For over 20 years there has been a Finance Directors Group in Scotland. It began as group of CFOs from Scotland’s top plcs who met to share ideas, learnings and challenges to support and better each other as they developed in their careers. It became a great networking opportunity for all involved and over time it grew as the Scottish business landscape evolved with CFOs from many more prominent private, family and investor backed businesses taking part.  Some of our leading CFOs both joined and indeed chaired the group over the years and until 2020 it had remained extremely active with over 200 members in the network managed each year by one voluntary Chair.

Now reformed as the Scottish Finance Leaders Network to ensure inclusivity and development of the network as both experienced and emerging CFOs come together the group has over 250 members and in 2024 will be co-chaired by Graeme Menzies and Nicola McIntosh, alongside a newly formed committee and committed sponsors EY and FWB.

Last week we co-hosted the launch event and brought together over forty senior finance professionals and CFOs at EYs offices in Glasgow. The event featured insights from two of Scotland’s most successful CFOs in recent years, Alastair Irvine formerly of Howden Group and Gregor Goodwin formerly of MB Aerospace, who shared their experiences in navigating two hugely successful exits and the challenges and successes encountered along the way.

About our speakers

Alastair Irvine

Having progressed from Project Accountant to Group CFO of Howden Alastair eventually led a dual track exit process culminating in the $4.4billion sale from US PE firm KPS to Chart Industries in the US. In this time Alastair oversaw significant growth and diversification of the business on its international expansion and value creation from private equity carve out to eventual trade-sale exit.

Gregor Goodwin

Having joined MB Aerospace following its spin out of Motherwell Bridge a few years earlier, Gregor was part of the Management Team that led the internationalisation and value creation of MB before its 11.4x EBITDA valuation / sale to Barnes Aerospace for $740 million. Gregor was instrumental to both the organic and acquisitive growth strategy and the growth through three private equity cycles.

The discussion

Key messages from the event emphasised the importance of building high-performance cultures, hiring and empowering great team members (with particular note to our colleagues in FP&A and the value they can add!), fostering strong internal and external networks, and effective cultivation and management of the relationships with private equity and banking partners (current and future). Gregor and Alastair highlighted the significance of staying focused during challenging times, maintaining resilience, and fostering true partnerships with their visionary CEOs.

The event covered various topics crucial to any finance directors’ growth journeys and careers, including:

Overall Growth Journey

  • Setting and communicating strategy
  • Building and recruiting the right team
  • Balancing organic growth with acquisitions
  • International expansion strategies and execution


  • Creating a high-performance team culture
  • Recruitment strategies and pitfalls (hire slow and fire fast!)
  • Incentivisation methods and maintaining motivation during transitions and times of significant challenge
  • Navigating demands while ensuring alignment across parties (from investors / owners, to the team and even personal aspirations and goals)

Value Creation and Exit Process

  • Whether an exit is sought on not, the importance of a clear value creation strategy and knowing ‘what game you are playing and how you plan to win’
  • Identifying value creation or exit targets early and planning multiple scenarios and routes along the way
  • Balancing deal execution with business performance
  • Managing stakeholder emotions and expectations
  • Managing leverage and cash strategies

The able and humbly shared stories and anecdotes provided valuable insights and advice to the network and our guests on their career journeys and we are very grateful to have had not only our two exceptional speakers to kick this years series off, but a room of experienced and engaged finance leaders looking to get the most out of the network and these opportunities.

The next Scottish Finance Leaders Network event

The next event will be the 17th June in Edinburgh and should you wish to join the network, find out more about this and the events, or share ideas for future events and topics you would like to see the group cover, please email or join the LinkedIn group at