Viscount Younger’s daughter leaves £2 million will


By Alexander Lawrie

A VISCOUNT’S daughter recruited as a top banking executive by shamed former RBS boss Fred Goodwin has left almost £2 million in her will.

Viscount George Younger’s daughter Joanna Davidson – who died last October aged 50 after a year-long battle against cancer – was head of corporate responsibility for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

She was recruited by then banking boss Goodwin in 2003 to launch a new corporate and social responsibility division.

Ms Davidson’s father – the former Conservative Scottish Secretary of State for Scotland, and ex-RBS chairman, George Younger – also died from cancer in January 2003.

Ms Davidson’s bequest is largely made up with her share of family-owned property, including the family home in the Leckie Estate, Gargunnock, and shares in banking giants RBS, Lloyds TSB and Standard Life.

The wealthy banker has left all of her estate to be split equally among her three children and her husband, John Davidson.

Early life

Born in 1958, Joanna Rosalind Younger was the second child and only daughter of George and Diana Younger.

She was educated at the independent girl’s school Queen Anne’s, in Caversham, Berkshire, and went on to study medieval history at St Andrews University.

Ms Davidson inherited a love of music from both her parents and at university sang and toured Italy with the Renaissance Group.

After graduating from the Fife university in 1980, Ms Davidson was encouraged by her father to go into business where she initially joined paper merchant Wiggins Teape as a management trainee.

She later acted as chief of staff to the company’s chairman, John Worlidge.

After spells with Chitty Food Group as marketing director, and United Auctions, Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers, Ms Davidson was personally head-hunted by Sir Fred Goodwin in 2003 to spearhead RBS’s new corporate and social responsibility division.

The talented businesswoman was also put in charge of editing and publishing the bank’s annual report and numerous other internal publications.

And projects such as the Eco-Schools programme in Edinburgh and Recycle Scotland, in which RBS donated old office furniture to charities and schools, demonstrated her commitment to presenting the bank’s activities in a positive light.

Ms Davidson’s work was recognised when RBS won the 2008 Scotland Plc Sustainability Award and was included in a newly published list of best practice corporate responsibility reporting.

During this time she was also a non-executive director of Shires Investment Trust and a governor at the ultra- exclusive private school, Glenalmond College, Perthshire.


Lord Sanderson of Bowden knew Davidson for many years and sat with her on various boards.

He said: “We were on Shires Investment Trust and United Auctions in Perth together. She brought to board meetings a politely inquisitive mind and a broad intellect.

“I was chairman of the governors of Glenalmond College when she was on the council. There, too, she was a powerful and constructive force.

“She and her husband were much involved with raising funds for the new science buildings and her contributions to that and the improvement of the school were considerable – Joanna was very much a questioning governor.

“She was always good- natured, excellent company and a super character.”

Outside work she enjoyed sailing with family and friends on Loch Melfort in Argyllshire, and in 2001 she acted as principal lady-in-waiting when her father was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Included in Ms Davidson’s total will of £1,990,812.99 was her share in the family home at Easter Leckie, the Leckie Estate and Leckie House, all in Gargunnock, near Stirling.

Furniture and personal effects were estimated at £10,000, while Ms Davidson’s share portfolio included investments in various financial giants such as RBS and Lloyds TSB.

George Younger was a Conservative MP for almost 30 years and served as Secretary of State for Scotland from 1979 to 1986, and Secretary of State for Defence from 1986 to 1989.

He joined RBS as a director later that year and was made Chairman of the bank in 1992.

That same year he was made a life peer, becoming Baron Younger of Ayr, and upon the death of his father in 1997 Younger inherited the family title and became the 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie.

He passed away from cancer in January, 2003, aged 71.

Joanna Rosalind Davidson passed away peacefully at home after facing a year-long battle against cancer on October 27, 2008, aged 50.

She is survived by her second husband, John Davidson, and their three children Lucy, Hamish and Molly.