Mactaggart breaks silence on exiting SNIB
Her first comments on her departure were issued as it emerged a second senior official has left the Scottish National Investment Bank. Bill McGowan, the general counsel, departed after only 17 months.
The abrupt exit of chief executive Mactaggart a week ago has prompted questions in parliament, but neither the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon nor Finance Secretary Kate Forbes have explained why she departed.
Willie Watt, the chairman of the bank, is expected to be called to face a committee of MSPs to give evidence.
Ms Mactaggart last night released a statement saying it had been a difficult decision to resign but she had done so for “personal reasons”.
She did not elaborate on those reasons but expressed her pride in what had been achieved since in launched in November 2020.
“My decision to resign from my position as chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately it was made for personal reasons,” she said.
“I am extremely proud of everything I achieved while I was the bank’s chief executive, including: launching a bank in the midst of a global pandemic while working remotely; setting its investment strategy; and, establishing its investment portfolio.
“I am of course, most proud of the incredible team of talented individuals that the bank now has in place, all bound by a common purpose to deliver investment to businesses and projects connected to Scotland to support the Bank’s missions.
“It was a privilege to be given the challenge of launching the Scottish National Investment Bank and being its inaugural chief executive and I wish the team I have built all the best for the future.
“I am considering a number of opportunities and looking forward to spending some more time with my young family in the meantime.”
A statement from the bank said: “Eilidh Mactaggart resigned for personal reasons and as a matter of policy, we do not comment on any individual employee matters.”
Chief financial officer Sarah Roughead was announced as chief executive while the board looks for a permanent replacement.
Ms Mactaggart received a £37,375 bonus for her work in the period between the bank’s formal start in November 2020 and the end of its financial year in March 2021.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross last week demanded answers to the CEO’s departure, saying the bank would be responsible for £2 billion of public money and information of this sort should not be withheld. He questioned the timing of her departure just days before Ms Forbes delivered her 10-year economic strategy. Ms Sturgeon insisted the timing was a coincidence.
Liz Smith, the Tory finance spokeswoman, said: “Less than 18 months after its launch, there appears to be chaos at the heart of the Scottish National Investment Bank.
“The SNIB is a hugely important financial institution, responsible for very large sums of taxpayers’ money, and that is why we need to know the full facts about the current situation.
“It is why I have written to the convener of the finance committee, Kenny Gibson MSP, to ask that the committee takes evidence from the SNIB chairman, Willie Watt, as soon as possible.”
Mr McGowan also left last month and he has a new role in the insurance sector.