Strathclyde appoints Chief Commercial Officer

Adrian Gillespie

The University of Strathclyde has appointed business leader Adrian Gillespie to its senior management team.

Adrian has been appointed to the post of Chief Commercial Officer, in which he will provide commercial and business development leadership, as well as strengthening our leadership in major strategic national and international projects.

He has more than 16 years’ experience of business and commercial management with Scottish Enterprise (SE), where he is currently Managing Director Operations.

Adrian is returning to Strathclyde after gaining an MBA from the University in 2005. He will take up his post in January 2018.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University, said: “Adrian is highly experienced in business development, and brings with him a significant track-record of success. I am delighted to welcome him to Strathclyde’s management team.

“As a leading international technological University, we are extremely proud of our network of partners across business and industry. Our approach to collaboration is accelerating the development of new technologies, helping companies compete internationally, informing public policy and supporting the economy.

“Adrian will play an important role in helping us to drive this work forward. As an MBA alumnus and long-term partner of the University, we look forward to welcoming him back to the University.”


Strathclyde’s sector-leading approach to innovation has put it at the forefront of Scotland’s first innovation district, a dynamic hub for networks of companies, organisations and academia to inform, exchange and generate new ideas. At the heart of the district are Tontine House and Scottish Enterprise’s Inovo building, alongside the University’s £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre, which has become a beacon for innovation, attracting global businesses and SMEs to the city.

Mr Gillespie said:  “I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the team at Strathclyde. The University has gained an enviable, leading reputation for strong and impactive industrial relationships and I'm very much looking forward to further strengthening these, as well as developing many new, exciting partnerships and projects."

Adrian has a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from the University of Glasgow. He joined Marks & Spencer in 1990 as a Graduate Management Trainee and rose to senior commercial and financial management posts before commencing his 16-year spell with Scottish Enterprise in 2001.

His early roles in Scottish Enterprise were in the areas of e-Business support and the account management of key companies in the Glasgow area. He then went on to lead major projects in the area of university and business interaction, including the Edinburgh Stanford Link and the industrial opportunities arising from university research pooling, such as the formation of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA).

He was then promoted to Senior Director, firstly in Digital Media & Enabling Technologies and then Energy & Low Carbon Technologies, during which time he worked with Sir Jim to secure the establishment of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Glasgow. He also led Scottish Enterprise /Scottish Development International’s inward investment activities in energy and attracted projects from across the world.

For the past four years, as Managing Director Operations, he has led Scottish Enterprise’s business development strategy and support through account management of high growth companies, entrepreneurship development and high growth start-up support, R&D and innovation support, and Scottish Enterprise’s Business Infrastructure division. During this period, Scottish Enterprise has supported thousands of companies to innovate for the first time, and has quadrupled its support for business research and development.

In collaboration with Strathclyde, Adrian has been a member of the advisory board of the University’s Institute of Photonics, was instrumental in developing relationships with the US through SU2P, a Strathclyde-led photonics partnership between institutions in Scotland and California, and currently sits on the strategic group leading the development of the Innovation District.

Adrian is a trustee of Glasgow Science Centre and a board member of the private sector led economic development body Opportunity North East Ltd (ONE) chaired by Sir Ian Wood.