Successor to Bevan

Government adviser Thiam takes over at helm of SCDI

Sara Thiam

Sara Thiam: ‘passionate about Scotland’s ability to innovate’


The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has appointed Sara Thiam, a member of the Scottish Government’s newly-formed Infrastructure Commission, as its new chief executive.

Ms Thiam, who is currently the Scotland director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, is expected to focus the think tank around skills, technology and tackling climate change.

She succeeds Mark Bevan who stepped down last August after just 12 months in the post.

“In common with other countries around the world Scotland faces unprecedented environmental, demographic, mobility, educational and technological challenges,” she said.

“Ensuring our people have the right skills and knowledge, embracing digital technology and tackling climate change hold the key to driving a much-needed surge in productivity and sustainable economic prosperity.

With change comes opportunity and I’m passionate about Scotland’s ability to innovate. Directing our talent for innovation to delivering improved economic, social and environmental outcomes will help us compete internationally.

“With continued uncertainty around Brexit affecting inward investment and business confidence, I believe the need for the SCDI and its members to drive forward a new agenda which delivers economic prosperity and supports all our people, businesses and communities to thrive is greater than ever.”

As manager of the Glasgow Edinburgh Collaboration Initiative, a partnership of both cities and Scottish Enterprise, Ms Thiam championed projects for economic prosperity and helped make the case for extending the high-speed rail line (HS2) to Scotland as Chair of Transport Scotland’s High Speed Rail Promotion group.

She believes that the not-for-profit SCDI is uniquely placed to contribute to the debate, stating: “SCDI has a unique and diverse range of members across private, public and the third sector spanning the length and breadth of Scotland. It is to that membership where I will look for inspiration and fresh ideas on building a more competitive and inclusive economy.”

The new CEO, who take up her post in June, says that infrastructure and inward investment will be major themes and has pledged to work with members to ensure the organisation reflects fully the diversity of Scotland’s economy and society.

SCDI chairman Ian Wall said: “Sara stands out as a natural communicator with a passion to increase and share knowledge on things that matter to the people of Scotland. Her track record spans the public, private and third sectors at local, national and EU level and demonstrates an ability to bring people and ideas together. These skills will help SCDI and its members to continue to lead the debate on, and contribute to, Scotland’s economy and society for the benefit of all.”

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