Graduating with a psychology degree, Ann Budge, started as graduate trainee in IT, with Scottish & Newcastle Breweries working there for 12 years and becoming the first woman to reach Senior Executive level. A move to another large corporate led on to further promotion and experience of running significant business operations.
Seeing the opportunity to take these skills and do it for herself she cofounded IT services company Newell & Budge in 1985 with an original focus on finance and the private sector. The company successfully went on to target Central Government and became at the time in Scotland the only ‘non major international’ preferred supplier of IT services. Ann bought out her partner in 2001 and pursued a rapid growth plan starting new businesses within Newell & Budge and making a series of acquisitions. Newell & Budge was an early adopter of off-shore services – originally as a way to solving the skills shortage of the mid-nineties and then as a cost effective way of assisting clients with the budget constraints of the early 2000s. After partnering with Indian companies for a couple of years Ann realised that to have control over the resources, costs and quality you needed to have your own facility. This led to the acquisition of an Indian software development company based in New Delhi. Following 3 acquisitions, and 20 years of year-on-year growth Ann sold Newell & Budge to Sopra Group in 2005, at which time the company she had started had over 1000 staff across 9 regional offices in the UK and New Delhi.
That year Ann went on to integrate Sopra’s existing UK business into N&B and to lead their UK operations, representing the UK at the Executive level in Paris. Ever the pioneer Ann was the first woman to reach this level, in what was a very male dominated French company and finally stood down as CEO of UK operation at end of 2008.
Since “retiring” Ann has undertaken a range of consultancy assignments and non-executive roles and become an active angel investor supporting around 20 young Scottish Companies. Budge was awarded "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the Entrepreneurial Exchange in 2005 and was then inducted into the Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame in November 2013. She is listed as a role model by the Women's Engineering Society. Ann is an Honorary Graduate of Edinburgh Napier University.