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Visit Scotland | Alba

Meet our Board

VisitScotland is a Scottish Government non-departmental public body. Its purpose is to promote the interests of the tourism industry across Scotland.

The Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade makes appointments to our Board. This currently has eight members including our Chair, Stephen Leckie.

The Board gathers around six to eight times a year. Members are responsible for approving the direction set out by our Management Team. They also provide general oversight of our practices to ensure proper management of the organisation.

We review our Board members' registers of interests each year and update them as required.

Barbara Smith

Barbara Smith is one of Scotland’s most experienced leaders in the tourism and hospitality sector. She has spent over 35 years working in areas of sport, leisure, tourism, culture and heritage.

She has held senior leadership and Board positions in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including for:

  • Meadowbank stadium
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Chester Zoo
  • The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

Most recently, she was managing director at Johnnie Walker Princes Street. She also had a portfolio of distillery visitor experiences across Scotland. Barbara is a member of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group as well.

Barbara Smith, Board member

Professor Cara Aitchison

Professor Cara Aitchison has 35 years’ experience in higher education. She was President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University from October 2016 until January 2024.

She was previously:

  • Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Plymouth Marjon University
  • Head of Moray House School of Education
  • Chair in Social and Environmental Justice at Edinburgh University
  • Dean of the Faculty of Education, Sport and Tourism at the University of Bedfordshire

Her tourism research has focused on:

  • the development and impact of tourism in sustaining rural and remote economies
  • widening access to tourism
  • the role of tourism in international diplomacy

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and a Council Member of the All Party Parliamentary (Universities) Group.

Professor Cara Aitchison, Board member

Caroline Roxburgh

Caroline is a chartered accountant and Chair of our audit and risk committee.

She was an audit partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) LLP. Her non-executive director positions include Edinburgh International Festival, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a UK listed Investment Trust.

Caroline has over 30 years’ business experience advising boards in a range of industry sectors. She also has experience as a non-executive director and as a committee chair. 

Her experience covers small businesses to large listed companies in Scotland and globally, including:

  • hotel
  • leisure
  • retail
  • technology and business services organisations
Headshot of Caroline Roxburgh

Dr Keith Nicholson

Dr Nicholson is a former internationally-acclaimed professor with appointments worldwide. These include those within a UN-funded Institute in New Zealand.

He is an award-winning company director and a leading expert in Scotland on cyber security.

Dr Nicholson is also a former member of the Scottish Government’s National Cyber Resilience Leaders Board.

He is widely viewed as a public sector security specialist.

Dr Nicholson is the founder of Cyber Security Scotland and works as an independent consultant.

Headshot of Keith Nicholson

Lindsey Paterson

Lindsey Paterson is a qualified chartered accountant and was a partner at PwC until her retirement in June 2022.

Most of her career has been spent providing risk and assurance services to public sector bodies across Scotland and the wider UK.

In addition to her client-facing roles, she also led PwC’s place and purpose agenda in Scotland.

In doing so, she had a key responsibility in relation to:

  • inclusion
  • communities
  • wellbeing

She joined the Board of Glasgow Clyde College in February 2021.

Lindsey Paterson, Board member

Paul Easto

Paul Easto founded Wilderness Scotland, which provides active and nature-based travel experiences for visitors from around the world.

He has more than 20 years of professional experience in tourism, having held board positions with the Adventure Travel Trade Association and the Cairngorms National Park. He also chaired the Sustainable Tourism Partnership for the latter.

Paul also chaired the Scottish Destination Management Association and the Outdoor Tourism Leadership Group.

A graduate of Dundee and Edinburgh Universities, Paul holds an MBA with specialisms in leadership and sustainable business. He is currently the chief sustainability officer with the Active Travel Group.

Headshot of board member Paul Easto

Shona Marsh

Shona began her tourism career on a tourist office welcome desk and has since held various roles. These have included:

  • sustainable tourism
  • destination management organisation (DMO) marketing and membership development
  • tourism consultancy
  • commercial development for small and medium enterprises in the industry

She was the first employee of the startup, Accomable. Acquired by Airbnb, this is a global vacation rental platform for people with disabilities. At Airbnb, she managed the integration of Accomable. She then moved to manage commercial growth of Airbnb Experiences across Northern Europe.

Passionate about accessibility in travel and tourism, she is a board member of the charity Disability Snowsport UK.

She runs education and accelerator programmes for tech startups in Scotland and across the UK.

Shona Marsh Board member

Steven Walker

Steven Walker is the executive chair at Blazing Griffin, a Scottish digital entertainment company.

He is also chair of the joint industry panel managing the Scottish Thistle Awards, and a former MD of Scotsman Publications, News International Scotland, and The Scottish Children’s Lottery.

Most recently, he was the director of corporate development at STV Group Plc.

He brings significant leadership skills and valuable e-commerce, digital media, marketing and brand development expertise.

Headshot of Steven Walker

Board member code of conduct

Our Board members have a responsibility to the Scottish public to meet expectations on how they conduct themselves while carrying out their duties for VisitScotland. All Board members work to the high standards of conduct as outlined in The Ethical Standards in Public Life (Scotland) Act 2000.

Board member code of conduct

Published May 2018

Read more about the general principles that guide our Board's standard of conduct.

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