Non-Executive Directors for the Scottish Government

Helen Dean, Manish Joshi and Rory Mair have been appointed as Non- Executive Directors for the Scottish Government following an open recruitment process.

Non-Executive Directors promote the highest standards of corporate governance by providing advice and support to the Permanent Secretary, Directors General and other senior leaders across the Scottish Government.

The appointees will bring a system-wide perspective to their role; supporting collaborative and innovative responses to complex issues and promoting creative thinking, new ideas and challenge within the Scottish Government.

Welcoming the appointees, Permanent Secretary JP Marks said:

“I am delighted to confirm the appointment of these Non-Executive Directors. Helen, Manish and Rory bring significant experience and diverse perspectives to our Non-Executive Director cohort.

“Good governance sits at the very heart of how we operate in delivering meaningful policies and vital public services. I look forward to working with our Non-Executive Directors as they provide strategic challenge, advice and assurance as we work to progress Scottish Ministers’ priorities and improve the lives of the people of Scotland.”


The role of the Non-Executive Directors is to provide advice, support and challenge in the following areas:

  • strategy and policy delivery process – challenging how policies are made, implemented and communicated
  • risk management – ensuring risk is managed, monitored and evaluated
  • audit – providing assurance to the accountable officer in relation to finance, risk and performance management
  • performance monitoring – evaluating and improving performance through effective use of systems, management, staff engagement, resources and policies

After studying psychology Helen Dean started her career at DWP where she developed the policy and legislation for the pension reforms that led to auto enrolment and the establishment of National Employer Savings Trust. She moved across to lead Nest, becoming its CEO between 2015 and 2024. Her focus has also been on improving financial resilience for individuals and families; she is Trustee and Board member of Step Change, the largest debt charity in the UK.

Helen was awarded a CBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list for her services to pension saving.

Manish Joshi is currently Chief Executive at Strathclyde Students’ Union, a role he will finish in the summer.  He is also Professor of Practice for Social Innovation leading the University of Strathclyde’s new social innovation cluster at the University and within the Glasgow City Innovation District (GCID). 

Manish has spent the majority of his career as a leader in the not for profit and voluntary sectors. In addition to his executive roles, Manish has been a trustee and non-executive director of a number of organisations including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and currently with the Wheatley Group (including Wheatley Solutions and Lowther Homes) where he has contributed his knowledge and experience in areas relating to equality, diversity and inclusion as well as sustainability and community engagement. 

Rory Mair was appointed as Chair of Citizens Advice Scotland in May 2017. Rory was also Chief Executive of COSLA from 2002-15, and prior to this appointment, spent five years as Director of Aviemore Projects for Highlands & Islands Enterprise. 

Following local government re-organisation in 1996, Rory spent a short time as Strategic Director for Social Strategy with Fife Council. Prior to this, Rory was appointed Chief Executive of Ross & Cromarty District Council and was, at the time, the youngest ever Chief Executive in British local government. In his early career, Rory spent 10 years in a variety of less senior local government posts. Rory is married, has a young daughter and three grown-up sons. He was awarded a CBE in 2012 for his services to local government.

Manish Joshi and Rory Mair took up their roles on 15 April 2024. Helen Dean will take up her role in the early autumn.

The new Non-Executive Directors have all been appointed for a three-year term.  They are appointed to provide approximately 40 days support annually and receive remuneration of £13,200 per annum.

The list of current Non-Executive Directors is available on our website.


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