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Failure to find SE chair sees Mackie’s stay extended

Willie Mackie
Willie Mackie: staying on

The Scottish Government has extended the term of Scottish Enterprise interim chairman Willie Mackie until the end of the year after faling to find a permanent replacement almost two years after the departure of Lord Smith.

The announcement comes just weeks after Wellbeing Economy Secretary Mairk McAllan admitted in an interview with Daily Business that an April deadline for announcing an appointment would be missed. She said she was looking again at the vacancy and the role.

Today it was announced Mr Mackie will stay on until 31 December. By then he will have been ‘interim’ chair for two and a half years, just shy of Lord Smith’s three-year term.

The government said the job description will “reflect the specialist skills required to oversee implementation of the agency’s new strategic approach” launched by the First Minister in January. 

The post was advertised ahead of Lord Smith’s departure in July 2022, but it is thought a preferred candidate turned it down. It was re-advertised last October with an expectation of an announcement on 1 April this year.

It comes with a pay package of £49,224 for 91 days per year, representing a slight increase on the £49,049 initially offered.

That was 10.2% higher than Lord Smith’s remuneration of £44,520.  There is no expectation of a specific weekly commitment. Reasonable expenses incurred will be reimbursed and the appointment is non-pensionable.

Our interview with Ms McAllan last month

Some observers believe the remuneration is too low to tempt applicants who will be taking on a public and political profile, as well as an economic role.

Even so, previous incumbents have included some of the country’s biggest business names such as Crawford Gillies, a management consultant who has sat on the boards of FTSE 100 companies, Sir Ian Robinson, who was CEO of ScottishPower, and Sir Ian Wood, the oil industry executive.

Mr Mackie, who was not expecting to be standing in the for this length of time, is a former banker. He receives £541 per day for a commitment of 30 days per year.

Ms McAllan said: “Scottish Enterprise plays a key role in driving our economic objectives and my priority is getting the right person for the job.

Mairi McAllan: new approach (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

“I am pleased that Willie Mackie has agreed to extend his role as interim chair as we continue the process to appoint a permanent Chair.

“It is essential that the successful candidate possesses the skills and experience to deliver on the aims set out in the agency’s new strategic approach.

“These clear priorities, which reflect the changing wider financial and public sector landscape, will enable Scottish Enterprise to build on its recent achievements.

“These include creating or safeguarding 75,000 jobs over the past five years, supporting projects expected to deliver £2.5 billion of capital investment and helping maintain Scotland’s position as the most popular UK location outside London for inward investment.”

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