Owen Kelly (MA (Hons), Chinese (University of Edinburgh); Diploma in Chinese Language, Shandong University; PG Diploma, Social and Public Policy (University of Edinburgh); OBE (Officer of the British Empire).Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers)
Dugald Stewart Building
- 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
- Post code
- EH8 9AD
Owen Kelly, OBE, is a part-time Doctoral Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at Edinburgh University, examining how ancient ethical ideas can be applied to modern business practice.He also works at the University of Edinburgh Business School as Director of Engagement.
He has extensive experience of working in government and in the private sector. From 2008 to 2016 he was Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, the representative body for Scotland's financial services industry. During his term of office, he dealt with the financial crisis and the referendum on Scottish independence, both of which raised large and important questions for the industry. He continues to contributed regularly to public debate on many aspects of economics and politics.
Before working for the financial services industry, he worked for 20 years as a civil servant in the UK and Scottish Governments. When he left in 2008, he was Director of Communications and International at the Scottish Government. He served as Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister of Scotland and as Private Secretary to a UK government Minister. His policy specialisms were EU and international affairs and communications.
He holds an honours degree in Chinese (1986) and a Diploma in Social and Public Policy (1998), both from the University of Edinburgh. He also holds a diploma in Chinese language from the University of Shandong.
He is a trustee of the David Hume Institute, the Historic Scotland Foundation, the McConnell International Foundation and Citizens' Advice Edinburgh.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
He was awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in the New Year's Honours List in 2014.
MA (Hons), Chinese, University of Edinburgh
Diploma in Chinese Language, Shandong University
PG DIp. Social and Public Policy, University of Edinburgh
Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers
Responsibilities & affiliations
Trustee, David Hume Institute
Trustee, McConnell International Foundation
Trustee, Historic Scotland Foundation
Director, Citizens' Advice Edinburgh
Director of Engagment, University of Edinburgh Business School
Contributes to Social and Political Science course "Rethinking the Financial Crisis". Lectures at Edinburgh Napier University on financial services and intercultural communication.
Supervises MBA student dissertations at Edinburgh Napier University.
Morality in business, especially financial services; morality in economics; Plato, Aristole, Rawls, Nozick and MacIntyre.
Current research interestsAncient virtue ethics and their applicability to modern commerce, particularly financial services. Aristotle, Plato and their philosophies of acquisition and disposal of wealth and other goods.
Spoke at seminar on ethics organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the Law Society of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland, 2 March 2017
Blog post on the 'Moral Markets' website, part of the 'Good Markets' research programme, run by a consortium of Dutch universities:
The humbling of the Scottish banking industry during the financial crisis
Contribution to Workshop › Paper (E-pub ahead of print)
Boardroom morality and the 'fit and proper' test
Contribution to Conference › Paper (Published)
Other contribution (Published)
The paradigm-model of corporate virtue
Web publication/site (Published)
Just giving and just taking
Working paper (Published)
BREXIT and the Scottish Financial Services Sector
Working paper (Published)
The UK-EU ‘in-out’ referendum
Working paper (Published)
Annual Dublin Graduate Philosophy Conference, 2017
Ethical Finance and Governance in Emerging Markets Conference (ft. Belt and Road Initiative) 2-3 May 2018, Edinburgh Napier University - keynote speaker at opening session
"Just giving and just taking: an Aristotelian approach to modern problems of inequality, insatiety and consumerism. "
"Aristotelian virtue ethics as a way of spanning cultures along the Belt and the Road"
In the press
“The UK-EU ‘in-out’ referendum: Lessons from the Scottish vote on independence and a guide for what CEOs need to know about navigating political referendums” - working paper, co-authored with Professor Brad Mackay, University of Edinburgh Business School
'BREXIT and the Scottish Financial Services Sector' - policy brief, co-authored with Professor Jeremy Peat, University of Strathclyde; published by University of Strathclyde International Public Policy Insititute.
Letter in Financial Times, 23 March "Reclaim humanity that the workplace has lost"
http://edition.pagesuite.com/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=4f81a735-141e-411e-8b4c-bb60ca70de42&pnum=22 - 'A philosophical approach to Boardroom morality'