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Ex-Sun Microsystems boss to take helm

Exclusive: CBI Scotland hires Aitken as new director

Hugh AitkenThe CBI is expected to unveil a controversial industry lobbyist and blue chip technology boss as its new director in Scotland.

Daily Business can reveal that Hugh Aitken, now running a consultancy in America, is poised to be named on Friday as long-serving Iain McMillan’s successor.

His appointment is likely to be seen as evidence that the employers’ group intends to maintain a combative role in the political debate.

The CBI took a battering last year over its botched support for the No campaign in the independence referendum and McMillan was an active advocate for the union.

Aitken is also a vocal supporter of the union and earned a reputation for speaking his mind while head of a number of trade bodies and government working groups in the early years of the Scottish parliament.

He headed up Sun Microsystems in Linlithgow during the 1990’s and early 2000’s and was also chairman of industry lobby group Electronics Scotland.

He was critical of the Labour administration at the time and made headlines after claiming that trying to make progress in a manufacturing think tank made his “head scream”.

He left Scotland in 2011 to work for Microsoft in California and last year attempted to pull together an alliance of global business leaders to support the No campaign.

He was in correspondence with No campaign leader and former Chancellor Alistair Darling, but was also critical of what he called a “lack of a plan”,  calling for the campaign to “step up and be more positive about the union”.

He was appointed a CBE in 2005.

CBI director general John Cridland, who took considerable flak over the body’s registration with the Electoral Commission as a No supporter, is expected to join CBI Scotland chairman John Howie in Glasgow on Friday to announce Aitken’s appointment.

 

 

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