Owen Kelly
Owen Kelly

Mr Owen Kelly



Owen Kelly, OBE, is a part-time lecturer at the Business School. He currently also works as interim Director of Engagement at Edinburgh University Business School and as a freelance consultant on policy and communications.

He has extensive experience of working in government and in the private sector. From 2008 to 2016 he was Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, the representative body for Scotland's financial services industry. During his term of office, he dealt with the financial crisis and the refrendum on Scottish independence, both of which raised big issues for the industry. He has contributed regularly to public debate on many aspects of economics and politics.

Before that, he worked for 20 years as a civil servant in the UK and Scottish Governments. When he left in 2008, he was Director of Communications and International at the Scottish Government. He served as Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister of Scotland and as Private Secretary to a UK government Minister. His policy specialisms were EU and international affairs and communications.

He holds an honours degree in Chinese (1986) and a Diploma in Social and Public Policy (1998), both from the University of Edinburgh.

He is an Associate of Edinburgh University Business School and he teaches on the financial crisis at Edinburgh University, where he is also a doctoral researcher in ancient philosophy and its modern relevance to business ethics.

He is a trustee of the David Hume Institute, the Historic Scotland Foundation, the McConnell International Foundation and Citizens' Advice Edinburgh.

He was awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in the New Year's Honours List in 2014.



Fellowships and Awards

  • Officer of the British Empire (OBE)


Media Activity

  • Letters in the Financial Times
  • Research paper “The UK-EU ‘in-out’ referendum: Lessons from the Scottish vote on independence and a guide for what CEOs need to know about navigating political referendums”


Non-executive Directorship

  • Non-executive roles