Currently a Director of Dalnair International, who specialise in establishing Asia Pacific operations for software companies, Hugh was previously employed by IBM following their acquisition of FileNet, where he was vice president, Asia Pacific.
Prior to his time in Singapore, Hugh lived and worked in Hong Kong and Sydney.
He is a specialist in the areas of strategy, market entry and business development for software companies targeting Asia pacific markets.
Despite being based overseas for much of his working life, Hugh Sutherland has retained strong links with his native Scotland.
From the earliest days of his career, he has been committed to helping Scottish people and companies do business internationally; something he maintains to the present day as a very active member of the GlobalScot network.
The first evidence of that commitment was his creation of a business networking group for Scots in Australia – the Murrayfield Club – which he set up with a colleague.
“For Scots working overseas, there’s no shortage of events you can go to if you need an excuse to have a few beers and talk about the good old days.
“But those tended to be things such as Burns Night and St Andrews Day which maybe isn’t a true reflection of contemporary Scotland.
“Back in the late 1980s, there were very few forums designed specifically for Scottish people working abroad to come together to help each other out.
“I’d come across an organisation which some Irish guys had formed called the Landsdowne Road Club so I indulged in a bit of plagiarism to create the Murrayfield Club as a way of bringing Scots together in a business environment. Although I’m no longer involved, the group is still on the go and has more than 500 members.”
Hugh’s experience with the Murrayfield Club meant he had no hesitation in accepting an invitation to become a GlobalScot. In the 10 years since, he has assisted a host of Scottish companies.
“There’s a big appetite amongst Scots for networking and GlobalScot has turned into a facilitator for those desires. When the network was first launched, I was working in quite a high-profile position as a vice-president with Filenet, so in terms of GlobalScot, I was one of the first cabs off the rank!
Despite the demands of his current role as Singapore-based director of Dalnair International, Hugh continues to offer his time and connections to help Scottish companies.
His role in bringing Australian firm Encompass Corporation to Glasgow this year is a prime example of his ongoing commitment to Scotland.
Encompass provides information management technology to the insolvency and restructuring sector, helping organisations to access and analyse multiple sources of information and understand company structures and asset ownership. The firm has now established its European headquarters in Glasgow’s financial services district.
“Coming from an IT sales background, I’m aware of the importance of big data to organisations who want an understanding of people or companies they’re doing business with.
“There’s a whole chain of information required for compliance purposes, for risk management or mitigation. Gathering that data and gaining an insight into individuals within companies and the companies themselves can be very time-consuming.”
Encompass was formed by business contacts which Hugh had made during his time in Australia who subsequently invited him to become a shareholder in the firm.
“It was clear to me that the next logical step in their growth was to move to Europe and specifically the UK which is effectively the financial centre for Europe and has a similar approach to Australia in terms of systems and its approach to data access.
“The Encompass management team had looked at different locations for their development centre including Belfast and Manchester where they already had a sales office. I went into sales mode for Scotland and made it clear the obvious location was Glasgow, which hosts the back office systems for so many leading financial institutions and has the skilled staff they would need.
“Scotland can offer highly intelligent, business literate people who have come out of the best educational institutions like Glasgow, Strathclyde, Heriot Watt and Edinburgh universities.
“And that’s what attracted Encompass. They were impressed by the skills and knowledge of the people they could hire with the added bonus that Scotland is close to its target markets.
“None of the management team had ever been to Scotland and they were hugely impressed by Glasgow, its people, the architecture and the business environment.
“I arranged for them to meet with Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, a great ambassador for Glasgow, who did a tremendous sales pitch for the city.
“Potential investors have to be able to see that the right ‘eco-system’ is in place to tackle areas such as who’s my accountant going to be, what lawyer should I talk to, how do I get a bank account set up, how do I hire office space and where do I find good marketing agency.”
“GlobalScot is viable because we all have a common interest in encouraging inward investment to Scotland or helping our firms export.
“Increasingly, I see my role in this part of the world as facilitating that process of investment into Scotland.”
Alex Ford, Head of Marketing for Encompass, who has relocated from Sydney to the new Glasgow office to help lead the firm’s expansion, said: “Glasgow is strongly focused on achieving its key objective of becoming a tech hub and smart city.
“Our aim is to recruit highly-skilled staff from the rich local talent pool and take advantage of the city’s strong culture of innovation and cutting-edge research and development and capitalise on new commercial opportunities.
Encompass CoFounder and Global Head of Sales Roger Carson adds:
, “Having made the decision to expand into Europe and identified Glasgow as one our options, we worked closely with Scottish Development International. Their team made a compelling case for the city as a location which would fit our needs as an innovative technology business. After careful assessment, Glasgow came out on top and the advice and assistance provided since our launch has been invaluable.”
Hugh concluded: “I’ve always been enthusiastic about ‘giving something back’ because business is all about people - nothing happens till you talk to somebody.
“Having a network like GlobalScot both within foreign communities as well as with connections back to the home country is tremendously beneficial.”