Lord Laidlaw is a committed philanthropist, serial entrepreneur, and accomplished sportsman.
A graduate of Leeds University and Columbia Business School, Lord Laidlaw founded the Institute for International Research Ltd (IIR) which became the world’s largest conference and training company. He sold it in 2005 for $1.4bn to Informa Plc. He has since gone on to build a large property company and invest extensively in sustainable energy, including the Veja Mate Offshore Wind Farm where he was the majority owner. His most recent project is building a renewable power resource in Rwanda.
Lord Laidlaw was one of the very earliest business leaders to see diversity in his management team as an important strength. His leadership team had a majority of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Lord Laidlaw believes passionately that performance should be rewarded and was a pioneer in sharing profits with his employees.
A committed internationalist, he considers it vital for the next generation of leaders to have and understand global connections. His generous philanthropy, funding academies and scholarships, centres on two core beliefs; firstly that inspirational education can break the cycle of poverty, and secondly the need for a new generation of diverse, passionate and adaptive leaders with a world view. The Women in Business movement that Lord Laidlaw funds, both helps to build a more diverse future leadership and pays tribute to the many women who helped make IIR so successful.