Appointment of Non-Executive Board Members to Department of Finance

Date published: 27 September 2023

The Department of Finance has announced the appointment of two Non-Executive Board Members.


Departmental Boards play a key role in providing the collective strategic and operational leadership for the department. Non-Executive Board Members are recruited to bring an external and independent perspective.

The Department of Finance’s Board is supported by an Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. Given the strategic importance of these functions,

Joan McEwan has been appointed as a member of the Departmental Board, Chair of the Departmental Audit and Risk Committee, and Chair of NISRA’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Olwen Laird has been appointed as a member of the Departmental Board, a Member of the Department’s People and Resources Committee, a Member of the Departmental Audit and Risk Committee, and a Member of NISRA’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Renumeration for Non-Executive Board Members is £500 per day plus expenses. The expected time commitment is currently 25 days annually (under review).
  2. Details of the responsibilities of the department can be found at About the Department | Department of Finance (
  3. Joan McEwan is the Associate Director for Policy and Public Affairs for Marie Curie in Northern Ireland. She has experience of working in partnership with the public and third sectors across health and social care in a range of strategic areas to improve health outcomes for local people. Her background in banking has provided her with extensive experience of corporate governance, risk, and financial management. She is currently a Non-Executive Director for the Department of Education (due to step down November 2023) and a Trustee for older people’s charity, Engage with Age.
  4. Olwen Laird has served for 5 years as the Chief Executive of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland during which time she has worked to lead and oversee the running of the organisation in support the Police Ombudsman’s delivery of his/her statutory duty. Prior to this Olwen had served for approximately 15 years as Director of Corporate Services for the Police Ombudsman, with particular responsibility for Corporate Governance matters. She had previously headed the finance function in two further and higher education colleges and worked for a time in the Northern Ireland Audit Office. Previously she has served as a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Northern Ireland Prison Service and previously as a member of the Audit and Risk Committee for the Compensation Agency. Olwen also has also served as trustee of a number of charitable organisations in Northern Ireland. She is a fellowship member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and has an MSc in Executive Leadership from Ulster University.
  5. These appointments have been made on merit and political activity played no part in the selection process. All appointees have declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  6. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or email
  7. To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:
  1. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.



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