Public appointment: Members reappointed to the Scottish Funding Council

Public appointments news release

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The Minister for Higher and Further Education today announced the reappointment of Andrew Kerr, Professor Ewart Keep, Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, John Wallace, Lorna Jack and Peter Mathieson as Members of the Scottish Funding Council.


Andrew Kerr has chaired several high-level Boards such as the Chairs and Chief Executives of the NHS, a variety of Scottish Cabinet sub committees, he was formerly the chair of the Board of Quality Scotland and South Lanarkshire College. He has extensive knowledge of business and commerce both as a policy maker and as a practitioner and has worked in the public, private and third sectors. As chair of South Lanarkshire College, he oversaw a strategic plan which delivered a balanced budget, many prestigious third party accreditations, making SLC one of the highest performing colleges in Scotland during his time as chair. Andrew Kerr shares with the many the mission of changing lifetime opportunities for students, supporting economic growth and matching the ambitions of students to the economy and positive destinations.

Professor Ewart Keep holds the emeritus chair in Education, Training and Skills at the Department for Education, Oxford University. He has researched the links between education, skills and the labour market and the economy for more than 35 years and has extensive knowledge of the linkages between skills and productivity, economic development and skills, the impact of technological change on skill needs, the relationship between education and work and employment, the governance of the education system, and on the case for lifelong learning. He has advised the OECD, various departments of the UK government, UKCES, the governments of New Zealand and the states of Queensland and New South Wales and acted as an advisor to parliamentary committees at Westminster and Holyrood.

Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam has international experience of creative leadership having worked as Director or Design Research for multinational Phillips Electronics. She is currently Deputy Director Research and Innovation at The Glasgow School of Art and was responsible for establishing the GSA’s Highlands and Islands Campus in Moray and the GSA’s Innovation School. Irene McAra-McWilliam was awarded and OBE in recognition of her work in Higher Education, Innovation and Design.

John Wallace is a specialist in the contemporary performing arts of Dance, Drama, and Music, and was born in 1949 in Methilhill, Fife, went to Buckhaven High School, King’s College, Cambridge, and graduated into a professional music career playing the trumpet in the Philharmonia Orchestra. In 1994 he was made OBE for services to music after introducing a work-based curriculum in the Royal Academy of Music, London and, in 2002, became Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. During his time at the RSAMD, he introduced Musical Theatre, Digital Film and Television and Modern Ballet and devised a single Academic Framework for the diverse subject areas of Dance, Drama and Music, and changed the name,  creating an innovative interdisciplinary environment which drove the RCS to the top of the international HE league tables. John Wallace was awarded a CBE for services to Dance, Drama and Music in 2011, and raised £14 million from philanthropic sources to build extensive dance studios, rehearsal stages and technical and production arts facilities for costume, set and props to serve the Scottish arts and entertainments industries , a major contributor to Scotland’s economy and identity. John left the RCS in 2014 and became convenor of the Music Education Partnership Group which advocated the policy change to free instrumental tuition adopted in schools in 2021; and also chair of the Glasgow Barons, a new Orchestra based in Govan whose main purpose is social regeneration and the integration of asylum seekers into society - through participation in music. In June 2022 John was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music in an audience at Holyrood with Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Dame Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music, for putting social responsibility at the heart of his work in underprivileged areas of Fife and Glasgow and for his work towards the nurture of national cohesion in policy and practice in music education throughout Scotland.

Lorna Jack chairs the board of Opulus Financial, a private sector company with a network of businesses across Scotland offering CFO solutions including audit, accountancy and tax advice. She also chairs the board of Highlands & Islands Airport Ltd, the operator of 11 airports, which support lifeline services and delivers socio-economic benefit in that region. She is also the Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of the Netherlands covering Scotland, connecting businesses and organisations between both countries, keeping the Embassy in London updated on important Scottish developments and helping Dutch citizens in emergency situations.  Previously Lorna was Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland, the professional body for Scottish Solicitors. During her 13 years there she led the Society’s staff team in delivering a programme of transformation and modernisation. She previously served on the Court of Aberdeen University (2017-2019) and was a founding Trustee and Treasurer of McConnell International Foundation. Lorna is a Chartered Accountant, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, and a graduate of the University of Aberdeen. She brings strategic leadership, good governance and financial skills, along with a deep understanding of economic development, to the Board of the Scottish Funding Council.

Peter Mathieson was awarded a PhD by the University of Cambridge in 1992 and became Director of Studies for Clinical Medicine at Christ’s College, Cambridge following this. In 1995 Peter moved to Bristol as the foundation Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol where he was later appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry in 2008. He practised as a consultant nephrologist in the NHS in Bristol for 19 years. In April 2014, Peter assumed office as the President and Vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, a post he held until January 2018. He was knighted for services to higher education in 2023. Peter is currently the Principal of the University of Edinburgh and in 2021 he elected was to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


These reappointments will be for 3 years and will run from 4 November 2023 until 3 November 2026.

These reappointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.


These reappointments are part-time and attracts a remuneration of £355.65 for a time commitment of 36 days per year.

Other ministerial appointments

Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam is Deputy Director of The Glasgow School of Art, for which she receives remuneration of £128k per year, for a full time commitment.

Lorna Jack is Chair of the Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, for which she receives remuneration of £334.91 per day, for a time commitment of 6 days per month.

Andrew Kerr, Professor Ewart Keep, John Wallace and Peter Mathieson do not hold any other public 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.   

Andrew Kerr, Professor Ewart Keep, Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, John Wallace, Lorna Jack and Peter Mathieson have had no political activity within the last five years.


The Scottish Funding Council is the non-departmental public body responsible for Scotland's further and higher education institutions, including its 26 colleges and 19 universities. The SFC is helping make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, to research and to innovate. Investing around £1.9 billion of public money each year, SFC’s funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people.

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