Highland’s Chairman is Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay. After graduating from Leeds University and Columbia Business School, he founded the Institute for International Research Ltd (IIR), which became the world’s largest conference and training company. In 2005, he sold IIR for $1.4bn to Informa Plc. More recently Lord Laidlaw has invested in property development and renewable energy. He is committed to supporting the development of renewable energy sources. As well as investing in SPLK, he has funded the Veja Mate Offshore Wind Farm in the German North Sea.
Lord Laidlaw has been an active philanthropist for decades. He is the Chair of the Laidlaw Foundation, which invests in the education of the underprivileged and underrepresented in order to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality and develop a new generation of leaders. The Laidlaw Undergraduate Research and Leadership programme operates in 12 universities around the globe, providing scholarships to develop the next generation of leaders. The Laidlaw Schools Trust is a growing multi-academy trust based in North East England, educating nursery school children all the way through to A-level students. As an avid believer in diversity, Lord Laidlaw also funds MBA scholarships at Columbia Business School and London Business School with the aim of propelling women in business and achieving gender parity in the workplace.