People

Fiona Cruickshank OBE

Chair

“From pharmacist to philanthropist”

Fiona Cruickshank OBE is a renowned North East business owner with a 25-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. As a former North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, she received an OBE in June 2010 for her services to business in our region.

Fiona’s career began as a pharmacist and in 1999 she founded The Specials Laboratory based in Prudhoe. In less than ten years was sold to United Drug Plc for £20.1 million, and Fiona became Non Executive Chair of SCM Pharma, whose trading assets were later acquired by FTSE and NASDAQ-listed pharmaceutical firm, Shire, in 2014.

Fiona is now an angel investor and active philanthropist. Fiona founded Gabriel Investors in 2011 with a collective of female entrepreneurs in the North East, and to date Fiona has invested in digital companies, healthcare, consumer goods and food manufacturing.

She is an active philanthropist with personal and corporate funds at the Community Foundation, and was installed as Chair of the Community Foundation in 2016.

Fiona is a trustee of the International Centre for Life, and a former board member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. She has held a number of prestigious positions as a former David Goldman Visiting Professor of Business Innovation at the Newcastle University Business School, and as a Fellow of The School of Pharmacy UCL.