Karen Thomson

Member of Court

Secretariat, Academic and Corporate Governance

On this page





+44 (0)1382 386459


Karen is a Scot, originally from Dundee. She lived in Edinburgh and then attended Aberdeen University before moving to London where she has been based for most of her professional career. With an MA in Philosophy from Aberdeen University, she subsequently took her MBA at Middlesex University. She was also awarded an honorary degree by Middlesex University to acknowledge her role in pioneering internet services in the UK.

Karen’s first job was in advertising sales for the Aberdeen Press and Journal before moving into marketing. She held a number of marketing positions, both client and agency side. She specialised in Telecoms, Media and Technology, working in the mobile communications sector before joining AOL as Vice President for Marketing in the start-up team. Being at the heart of the development of the internet industry was an extraordinary time bringing together the many facets of her expertise in consumer marketing, billing and research to deliver innovative new products which rapidly turned AOL into the market leader. Key to that success was the building of diverse teams that focused on true, actionable customer insight, making technology easy, useful and accessible for mass markets. Karen went on to become CEO of AOL UK and President of AOL Europe responsible for millions of customers and thousands of staff across Europe. She subsequently served on the board of Vodafone UK as Director for Online.

In her non-executive career Karen has served on the board of UBM, an international media group that included PR Newswire and a leading global exhibition business with operations in Europe and South America. UBM also built extensive operations in China and has subsequently merged with Informa. Karen is currently the Non-Executive Chairperson for Outplay Entertainment, a VC-backed social media games company based in Dundee, and a Non-Executive Director on the board of Stagecoach Group plc. She has extensive experience serving on board committees.

Karen has always been active in developing female talent, has mentored extensively and is a speaker on leadership issues.

Declared Interests

Declared Interests
Start date on Court 1 August 2020
Employment  See Directorships
  1. Non-Executive Director Stagecoach Group plc.
  2. Non-Executive Chairperson Outplay Entertainment

(Both paid)

Other pecuniary interests None
Any other disclosure

Postgrad student at Birkbeck University for year 21-22

Related parties None
Register Last Updated 17/09/2021