David Nish

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David Nish [1]


Joined the Standard Life Board in 2005 as a non-executive director. He is Group Finance Director of Standard Life plc and was formerly Executive Director, Infrastructure of Scottish Power plc, and prior to that he was Group Finance Director, a position that he held since 1999, and was appointed Deputy Finance Director of ScottishPower in 1997. He chairs the audit committee. [2]

Prior to joining Scottish Power, David was a partner at Price Waterhouse with responsibility for three specific areas: a portfolio of substantial audit assignments, principal partner leading a Transaction Support Group and staff partner for the Scottish audit practice. David also has experience of working in North America, spending two years in the Toronto office of Price Waterhouse.

Educated at Paisley Grammar School, David graduated in 1981 from Glasgow University with a Bachelor of Accountancy, and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

In April of 2001, Mr. Nish was also appointed to the Board of Thus plc (Scottish Power's telecommunications company, originally known as ScottishTelecom) along with Charles Berry as Chairman. [3]

Restructuring the company

In September of 2005, Ian Russell (Scottish Power's former Chief Executive) was faced with a growing threat from the stock market as the company's shares had recently soared causing rumours of its German rival, and owner of Powergen, E.ON wanting to buy the company. After meeing with the chairman, Charles Miller Smith, and the finance director, Simon Lowth, it was decided that a major restructuring had to take place - one that involved getting rid of two of his top executives - David Nish and Charles Berry. Along with these sackings, the human resources director, Mike Pittman, and the communications chief, Dominic Fry were dismissed as well. Mr. Russell's explanation referred back to late May when Scottish Power announced the £5.1 billion sale of its giant US business PacifiCorp to the world-famous entrepreneur Warren Buffet. PacifiCorp was responsible for two-thirds of Scottish Power's valuation, which meant that the company would become much smaller when the deal went through. The idea of the restructuring was to slim down the group - stripping out the four directors in the process - preparing it for life as a smaller, independent, predominantly UK-based utility. However, Mr. Russell did not mention that the group's smaller size was what had attracted E.ON's attention or that the downsizing was threatening the independence of one of Scotland's biggest companies. To this day, Mr. Russell has yet to publicly link the two events - despite the asking of questions in parliament. Neither did he bring up the £9 million in shares, pension payments and other incentives he could make from a deal. Later that same day, E.ON confirmed that it was considering its options regarding a possible takeover of Scottish Power.

Since David Nish was most likely to succeed Ian's position, the group's head of infrastructure, finance director and Mr. Russell's right-hand man was most surprised with his dismissal. [4]

Compay Payoff

David left Scottish Power in September of 2006, pocketing a total of £2.2m in extra compensation and extra pension sums. [5]


  1. ^ Photograph from Northern Foods [6], The Board, David Nish, accessed 21 February 2007.
  2. ^ Board History from Northern Foods [7], The Board, David Nish, accessed 21 February 2007.
  3. ^ Board History from Thus "Thus plc Board Changes" Press Release, accessed 19 April 2007.
  4. ^ Company restructuring from The Scotsman "Battle to keep ScottishPower in Scotland" Top Stories, accessed 19 April 2007.
  5. ^ Fat Cat payoff information from ThisIsMoney article "Sacked power chiefs get 'obscene' pay-off", accessed 18 June 2006.