The work of a key figure in economic development in North East Scotland was recognised by Robert Gordon University (RGU) today (Wednesday 11 July) with an honorary degree.
The chief executive of Opportunity North East (ONE), Jennifer Craw, was awarded a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) at RGU’s graduation ceremony, marking her fourth graduation from the university.
Her 25-year career in economic development has been marked by her passion for supporting business growth and industry development, and her commitment to the long-term sustainability of the economy of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Jennifer has longstanding ties with the university, having first graduated from Robert Gordon Institute of Technology (RGIT) with a BSc degree in nutrition and dietetics in 1982, followed by a postgraduate diploma in dietetics and a further postgraduate diploma in management studies five years later.
She was chair of the RGU Board of Governors for three years from January 2014 to December 2016, and prior to this was a member of the board for five years.
Jennifer is currently chief executive of Opportunity North East (ONE), the private sector-led and funded economic development body for North East Scotland. ONE was established in 2015 by the private sector, led by RGU’s Chancellor Sir Ian Wood KT GBE, and key stakeholders, including the region’s two local authorities, to strengthen and diversify the region’s economy. Jennifer is responsible for delivering ONE’s strategic priorities to maximise the oil and gas opportunity for the region and anchor the energy supply chain for the long term; support growth in key industry sectors including food, drink and agriculture, life sciences and tourism; and develop opportunities in the digital economy.
In her earlier career, Jennifer was chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Grampian from 2002 to 2008 and led the national food and drink and energy teams during that period. She joined the organisation in 1994 and where she held posts including head of food and director of competitive business before spending a period at Shell Expro UK, leading a business transformation project. After graduating, she initially worked as a nutritionist before moving into senior marketing and management roles in the food and drink industry.
The Principal of RGU, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, commented: “It is a great honour to be able to award Jennifer an honorary doctorate from RGU, given her extremely close links with the university, but also her leadership, commitment and drive to ensure the continued prosperity of North East Scotland.
“Jennifer is very well known across the business and higher education sectors within Scotland and was the first woman to chair a Scottish university governing body, here at RGU. We are very proud to be able to recognise her in this way.”