Sessions at the ICAS Conference 2017

Edinburgh sunset

Here you can find the details on speakers and topics for the sessions scheduled at the ICAS Conference 2017.

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Leading Change under Pressure

As Head of the Security Service, Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller dealt with the wake of 9/11 and a growing threat from Al-Qaeda. She doubled the size of MI5 and transformed their old approach to staff. 

In her own account of driving change in turbulent times, the Reith Lecturer shows that leadership is not about command and control, but vision and strategy: “You must be honest about difficulties, but demonstrate your confidence in the future and in your people.”


Baroness Manningham-Buller LG, DCB, former Head of MI5

Will it end in War?

The tectonic plates are shifting, from North Korea to China and throughout the Middle East; from Trump to Putin to Macron. What do these unprecedented political times mean for society, business and the future of the world?


Isabel Oakeshott, political commentator and former Political Editor of the Sunday Times


John Wyn-Evans, Head of Investment Strategy, Investec Wealth & Investment

More speakers to be announced.

Artificial Intelligence - is it so clever?

AI, big data and robotics are changing the world. Driverless ships, trucks and cars are imminent. Earlier this year, Japan’s Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance replaced an entire finance team with artificial intelligence.

From Jethro Tull and his seed drill in the very early 18th Century, through Newcomen, Arkwright and Faraday to Henry Ford’s first automated car production line in the early 20th century, man’s ingenuity has spawned innovations that have brought untold benefits to millions but at the same time have wrought dramatic changes to the way we work. Historically, the impact on overall employment levels has not been dramatic, as people previously employed in obsolete, labour-intensive industries have retrained and/or taken jobs in emerging new industries. Despite fears about the impact on employment, history shows that jobs lost have been replaced by others in new, emerging industries. 

In investment, as in many walks of life, the suggestion that ‘this time it’s different’ should be treated with caution, yet the nature of the information technology revolution currently underway suggests that this time it really may be so. The sheer pace of development, the omnipresence of IT and, perhaps above all, the emergence of big data and Artificial Intelligence, raise the possibility of much greater disruption to employment than has ever been seen before. For investors, the scale, scope and speed of change presents a range of challenges. At the macro level, what does it mean for inflation, growth and productivity, and what are the implications for asset allocation decisions? If workers are also consumers, what happens when there are far fewer workers? For equity investors how do you identify the winners? Will the greatest rewards be found among the technology innovators or those whose businesses are transformed by technology? Equally important (in fact arguably more so) is the need to identify the losers, the businesses that will be disrupted away. 

History shows that the impact of technology can be overestimated in the short term, but when change takes hold it can be swifter and more far-reaching than expected.

In this session, we weigh up the evidence, challenge the wilder predictions and help delegates assess what the future will really look like.


Professor Mike Chantler, Department of Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University


Simon Lapthorne, Senior Research Analyst, Investec Wealth and Investment

Martin Gilbert CA and Sir Brian Souter CA – “Building Billion Pound Companies”

A conversation between two of the most successful ICAS entrepreneurs: Martin Gilbert, Co-Founder of Aberdeen Asset Management; and Sir Brian Souter, ICAS President and Founder of Stagecoach Group Plc.

This session draws out business and personal learnings from two truly great CA leaders.


Martin Gilbert CA


Sir Brian Souter CA

CA to C-Suite

Leading CAs discuss the new dynamics of the boardroom; and how they’re responding to a world where it’s normal to expect the unexpected.


Alison Cornwell CA, is CFO of Vue Entertainment International and has had an illustrious career in film including a period working with Walt Disney.


Jo Fletcher CA was CFO of Vodafone in the Americas and is now CFO of the European Tour, which runs the Ryder Cup and many other leading golf tournaments.

Inspirational CA stories

Three remarkable ICAS chartered accountants tell their life stories.

  • Clare Campbell CA, the Founder of Prickly Thistle who moved from tax to tartan – a CA now getting big cheques from small checks.
  • Colin McLellan CA, the CFO of Skyscanner Limited – the inside story of creating a £1.4 billion tech giant from an idea in the pub.
  • Ricky Munday CA, Head of Corporate Services at the British Antarctic Survey and Canadian Red Cross leader – how he conquered Everest, in the footsteps of the Yeti.


Clare Campbell CA, Founder of Prickly Thistle


Colin McLellan CA, CFO of Skyscanner Limited


Ricky Munday CA, Head of Corporate Services at the British Antarctic Survey and Canadian Red Cross leader

Motivation Guaranteed.

Cyber Insecurity - How worried should we be about hackers, ransomeware and cyberspies? And how can we get less scared?

Is hacking the new warfare that will bring down capitalism? In the wake of ransomware attacks on the NHS and major hacks of global corporations, how do we make the country's digital security stronger and repel attacks that threaten entire industries?

How should you and your organisation respond to the number one threat on the risk registers of corporate Britain?

James Burchell

James Burchell, Senior Sales Engineer at Sophos

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