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Dunlop in surprise exit from Scottish Enterprise

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Steve Dunlop, right, with Lord Smith (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Enterprise CEO Steve Dunlop is to step down after just two and a half years running the country’s principal economic development agency.

His departure comes amid more speculation of a shake-up in the organisation’s operations.

Mr Dunlop has led a shift in the organisation’s strategy, putting a stronger focus on economic growth that empowers communities and on investing in entrepreneurs and enterprising businesses.

However, there have been whispers that, notwithstanding the demands placed on the agency to deal with the pandemic, access to services has been difficult.

In June last year Mr Dunlop told a business gathering that he suffered from “imposter syndrome” and a fear of failure but was determined to drive through his new agenda for the agency.

Confirming his resignation, Mr Dunlop said: “Throughout my career I’ve always prided myself on knowing when the time is right to move on and let new and fresh perspectives come to the fore. Now is that time.

“I am proud of all the roles I have held during my 35 years of public service but none more so than this one.

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“I am particularly proud of the work we have done to build new places and create jobs in parts of Scotland that need it most, and the role we have played in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The commitment, energy and passion of the whole team to protect jobs over the past six months has been humbling to be part of.”

Scottish Enterprise chairman Lord Smith said: “I have had the privilege of seeing at first hand Steve’s passionate commitment to serve Scotland and to create economic growth that benefits everyone living in Scotland.

“Under his collaborative leadership, Scottish Enterprise has made huge strides towards its vision of an economy that works for everyone.

“That task has inevitably been made harder by the impact of COVID, but Steve has placed Scottish Enterprise at the heart of the economic response, working with partners to get critical funds quickly and efficiently into the hands of businesses that can protect or create good jobs.

“I would like to put on record my heartfelt thanks to Steve for all he has done and extend my very best wishes for the future.”

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Steve has led significant changes at Scottish Enterprise and set it on a journey of transformation that has made it a more collaborative, open and innovative organisation and which has cemented its vital future contribution to Scotland’s economy.

“Under his leadership, Scottish Enterprise has delivered on all its targets and become much more focused on ensuring economic development benefits everyone in Scotland.

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“I have greatly valued the unstinting support and advice that I have received from Steve, particularly over the past few months as we have tackled the economic impact of COVID-19.

“I want to thank Steve for his contribution and look forward to continuing to work with him until his departure to do all we can to support businesses and protect jobs at this critical time.”

Plans to recruit and appoint a new chief executive are being developed with the Scottish Government. Interim measures to bridge the gap between Mr Dunlop’s departure and a permanent successor being in post will be announced in due course.

Comment: FinTech champion Ingledew would be an option for Scottish Enterprise

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