In 1986, Govan Initiative was established and, under the chairmanship of local councilor Ian Davidson, along with Chief Executive John Scally and his deputy Ron Culley, was charged with the responsibility for the economic regeneration of the Govan area.
One of their key objectives was to establish a forum within which the local business community, embracing small, medium and large-size companies, could play its part in the said regeneration.
The Initiative team approached local business leaders with the idea of forming a business club, complete with an executive committee. Once this was decided upon, Eric Mackie of Govan Shipbuilders agreed to be the first President, with his colleague Ben Donnelly as Vice-President. David Bailey of Cardonald College became the first Secretary, Allan Haldane of John S Braid & Co the first Treasurer (and still Treasurer today), and Ron Culley of Govan Initiative the Membership Secretary. The Executive having been established, the Southside Business Club was formally launched by Alex Ferguson CBE, a true friend of Govan.
Eric Mackie’s term as President was curtailed when he found that chasing an order for two container ships for China meant that he and Ben Donnelly would be out of the country for lengthy spells. Govan Shipbuilders was very keen, however, to play its part and, accordingly, their Personnel Director Bob McCann took over the role of President with the full agreement of the committee. Bob held the Presidency for ten years and is now an Honorary Member of the Club and still attending Meetings.
In those early days of the Club’s existence, the energy, drive, innovative ideas and general assistance from John Scally, Ron Culley, and Jean Pollock, were a great encouragement to the Executive Committee. And when Ron Culley succeeded John Scally who departed to take up a similar post in the north-east of England, the business experience of Ron and the Executive was the additive required to achieve, in a relatively short period, a Club membership of 125 and to present, over the years, a diverse, informative and entertaining programme of events, capturing the imagination of local businesses.
In 1997, the then Executive committee, in a move calculated to expand membership numerically and geographically, decided, with the approval of Govan Initiative and the membership, to change the name of the Club from Southside Business Club to Glasgow South Business Club.
Like any other organisation, the Club has had to deal with the effects of the peaks and troughs of the Scottish economy, which from time to time impacts on the Club membership and finances. Today, with the continued support of Jobs & Business Glasgow (formerly Govan Initiative then Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency, then GRA), the Club will continue to build on what’s gone before, producing a varied programme of informal and structured networking and a quality of speaker and topic which each year seems to surpass the year before.
In 2012, Remo Pisaneschi, with the support of the Executive Committee, led a drive to be less ‘South’ centric and proposed to change the name of the club to Glasgow Business Club. This move was primarily focused on making the club more appealing to all Glasgow businesses and offered a hub for the members of the Glasgow West & East clubs that would cease to exist in August 2012.
This move was met with some resistance from partners of the club’s primary funders, at that time, Glasgow Regeneration Agency (formally GSWRA). At the AGM of 2012, a decision was made to seek the support of the members to change the name to Glasgow’s Local Business Club as an interim name change for one term until such issues were resolved to become the Glasgow Business Club. The AGM passed the change to the constitution and the club changed to Glasgow’s Local Business Club.
During the summer break of the club in 2012, before the 12/13 session started, further discussions relating to the name change took place and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the GRA, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and the Club. This move was a significant development in the club’s history and allowed the club to become the ‘Glasgow Business Club’.
An EOM was scheduled and the members were approached with the proposal to change the name of the club – by E-vote – to Glasgow Business Club. An overwhelming majority voted in favour of the move which allowed the Club to start the 2012 – 2013 season off under this new banner. Whilst the club passed a vote to become Glasgow’s Local Business Club, no formal meeting was held under this banner. From the re-branded launch event on 18th September 2012, the club will be known as ‘Glasgow Business Club’.
Business Club Presidents:
- Bob McCann 1986-1996
- John McLaughlin MBE 1996-1998
- David Howard 1998-1999
- Frank Bendoris 1999-2002
- John Stevenson 2002 -2004
- Allan Haldane 2004-2006
- Ed Johnston 2006-2008
- Kathy McBride 2008- 2010
- Remo Pisaneschi 2010- 2012
- Norman Ferguson 2012 – 2014
- John Stevenson 2014 – 2016
- Neil Strong 2016