Susan Aitken was elected as Leader of Glasgow City Council in 2017, forming a Scottish National Party (SNP) led City Government in the first change of political administration in Glasgow in 40 years. She was first elected as a councillor for the Langside ward (where she lives with her husband) in 2012, following a career in public policy and communications in the third sector and the Scottish Parliament, and as a freelance writer and editor specialising in social care issues. Susan was reappointed to a second term as Council Leader following the 2022 Scottish Local Government elections.
Under her leadership, Glasgow has hosted the UN Climate Summit COP26, which led to the formation of the Glasgow Climate Pact; was awarded Global Green City status by the Global Forum on Human Settlements in 2020; has been named host of the inaugural UCI World Cycling Championships during its year as 2023 European Capital of Sport; and secured host status for the World Indoor Athletics Championships in 2024.
Susan was awarded Scottish Local Politician of the Year in 2019 for her work to end historic gender pay discrimination and deliver compensation for thousands of women Council workers. She was also awarded Scottish Council Leader of the Year in 2021 for her leadership on climate issues, including plans to remove private car use in the core of Glasgow city centre by 2025. Susan was selected as one of 40 global city leaders for the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Class of 2023.
“The Glasgow City Region is an exciting and dynamic attractor for local innovation talent and for global investors, a place which draws on its exiting sectoral strengths while nurturing an environment of collaboration, creativity and inventiveness. With a highly-skilled population, entrepreneurial businesses and partnerships between world-leading learning institutions and the public and private sectors, we’re increasingly competing on a global stage. The innovation summit will be crucial in bringing together people and institutions to renew connections, engage in conversations and discover new opportunities.”