Published: 25th August 2021
The Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG), a member of SYNLAB UK and Ireland today announced the retirement of one of the group’s founders, Managing Director Andy Torrance and the appointment of his successor, Fiona Gosling.
The announcement follows the group’s recent 20th anniversary celebrations, where Andy shared the story of VPG and the secret of the group’s success; customer centricity, people and innovation.
An established and well known expert in veterinary pathology, Andy has been the face of VPG since its inception. When asked to further reflect on his time at VPG, Andy was quick to pay homage to life-long friend and original business partner Mark Diamond, the “business man with a soul” who was in the background but pivotal to the success of the business. Andy commented “Mark took the vision and made it a reality. We couldn’t have achieved what we did without Mark’s entrepreneurialism, risk taking, sheer strength and determination, for which I am thankful.”
When asked what ‘retirement’ looks like, Andy was clear “It’s time to invest some time in my other passions; farming, nature and the restoration of agriculture”. For the next 12 months Andy will focus on developing his two farms, while working on projects with the West Country Rivers Trust and Devon Wildlife to help maintain the natural diversity of the country.
Maintaining links with both VPG and its parent company SYNLAB UK & Ireland, in the future Andy will return to veterinary pathology, working again with his colleagues to support training and the ongoing delivery of a world class pathology service.
Andy’s retirement comes at a time which he describes as “ready for a new energy”. At the end of August he will formally hand over the reins to Fiona Gosling, current Laboratory Director at the Hitchin site.
A Boarded Clinical Pathologist, with a first in both her veterinary degree from Glasgow University and pathology intercalated degree from the Royal Veterinary College, London, Fiona had joined VPG Exeter (formerly TDDS) in 2005 as a work experience student. Amazed by the quality of work being carried out by Andy and the small team there, she returned regularly while undertaking her veterinary degree. Following some time in practice, Fiona quickly realised her passion and future was in pathology and secured a 3 year Residency Program with VPG which included a 3 month funded secondment in Colorado. After passing her ACVP Boards, Fiona very quickly moved into the Laboratory Director’s role at VPG Hitchin, a role she has held for the last 3 years, alongside her position on VPG’s board of directors.
When asked about her key achievements over the past 16 years Fiona commented “Moving into the Laboratory Director’s role at Hitchin, followed very quickly by the SYNLAB UK & Ireland acquisition, took some juggling, but we continued to grow and deliver, for which I would like to thank all of the team at VPG Hitchin”.
In line with the Group’s commitment to customer centricity, people and innovation, Fiona also cited the introduction of PATHPORT (VPG’s customer portal), supporting the Residency Academy and through VPG’s partnership with Scopio Labs, the introduction of the first digital cytology platform in the UK as other achievements she is particularly proud of.
In her new role as Managing Director, Fiona will initially be focused on engaging with staff and customers to ensure the business is on track in terms of deliverables and meeting client needs, along with continued harmonisation across all VPG laboratories, acting as one company with common goals.
Overarching this and something she is particularly passionate about, Fiona will maintain a focus on equality and diversity across VPG “ensuring individuals are treated fairly and equally”. Externally, Fiona will continue to ensure animals are at the very heart of everything VPG does, delivering high quality diagnostics for animals, helping vets to provide the best possible care they can for their patients.
On Fiona’s appointment Andy commented “I’m delighted Fiona has been appointed as the new Managing Director of VPG – she is an exceptional individual. Women are not well enough represented at the top of the veterinary profession; exceptional people need to be in exceptional positions”.
In relation to her skills as a Managing Director Andy commented “Fiona is the right person and this is the right time for her to move into this position. She is passionate, innovative, engaged with the international community and a brilliant pathologist … which helps! Good with people and with a driving determination, for the past 3 years she has managed a high-pressure laboratory and succeeded”.
Fundamental in launching Fiona’s career and inspiring her passion for pathology, Fiona commented “Andy has taught and mentored me to become the leader I am today, which is truly committed to serving our incredible staff ensuring their needs are met first. He has inspired and coached so many people over the years and his wealth of experience, knowledge and generosity has resulted in the immense success of the VPG. He is one of a kind and admired by many. I am committed to continuing his legacy and hope I am able to fill his very large shoes. A huge thank you to both him and the team at Hitchin for their support, which has been fundamental in my securing this role.”