Johnston Carmichael sees tech advisory board go up a gear with key appointment

Professional services firm Johnston Carmichael has strengthened its tech advisory board (TAB) by signing up a Scots gaming veteran with a key role in best-seller Grand Theft Auto.

Colin Macdonald, a former producer on the multi-billion-dollar-generating Grand Theft Auto franchise, has joined the board to sit alongside top Scottish tech sector names such as Polly Purvis, deputy chair of Converge and whose previous posts include chief executive of digital tech body ScotlandIS.

Johnston Carmichael said the group was set up in May last year to help its clients access expert advice on achieving growth, and Dundee native Mr Macdonald is “genuinely excited” to become part of it. He added: “This [TAB] will be really key in reaching out to the games and wider tech industry to help join the dots… We’ve already seen from the success of Grand Theft Auto that we can produce some of the best and most sought-after games, and we want to help play our part in supporting the industry as it seeks to produce the next big hit game.”

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His CV also includes being a producer of games such as Lemmings, later co-founding Realtime Worlds where he helped raise more than $100 million ($85m) in investment. He was subsequently appointed Channel 4’s first television games commissioner, and served on the governing board of Abertay University, while he is currently head of publisher Indie Champions, and an advisor to the UK Government’s UK Games Fund, for example.

Mr Macdonald says the TAB 'will be really key in reaching out to the games and wider tech industry to help join the dots'. Picture: Nick Mailer.

Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology and life sciences at Johnston Carmichael, said: “The challenges faced by the gaming industry are very similar to those faced by our other tech clients, so Colin’s deep knowledge will be incredibly valuable to growing our in-house team’s expertise… we want to ensure gaming creatives have access to the help required to develop their company, so that they can focus more on what they do best, and that’s create world-class games.”

Johnston Carmichael says the games-development sector is worth in excess of £300m in Scotland, supporting 6,400 jobs, while the gaming industry as a whole is now worth more than Hollywood and the music industries combined. The firm was a sponsor of the first-ever Scottish Games Week, which took place last month.

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Other members of the TAB include Alisdair Gunn, who heads up Framewire, a Scottish advisory practice for tech and digital start-ups, and Grant Smith, board member at The Data Lab.

Colin Macdonald with Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology and life sciences at Johnston Carmichael. Picture: Nick Mailer.