Karthik Subramanya

Karthik, a qualified Electrical Engineer talks to CtC about his appointment to the Board of Creative Scotland.

Karthik is currently a Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group advising CXOs and investors on strategy and investments in energy and utilities across Europe and the Middle East. He has previously held senior executive positions in the utilities industry with SSE and also in the banking industry at Lloyds Banking Group and HBOS.

  1. Details of (your) Board Appointment

I joined the Board of Creative Scotland in July 2016 and was appointed Member of the Audit and Risk Committee and Screen Committee.

This role reflects an area of interest that is of a personal nature and complements my other board positions at Our Power Energy Supply and Our Community Energy.

  1. What attracted you to the roles?

Creative Scotland is the organisation responsible for funding, development and advocacy for the arts, screen and creative industries.

For most of this decade, I have led a number of ethnic minority arts organisations having also created the largest independent annual festival for Asian arts in Scotland in 2010-11 with an audience of close to 5000. I have a strong sense of affiliation with the purpose of Creative Scotland and thought that the role at Creative Scotland offered a good opportunity for me to play my part in promoting and elevating the position of ethnic minority arts in Scotland.

It was at a meeting to discuss various funding routes when I heard about the vacancy on the Board of Creative Scotland. I was invited by the Head of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Creative Scotland to apply for the position. She felt that there needed to be a Board sponsor to enable staff on the ground to be able to bring a sharper focus to EDI activities. I duly applied for the role and was pleased to have been successful through the Public Appointments process.

  1. What strengths, both personal and professional, did you highlight in the interview process?

It was important for me to support the Board of Creative Scotland deliver its purpose and strategy well and the key strengths I highlighted were:

  • my familiarity with the status of ethnic minority arts in Scotland while also having played a key role in promoting this area for nearly a decade;
  • my exposure to international business including understanding of managing market entry into new countries across North America, Europe and Asia;
  • a career marked by “delivery of promises” having bought and sold businesses, created and executed strategies across Banking and Utilities;
  • my experience in senior executive roles in Scotland, and ability to workclosely with Boards of several large organisations;
  • my financial skills, which led to my appointment as a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.
  1. What were the benefits of approaching the role with the help of a Voluntary Mutual Support Group (CtC)?

CtC is a great mutual support peer to peer networking group. Prior to my appointment at Creative Scotland, I have had tremendous support from CtC including feedback on applications, mock interviews and insights into different organisations from other members that have helped me greatly in my success with my roles.

I was able to use the knowledge I had gained with confidence in my Creative Scotland application.

  1. What do you hope to achieve in the role?

In addition to promoting EDI within the mandate of Creative Scotland, my central aim remains focused on helping the Board provide effective governance as well as to defend the rights of “art for arts sake” in an era of increasing economic pressures on the arts and the artists.

Developing all aspects of my board experience is also an important process. Due to the unexpected passing away of our erstwhile chairman, I found myself leading the recruiting panel for the new Chair of Creative Scotland. I have also served on the Screen Committee, helping the creation of a new enhanced Screen unit which was a key deliverable for the Scottish Government.

I am also actively involved in the Board Review committee set up by the new Chairman to consider the shape, structure and culture of Creative Scotland having weathered a few public storms in the past few months.