Agency boss leaving after eight years

Wilson to step down as Scottish Enterprise CEO

Lena Wilson
Lena Wilson: stepping down (photo: Terry Murden)

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson has announced that she is to step down after nearly eight years in the job. 

Ms Wilson told staff of her decision this morning.

In a brief statement issued later, she said:  “It has been a real honour and privilege to work with so many talented people who want to make a positive difference for Scotland, but it is now time for me to embark on a fresh set of challenges.”

SE Chairman Bob Keiller said: “Lena has done an outstanding job as CEO, driving a much more international mindset across the whole organisation and overseeing record levels of innovation and growth among the companies SE works with as a result.

“I would like to thank her for her leadership and her service over many years.”

He added: “A plan to appoint a successor is being developed and details of this will be released in due course.”

Ms Wilson was one of the highest paid public servants in the UK.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I would like to thank Lena for her leadership and dedicated service over many years, and for the significant difference she has made to Scottish Enterprise’s operations both in Scotland and on the international stage. 

“She has been a committed leader for Scottish Enterprise, a champion for Scottish business and I wish her the best in her future endeavours.”

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Lena Wilson has provided many valued years of service to Scottish Enterprise, to its predecessor organisations and to businesses across Scotland.”

He said she had “worked tirelessly” with partners both domestic and international to improve Scotland’s productivity and help build a globally competitive economy.

Ms Wilson took over from former Ernst & Young accountant Jack Perry who endured a torrid few years trying to restructure the organisation amid political in-fighting over its direction.

In recent years his successor has managed to operate almost entirely below the media radar, although her £200,000 salary – higher than the Prime Minister – was subject to criticism when she took over the job in November 2009.

Three years ago there was more outrage after it emerged she also received £60,000 in fees from a part-time role with a stock market-listed company.

Ms Wilson was promoted into the job at the Glasgow-based agency following a spell as chief operating officer and chief executive of its overseas division Scottish Development International. Between 1998 and 2000, she was a senior adviser to the World Bank in Washington.

She was awarded a CBE in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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