How the Foundation is funded

The 2025 Foundation was launched with a donation of £150,000 from the Chartered Banker Institute, raised from the sale of the Institute's historical banknote collection.

Our initial target is to raise sufficient funds to support at least 200 Foundation Scholars between 2017 and 2025, which marks the Institute's 150th anniversary. However, our activities will continue beyond 2025, and looking further ahead, we will continue to build the foundation to support as many individuals as possible.

The 2025 Foundation will rely on voluntary income through:

  • Donations from Fellows, Chartered Bankers and other members of the Chartered Banker Institute
  • Major donations from corporates and individuals.

How the Foundation is managed

The Foundation is managed by a committee, chaired by David Thorburn (a former President of the Institute), and all members are appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Chartered Banker Institute. The 2025 Foundation Committee is accountable to the Board of Trustees of the Chartered Banker Institute for all of its actions.

The Committee shall consist of up to 10 members, drawn from the Board of Trustees, Past Presidents of the Institute, Members, and non-members of the Institute with appropriate experience as recommended by the Chair, or the Chartered Banker Institute Nominations Committee.

2025 Committee

David Thorburn

David Thorburn

Chair |


David joined Clydesdale Bank in 1978 having graduated from the University of Glasgow with a law degree. David completed his Institute bank exams in the early 1980s and today is a Chartered Banker. He also undertook the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1999.

David is the former CEO of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. David is a Past President of The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, and was a founder member of the Institute’s Professional Standards Board. He is the former Chair of CBI Scotland and a former Board Director of the British Bankers Association and Scottish Financial Enterprise.

David has been pursuing a portfolio career since 2015 and is currently Chair of the Coventry Building Society as well as an independent non-executive with EY UK. David has previously been an External Member on the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulatory Committee, Chair of the Board Risk Committee at Barclays Bank UK PLC and chaired several committees for EY’s Global network as well as the UK firm. 

Bernard Adjei

Bernard Adjei

Senior Consultant within the Financial Sector


Bernard Adjei has spent majority of his career within the financial industry (Lloyds Banking, Halifax etc). Bernard has been responsible for the delivery of key projects to improve efficiency in the Banking Industry.

He setup the RISE (Reach Inspire Support Empower) initiative in 2015 aimed at equipping disadvantaged young people to build financial awareness and employability skills. Through the scheme, Bernard has supported and mentored more than 1000 students in London, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh. 

Bernard was named the UK’s Young Banker of the Year 2016 for his innovation within the International Transfer Market where he developed a concept to improve visibility on international transfers. 

Bernard has been recognised as a Power list Rising Star twice, Black British Business Awards Finance Rising Star in 2018 and GUBA Rising Diaspora. 

Bernard has an MBA from the Henley Business School and enjoys playing football and golf.


Katherine Graham

Katherine Graham

NatWest | Head of People Technology at NatWest Group


Katherine has spent most of her career in the financial services industry.  Initially a programme director by trade, she managed regulatory, and people change in NatWest Group during some of the most challenging times in banking.  

Her academic background is in HR disciplines, holding a MA and MSc from Heriot-Watt and the University of Edinburgh respectively, and she is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

However, she is a fan of reinvention, and is now a technologist.  After 4 years heading up the Security Services function for the NatWest Group, she is now on a mission to digitise the colleague experience and has moved into the bank's Technology team. 

Outside of work, Katherine has held non-executive roles in the college sector and is a Lay Member of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland.  She is a supporter of STEM initiatives and has previously helped run events designed to encourage young people to consider careers in cyber security, technology, and banking. 

She is happiest when running through a theme park after her three young boys and believes in creating the right opportunities so that everyone can access learning and drive their own professional development, throughout their whole career.   

Irene Grant

Irene Grant

Craigelachie Consulting Ltd | Executive Coaching & Mentoring


Irene has a portfolio career, running her own business as an Executive Coach, Mentor and Business Consultant and taking on Non-Executive Director roles.  The founder of Craigelachie Consulting Ltd, she is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and works globally. 

Irene is an experienced Executive Director, working as a senior leader in financial services, primarily at HSBC.  Her career is highly international with roles in UK, Europe, USA and Asia. 

Passionate about leadership, diversity of thought and unlocking potential, Irene trained as an Executive Coach and Mentor, qualifying with the Institute of Leadership and Management in 2018.  Through Craigelachie, she supports leaders, aspiring leaders and pro bono clients at companies of all sizes, from start-up to complex, global multinationals.  Clients’ sectors include agri-foods, financial services, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, professional services, public sector and the third sector, located in the UK and internationally.  

In 2018, Irene was appointed a Non-Executive Director and Trustee of Edinburgh International Book Festival, the world’s largest festival celebrating words, literature and ideas.  Irene brings to the Board extensive experience in strategic thinking, finance, risk management and governance plus a deep interest in organisational purpose, values and culture.  Irene is a Fellow of the Chartered Banker Institute, a Committee member at the 2025 Foundation, and an active member of the Association of Coaching, Changing the Chemistry and the Institute of Directors. 

A graduate of Edinburgh University (MA Hons French and Business Studies), Irene currently lives in Edinburgh with her husband, with a daughter working in Cambridge and a son studying at Glasgow University.  The family are all avid sports fans, particularly rugby and football, and enjoy travelling and outdoor activities. 

Ellie Hutchinson

Ellie Hutchinson

Atom Bank | Operational Risk Manager


Ellie is an Operational Risk Manager at Atom Bank.  Throughout her career, she has worked across both Financial and Non-Financial organisations, in Operational and Enterprise risk roles. 

Ellie is passionate about ensuring talented young individuals from underrepresented or low-income backgrounds are able to pursue a successful career in banking.  She is an active mentor for the Chartered Banker Institute Smart Futures programme and has had the privilege of hosting students on the programme with Atom Bank.

John Needham

John Needham

Non Executive Director / Trustee


A Chartered Banker, John’s career at RBS spanned over 39 years including 15 years as an Executive of the bank. During that time, he specialised in banking operations, branch banking, change management, corporate banking, audit and regulatory risk. He served on the Council of the Chartered Banker Institute for 13 years and served as President 2013 - 2015. 

John has an MBA from the University of Strathclyde Business School and retains a keen interest in increasing the professional qualification of bankers across the UK as well as improving the diversity of staff across the industry. 

John is an active Non-Executive Director and Trustee with a number of organisations and is the current Chairman of St Mirren Football Club. 

Robert Owen

Robert Owen

Bath & West Finance | Non-Executive Director


Robert is a Non-Executive Director at Bath & West Finance, a specialist mortgage lender and additionally, provides expert advice to a number of clients on banking matters, including strategy, recruitment and product development in the lending markets.

Prior to this he was Managing Director at United Trust Bank where he headed the Mortgage and Bridging divisions of the Bank and represented the industry as a Director of the trade body, the Finance & Leasing Association. 

Robert has over 40 years’ experience in the UK banking and building society sectors, with main board experience as Chief Executive, Matlock Bank where he founded London Mortgage Company and as Chairman at Al Rayan Bank plc, the first Sharia retail bank outside the Gulf.

He has BA and MBA degrees, is a Fellow of the Chartered Banker Institute and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers.

Sue Primmer

Sue Primmer

Independent Member


Sue has spent the past fifteen years in financial services, supporting private-equity backed firms through accelerated growth, mergers and acquisitions and leading complex integration and transformation programmes. She is one of 100 women awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of a century of women's suffrage, and is currently serving her second term as an official UK Export Champion.

Sue’s career spans private and public services and both large and small organisations. She was previously Assistant Chief Executive, Communications & Consultation for Hackney Council, dealing with complex local issues as well as with the impact of national policy and working as part of the Olympic Host Boroughs to secure a meaningful local legacy from the Games in the run up to London 2012. This followed six years as Director of Communications for the University of Birmingham, one of the UK's leading research-led universities with an international student base. 

During this period, Sue also acted as media and public affairs lead for the Russell Group over the introduction of tuition fees; founded the Midlands’ Media Centre training academics, diplomats and business leaders in media skills and; struck a strategic alliance between the University and the BBC, securing a BBC Drama Village on campus. 

Before this, Sue was founding Editor of, an early dotcom start-up owned by Chrysalis media. This followed five years as Director of Communications for one of the UK’s most senior Church of England Bishops, who was also a member of the House of Lords and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Envoy to the Vatican State. 

Sue began her marketing career helping Luton College of Higher Education to become a ‘challenger brand’ in higher education and achieve University status following earlier posts in scientific publishing. Sue is an English graduate from Cambridge University and has a second degree in the construction of gender in Shakespeare from the University of Durham. Sue is married and lives in East London with her family.

Sue began her marketing career helping Luton College of Higher Education to become a ‘challenger brand’ in higher education and achieve University status following earlier posts in medical and veterinary publishing. Sue is an English graduate from Cambridge University and has a second degree in the construction of gender in Shakespeare from the University of Durham. Sue is married and lives in East London with her family.

Simon Thompson

Simon Thompson

Chartered Banker Institute | Chief Executive


Simon leads our work to shape and implement professional standards and professional development for bankers. Simon Thompson was appointed as our Chief Executive in 2007. In 2011, Simon led the establishment of the Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board (CB:PSB). He is a Board member of the CB:PSB and chairs the CB:PSB’s Professional Standards Committee.

Before joining us, Simon was responsible for managing the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB), developing ethics and education standards for accountants. He previously worked for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), establishing ACCA in 25 countries in Central & Eastern Europe, and leading a number of EU and other donor-funded accounting education and reform programmes.

Simon holds a BA (Politics and Economics) from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and an MBA from the University of Edinburgh. He is one of our Fellows (FCIBS), and a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (MCIPD).

Simon chairs the Global Education Standards Committee recently established by a group of leading international banking institutes, and is a lay member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. He is a former Vice President of the European Bank Training Network.

View Simon's LinkedIn Profile

Follow Simon on Twitter: @ChtBankerSimonT