SNH Board appointments

Five new female members.

Five new appointments to the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Board have been announced by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

Dr Kate Broughton, Cath Denholm, Dr Jackie Hyland, Aoife Martin, and Susan Murray have been appointed as members of the SNH Board for three years.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“I very much welcome these five new members to the SNH Board and I am sure that SNH will benefit hugely from their wide range of experience and expertise. These appointments mean that, for the first time, there are now more women than men serving on the SNH Board.

“This Government is committed to making meaningful and lasting progress towards true gender equality – towards shattering the glass ceiling for good – and it is vital we have strong and visible female leadership in our public bodies, including in those dealing with Scotland’s natural heritage. I wish all the appointees well in their new posts.”

Ian Ross, the chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), said:

“We are delighted to unveil our new-look Board which includes five new female members. They have been appointed purely on merit and bring significant experience in a wide range of areas including the important business, health, and third sectors. I believe the diversity we have within the SNH Board provides greater authority and knowledge to our debates and decisions and brings us closer to the voice and views of the people of Scotland.

“To have increased our complement of women from one to six out of a total of 10 now on the Board is a progressive step, and this achievement helps us in meeting the Scottish Government’s 50:50 by 2020 initiative.”

Sue Walker, SNH’s deputy chair, said:

“Our new board members will significantly contribute to our work: a process that has begun with our commitment to encouraging greater diversity and inclusion. We’re delighted to have worked with Scottish peer network Changing the Chemistry in creating this diversity, and we very much welcome their advice.”


Dr Kate Broughton has 30 years of research and energy business experience, initially as a geologist; she was awarded a PhD in geology by Sheffield University in 1991, and later working in the private sector for Wood Mackenzie. She was closely involved with the growth of the company and brings strategy development and governance experience to SNH. Dr Broughton had budget responsibility for global research and operations teams whilst working as UK Oil and Gas Analyst and has a strong track record of process improvement, product development and change management. She has a particular interest in efficient digital delivery and data management.

Cath Denholm has worked for over 20 years in NHS management and strategic roles in primary care, GP appraisal and public health. She joined NHS Health Scotland in 2005 and is currently Executive Director of Strategy with a range of responsibilities including: corporate strategy and performance; communications and public affairs; HR/OD and business excellence; and national leadership for human rights in health and social care. She is a member of the Institute of Directors and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and she has also been a Board member for Voluntary Action Scotland since 2015. Her overarching professional interests are strategy, change management and partnership working across sectors in order to achieve fair access for all and good value for public money.

Dr Jackie Hyland qualified in Medicine at Edinburgh University and holds a position as a consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Tayside. Dr Hyland has a strong track record in Environmental Protection and Promotion of Biodiversity within the Health Sector, providing health advice to partner agencies and communities. She tutors at Dundee University and has published on Environmental Health Management and Engagement with Stakeholders. As a member of the Scottish Managed Sustainable Health Network, she has been involved in reviewing the evidence for improving health through sustainable development. She is currently preparing a thesis at St Andrews University focussing on air quality and health, and the socioeconomic benefits of active travel.

Aoife Martin is currently Registrar of Scotland for Companies House where she is responsible for delivering the Companies House service across Scotland and Northern Ireland. She holds a BA (Hons) degree in History and Geography from Trinity College, Dublin, and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. She is an experienced resource management professional who has recently returned to Scotland after spending 12 years working for the New Zealand Government in fisheries, forestry and land management. During her career, she has worked across both the public and private sector in the UK and New Zealand, including with the economics unit at Seafish, and most recently as the Director Spatial, Forestry and Land Management with the Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand.

Susan Murray has twenty years’ experience working in the public, private and charity sectors. She is currently Director of Agent M Ltd, supporting organisations interested in social change, and is a Trustee of the ICAS Foundation. She studied at the University of Edinburgh, Goldsmiths College, University of London, Aberdeen Business School and is a Clore Social Leadership Fellow. She has volunteered with several organisations including over eight years for the National Trust Scotland on conservation projects.

The appointments are for three years from 1 April 2016 and end on 31 March 2019. The appointments are part-time and attract a remuneration of £291.37 per day for a time commitment of 30 days per year.

The appointments are regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

Ministerial Appointments

In her capacity as Director of Strategy for NHS Health Scotland, Ms Denholm has been appointed by Ministers as an Executive Member of its Board. She receives no additional remuneration for this appointment. Dr Hyland is a Member of the Board of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and receives £276.30 per day for a time commitment of two days per month.

Dr Broughton, Ms Martin and Mrs Murray do not hold any other Ministerial appointments.

Political Activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

None of the appointees have had any political activity in the last five years.

Scottish Natural Heritage

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is a non-departmental public body (NDPB). The organisation is funded by the Government and Board Members are appointed by Scottish Ministers. SNH is the Government's advisor on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. SNH's role is to help secure the sustainable management of Scotland’s natural heritage for the benefit of all.

Notes to editors

Photos of the new SNH Board members are available from SNH Communications.

Changing the Chemistry (CtC) is a Scottish-based voluntary peer support network that seeks to improve board effectiveness and quality through diversity of thought. Evidence shows that increasing board diversity improves the performance of organisations and can benefit the wider economy. For more info, see


Media enquiries

Back to top