Robert Gillespie, non-executive director of RBS Group plc

Durham University Business School has further strengthened its Professors in Practice initiative by appointing Robert Gillespie to its academic staff.

Currently a non-executive director of RBS Group plc, Robert has enjoyed a prestigious career in investment banking internationally and played a key role in the largest corporate merger in history – Vodaphone / Mannesmann (2000). Robert has over 30 years’ experience in the finance and banking sector which has included the roles of CEO at UBS Investment Banking, Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at SBC Warburg and Director General of The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers. Until recently, Robert was also a non-executive director at Ashurst LLP.

Robert is an alumnus of the University having graduated with a degree in economics in 1977 and in 2019 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law in recognition of his ongoing support and contribution to the University and the School.

Professors in Practice has been designed to recognise the expertise and experiences of senior business professionals across a wide variety of disciplines and sectors, by enabling such individuals to share their skills directly with students, bringing public distinction and practical insights to the classroom. 

As part of his role as a Professor in Practice, the School hope to benefit from Robert’s extensive practitioner experience in corporate finance as well as drawing on his personal experience of mergers and acquisitions to inform our research and to support our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of finance. Robert’s wider experience in corporate governance through his board experience will undoubtedly benefit the School’s MBA and DBA programmes and other areas of the Business School.

The appointment of Robert Gillespie as Professor in Practice builds on his existing role of University Council member (since 2007) and as Chairman of Council between 2012 and 2019. Robert was confirmed in his three-year tenure beginning 1st January 2020.

Professor Susan Hart, Executive Dean of Durham University Business School added,

“I am delighted that Robert is continuing his strong associations with the University through his appointment as a Professor in Practice. Robert’s international experience of financial activities in the USA, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Africa will enable him to provide relevant insights to the School’s internationally diverse student body and as our own research into banking and finance is strengthening, he will play a strong role in connecting our work to practice. I am very much looking forward to welcoming him to the School.”


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