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McKinlay replacement

Swift appointment as Sharp handed reins of Scottish Golf

High earner: McKinlay (pic: SNS Group)

Scottish Golf has wasted little time in replacing former chief executive Andrew McKinlay, with Karin Sharp being handed the reins.

Sharp will lead the organisation as chief operating officer following yesterday’s shock resignation of McKinlay after just two years in the role.

Despite Scottish Golf saying McKinlay’s exit was due to cost-cutting measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the speed of the appointment will raise further questions over whether or not he was forced out.

Sharp was named as chief operating officer in 2015 having worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland for 23 years.

“Now more than ever we need strong leadership backed up by robust actionable plans,” said Scottish Golf chair Eleanor Cannon.

“Karin has outstanding operational pedigree gained through various leadership roles within RBS where her career spanned 23 years.”

Sharp, along with chief commercial officer Iain Forsyth, has taken a voluntary 20% pay cut.

McKinlay, a former chief operating officer at the Scottish FA, stepped aside following “very difficult decisions regarding income and expenditure”, according to the governing body for the amateur game in Scotland.

He was the highest earner on the pay roll but a squeeze on finances triggered the surprise change at the top.

His exit means that chair Eleanor Cannon has now seen three chief executives leave under her watch in less than five years, with Blane Dodds following the long-serving Hamish Grey out the door.

“Scottish Golf, like all businesses and indeed golf clubs across the country, is having to assess its business model,” said a Scottish Golf statement.

“The governing body has had to make some very difficult decisions regarding income and expenditure, to ensure sustainability in the current circumstances.

“To this end, our chief executive, Andrew McKinlay, has decided that he should step aside in order to help the organisation come through this situation.

“He leaves having worked with the team on a revised structure that will be fit for purpose when we emerge from the national lockdown.”

Prior to his move into golf, McKinlay had spent six years at the SFA, including two years as chief operating officer, and four months as the interim chief executive.

His appointment as Dodds’ replacement in February 2018 raised eyebrows in the game.

Dodds resigned in October 2017 after 16 months in charge to take up a similar role with Tennis Scotland.

McKinlay’s resignation came just months after the exit of development director Ross Duncan and Louise Burke, who was head of operations.

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