NORTH East cancer charity, Clan Cancer Support has announced that its CEO Dr Colette Backwell is to step down in Spring this year. Dr Backwell will hand over the reins to Fiona Fernie, current Head of Income Generation & Business Development at Clan, in March.
A born and bred Highlander and alumna of the University of Aberdeen, Fiona has a background in commercial development, spending 10 years at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce developing their training offering and working as the Chamber lead for members in retail, the third sector and culture and creative industries. Her role at the Chamber of Commerce also included involvement in notable regional projects, including the inaugural Great Aberdeen Run in 2017.
Fiona joined Clan as Head of Income Generation & Business Development the same year and has transformed Clan’s commercial approach to income generation. This, alongside her active role as part of the management team, helped equip Clan to positively respond to the challenges of Covid. Fiona also led the recent ‘Light the North’ project across the North East, Moray, Orkney and Shetland raising awareness for Clan and over £300,000.
Dr Backwell will continue with her non-executive roles at the University of Aberdeen, the Chamber of Commerce and Developing the Young Workforce North-East Scotland. Speaking of her time as Clan CEO Dr Colette Backwell said:
“It is with a mix of excitement at the prospect of new adventures, tinged with sadness that I have decided to step down as CEO of Clan. I am delighted to announce the appointment of Fiona as my successor, and it is with pride and confidence that I hand over the leadership of this great charity to her in March. By the time I leave, I will have held the position for six and a half wonderful years.
“I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved against the most difficult environment and of our collective impact on the lives of cancer patients and their families, truly making a difference to thousands of people experiencing the traumas associated with a cancer diagnosis. I continue to be humbled by the team’s dedication and commitment to Clan clients, to Clan and to each other. This has been crucially important as we responded and adapted to the pandemic, and I thank the team for their amazing creativity, resilience, and support during this time. Clan emerges from the pandemic stronger than we were at the start and is in good shape to hand over to my successor.”
Stuart Cochrane, who took over as Clan Chair in November 2021, said:
“There is no question that Colette has achieved a lot in her time at Clan and has fundamentally changed the direction of the charity, enhanced the team and laid firm foundations for future growth. While we are sorry to see her leave, we wish her well as she hands over to Fiona who I know has the knowledge, experience and passion for our great charity and a drive to see us further develop our strategic aspirations for the future.”
Talking of her appointment Fiona Fernie said:
“I am delighted to be appointed as CEO. Having been with the charity for almost five years and having learned so much from Colette during that time, I have many personal aspirations as to how we grow our vital service delivery for individuals and families across the North East of Scotland, Moray, Orkney & Shetland.
“We have an outstanding team of people with a passion for our charity, our values and our purpose and I am excited to see what we can achieve collectively over the coming years.”