Opportunity North East’s chairman, Scottish businessman and philanthropist Sir Ian Wood KT GBE was formally installed today (Friday 6 July 2018) as a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle by Her Majesty The Queen, at a ceremony in Edinburgh.
The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order of the Thistle and appointments made to the Order are entirely in her personal gift. The Order has a maximum complement of 16 Knights (KT) plus Royal Knights, who are currently Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince William.
The Order of the Thistle is Scotland’s great order of chivalry, and membership is considered one of the country’s highest honours. The Order is traditionally given to Scots or people of Scots ancestry, who have given distinguished service.
The installation ceremony took place at St Giles’ Cathedral this morning with the official blessing in the Thistle Chapel. Sir Ian had, earlier in the week, a private audience with the Queen at Holyrood Palace to receive the Collar and Star of the Order.
This high honour from the Queen adds to Sir Ian’s award of a Knight Grand Cross two years ago, which is the highest rank in the Order of the British Empire and is awarded very rarely and for exceptional services to the nation. It is believed that Sir Ian is the only person in Scotland to hold both a KT and GBE.
Sir Ian’s business career spans five decades and he is best known for his leadership of John Wood Group Plc (now Wood Plc), which he developed into a global oilfield services company, employing more than 42,000 people. In public life, he has helped to shape national policy through significant reviews undertaken on behalf of the UK and Scottish Governments. Today, in addition to his business interests, he is very active in venture philanthropy in Africa and developing young people in Scotland through The Wood Foundation and chairs the UK’s only private sector led and funded regional economic development company, Opportunity North East (ONE), which he formed with the business community in 2015 to strengthen and diversify the economy of North East Scotland.
Sir Ian said “I am really honoured by this personal recognition from Her Majesty the Queen, which I share with the many very talented, committed and enterprising people I’ve worked with in my life across business, public life and in my more recent philanthropic activities in Scotland and in Africa. It is also deservedly shared with my beloved family.”