Interviewing Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, for the Scottish Business Network podcast in London, June 2019
What I've been up to.
I fell in love with print journalism at a very early age through a combination of reading comics, Shoot! magazine and my Dad's newspaper. As a schoolboy, I launched a magazine of sorts called The Alternative Voice, which I persuaded the librarian to print multiple copies of every month so that I could sell them in the playground. Put together using a manual typewriter, scissors and glue, it was an embarrassing hotchpotch of student politics and lavatorial humour – hopefully there are no stray copies still out there.
iAfter studying English Literature and student union culture at the University of Aberdeen, I worked as a business journalist in London, also spending a year as a newspaper reporter in Istanbul. On return, after gaining my first experience of working with clients at Haymarket Media Group, I joined Brass Tacks Publishing (one of the pioneers of customer magazine publishing) and became editorial director, launching projects for clients including Royal Mail, Prudential, Scottish Power, Bank of Scotland and British Gas.
Then in 2001, together with my friend and colleague Alan Lennon, I established a marketing and communications agency in Edinburgh called White Light Media. The company flourished, growing to a team of 12 within six years, and creating award-winning projects for clients such as Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Life, Tesco, Channel 4, Total, NHS Scotland and numerous universities.
For five years, we also published a beautiful magazine called Hot Rum Cow which, as well being stocked in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was voted voted the world’s best drinks publication at the Spirited Awards in New Orleans in 2015. Two years earlier, I also picked up Magazine Publisher of the Year at the Scottish Magazine Awards.
Always tempted by a new adventure, I also bought the rights to World Whisky Day in 2015, developing its impact as a global social media celebration of Scotland’s national drink.
In 2019, after 18 years of running an agency and developing grey hair in the process, I passed the business on to my right-hand man Eric Campbell. I then established Fraser Allen Communications in January 2020, providing support to clients with content, communications & marketing strategies, and high-quality copywriting. I also continued my role as social media curator for the Library of Mistakes and hosted 90+ episodes of the Scottish Business Network podcast.
I live in rural East Lothian with my wife, daughter and a noisy Lakeland terrier.