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Chair of the Board of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell, has welcomed the announcement of four new board members.

​Professor David Hillier, Dr Mark Dames, Mr Paul Taylor and Dr Poonam Malik have been appointed as permanent members of the board.

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney, announced the appointments today (7 February).

“I’m delighted to welcome David, Poonam, Mark and Paul to the board. They each bring a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience which will complement the skills of the existing board members as we continue to drive forward the work to support the people and businesses of Scotland."

SDS Chair, Frank Mitchell

Each new board member brings some of the required priority skills to their new appointment:

  • Knowledge and understanding of how the skills system can support industry and employers, inclusive growth and broader economic development
  • Knowledge and understanding of the skills necessary to deliver Digital Development and Business Transformation Experience
  • Knowledge and understanding of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) industry experience (in particular Life Sciences)

Professor David Hillier is Associate Principal at the University of Strathclyde and Executive Dean of Strathclyde Business School.  David sits on the CBI Scotland Regional Council, MCR Pathways National Advisory Board, and is a Trustee of Mainstay Trust.  He has won several industry awards, including the Institute of Directors Scotland Public Sector Director of the Year. David is the author of several University textbooks and is a visiting Professor at Politecnico Di Milano, Italy. He is a passionate advocate of using technology to enhance learning and brings over 25 years of international experience in education and industry to the Board of Skills Development Scotland.

Dr Poonam Malik is an academic entrepreneurial research management leader with extensive experience of working in innovation, enterprise, healthcare industry and academic business sectors globally.  As Board Member of Scottish Enterprise, Dr Malik is focussed on stimulating business and university links and nurturing innovation and digital technology development in the Scottish economy.  With a STEM background, Dr Malik bring interest in skills and economic development and growth of life sciences, health and digital sector skills development across public, private, education, leadership in social enterprise sectors.  Dr Malik is also an active member of Investing Women Angels Scotland, Scotland’s only Women Angel Investor Community, supporting women entrepreneurs and company founders with investment mentoring, advice and training.  Dr Malik holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and a MBA in Strategy and Leadership.

Dr Mark Dames is Head of Policy and Public Affairs for BT Group in Scotland, leading on policy for BT’s nations and regions and is a member of the BT Scotland Board. With responsibility for the creation and execution of BT’s regional policy, he helps to deliver BT’s strategic objectives within the UK nations and regions.  This includes developing policy positions on issues that have an impact on the company’s business activities such as the role of digital technologies in driving up Scotland’s productivity performance.  He started his career with BT at the company’s research and development laboratories at Martlesham Heath, Ipswich.  Working in the Optical Physics Division, he was part of a world-class team carrying out research into novel optical switching technologies and architectures for application in future-generation telecommunications networks.  He also spent a period of his career with Accenture, working on the development of the world’s first interactive digital television and advanced data services platform.  A Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist, Dr Dames is a member of the CBI Scotland Council.

Paul Taylor is currently Managing Director of British Telecom’s Retail Banking business unit, responsible for the technology provision and digital transformation for the largest global banks. Paul was previously responsible for BT’s Public Sector business, and prior to that was Global CIO. He brings significant business transformation and digital enablement expertise to SDS and a knowledge of the skills, training and personal development needed to successfully complete in today’s global markets. Paul is a graduate of Glasgow University, Strathclyde Graduate Business School and Oxford University, and is an advocate of continuous education and development to ensure individuals have the skills and capabilities to thrive in today’s fast changing work environment.

Further information

Non-executive board members are appointed by Scottish Ministers for a period of four years. They are not appointed as representatives of individual organisations but bring experience and knowledge gained in their own careers having been drawn from a range of backgrounds in the private and public sectors.


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