedics and Trauma, and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor J Ross Fitzgerald
    Personal Chair of Molecular Bacteriology, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Jason Gill
    Professor of Cardiometabolic Health, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Jason König
    Professor of Classics, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Jonathan Fraser
    Director of Research, Mathematics, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Judith Phillips
    Deputy Principal (Research), University of Stirling
  • Professor Keith Mathieson
    Professor of Neurophotonics, University of Strathclyde
  • Professor Kirsteen McCue
    Professor of Scottish Literature and Song Culture, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Kirsty Gunn
    Professor of Creative Writing, University of Dundee
  • Professor Lindsay Beevers
    Chair of Environmental Engineering and Head of Research Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Lorna Marson
    Professor of Transplant Surgery at the Transplant Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
  • Professor Malcolm Macleod
    Professor of Neurology and Translational Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Marc Dweck
    Professor of Clinical Cardiology, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Marc Vendrell
    Chair of Translational Chemistry and Biomedical Imaging, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Neil Carragher
    Professor of Drug Discovery, Institute of Genetics & Cancer, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Nicole Busby
    Professor of Human Rights, Equality and Justice, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Patrick Meir
    Personal Chair in Ecosystem Science, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Paul Foster
    Professor in New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Paul Mealor
    Chair in Composition, University of Aberdeen
  • Professor Peter Hopkins
    Professor of Social Geography, Newcastle University
  • Professor Ross Forgan
    Professor of Supramolecular and Materials Chemistry, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Sarah Coulthurst
    Professor of Microbial Interactions, University of Dundee
  • Professor Sayantan Ghosal
    Adam Smith Chair in Political Economy, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Sinéad Collins
    Professor of Microbial Evolution, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Sonja Franke-Arnold
    Professor in Atom and Quantum Optics, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Stephen Brusatte
    Professor of Palaeontology and Evolution, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Tom Guzik
    Regius Chair of Physiology and Cardiovascular Pathobiology, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Vernon Gayle
    Professor of Sociology and Social Statistics, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Victoria Martin
    Professor of Collider Physics, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor William Buchanan
    Professor of Applied Cryptography, Edinburgh Napier University

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