Ann Heron Gloag
by Radiyah Shakur
Ann Heron Gloag is one of Scotland’s most powerful women and one of the world’s top-50 female entrepreneurs.
Trained to be a nurse, she temporarily abandoned that idea and went in to business with her brother Brian Souter- setting up the Stagecoach bus company in 1980 using £25,000 their father received from a redundancy payment. The company grew rapidly, in part due to the encouragement of the British government’s deregulation of transport. It is one of the UK’s most successful independent transport operators with locations in 7 other countries. Both Gloag and her brother have a combined wealth value of £1.3 billion.
In 1999, Ann Gloag experienced a personal tragedy in her own life when her son committed suicide. From this point, Gloag stepped back from her business, becoming a Non-Executive Director in 2000.
She established the Balcraig Foundation to help relieve poverty and suffering around the world, with the majority of its projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of its main initiatives is the operation and management of the Kenya Christian Homes (KHC), which currently cares for 140 impoverished and orphaned children. KHC, which include the Jonathan Gloag Academy and Thomas Bernardo House Orphanage, have a holistic approach to caring by housing, educating and preparing the older children towards independent living.
She has given generously to various charities, including a £4million gift to Mercy Ships, which are floating hospitals that deliver free medical assistance and supplies to poor countries. Gloag, an international Board member of Mercy Ships, purchased an old Danish rail ferry in 1999 to be converted in to a floating hospital. Once the ferry, renamed ‘Africa Mercy’, is fully converted, it will become the world’s largest NGO hospital- treating 450,000 people each year in Africa.
The philanthropist has adopted a Kenyan boy, and has worked as a nurse on outreach projects in western Africa. In 2003 she was awarded for her humanitarian work from a Texas-based Philanthropy organisation, becoming the first international recipient of the prestigious award. In 2004, Gloag was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her charity works.