Steve Maclaren, Chief Operating Officer of the National Robotarium, has been announced as a finalist in the 2023 Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

The awards, the world’s largest celebration of military veterans in second careers, highlight the links between military values and business excellence, raising awareness among both employers and service leavers and demonstrating the value that military-gained qualities add to the UK economy.

Steve has been shortlisted in the Business Leader of the Year category having served 22 years in the Royal Navy as an Aircraft Engineer prior to undertaking his successful career in IT and digital solutions.

He joined the National Robotarium as COO in April 2022 and manages the facility’s growing portfolio of industry partnerships and robotics engineering projects, as well as digital transformation and other strategic initiatives. Prior to this, Steve was lead IT and Digital Business Partner for aeronautical company Leonardo UK, where he co-ordinated teams of engineers, project managers and partner companies to deliver complex digital solutions for technical and logistics contracts, primarily for the Ministry of Defence.

Steve said: “I am honoured to be shortlisted for a Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Award by my peers in the Armed Forces. My career since retiring from the Navy has led me to a number of diverse and interesting technology and data-oriented roles, culminating in my current position as COO at the National Robotarium, the UK’s leading centre for robotics and AI.

“In this, and previous business leadership roles, I have been able to apply a wealth of problem-solving skills and technical expertise that I developed during my 22 years of military service. The benefits of my time spent in the forces still resonate today and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve.”

Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, the official charity partner who are sponsoring the event, said:

“As a former Chief of Defence People, I know just how important it is to have strong visibility both of the wide breadth of forces friendly employers and of veterans who have transitioned into meaningful second careers – these awards lead the way in amplifying that visibility.

“Our warmest congratulations but also sincere thanks must go to all of those who have been shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards for setting such a great example of how military-gained skills and values can be successfully applied across all sectors.”

The winners are decided by an independent judging panel, made up of 20 veterans and business leaders from major Scottish employers such as Addleshaw Goddard, Barclays, JPMorgan, Edrington and the Scottish Government, and will be announced at a special ceremony and gala dinner on 18 April in Glasgow.