HIE appoints new chief executive

Stuart Black. Pic Gillian Frampton

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has announced the appointment of Dr Stuart Black as its next chief executive.

Dr Black will take up the post – which has an annual salary of between £114,000 and £124,000 – in January 2022.

He has led the economic and community development agency’s Moray team since February 2020. Earlier this year, he took on additional responsibility as HIE’s lead area manager, co-ordinating the work of eight locally-based teams around the region.

Dr Black previously worked at HIE between 1996 and 2008 – and it was reported that he received a pay off of £138,000 before leaving for a senior post at Highland Council.

He began his career with the University of Aberdeen, before joining HIE for the first time in as head of economics. He went on to hold several posts covering different parts of the organisation’s remit. These included local enterprise company chief executive, director of strengthening communities, and director of global connections.

From 2008 to 2020, he was a member of the senior team at the Highland Council, initially as director of planning and development, and later as executive chief officer for transformation and economy.

Originally from Inverness, Dr Black is a graduate of the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, where he gained a doctorate in town and regional planning.

Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise has a vital role to play in supporting businesses and communities through a sustainable economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and helping to drive forward an ambitious agenda of economic transformation.

“I am delighted to welcome Stuart Black to his new post. He is already held in high esteem across communities and businesses because of his previous work in the Highlands. I have had the privilege of working with him in the past, and I look forward to strengthening our working relationship.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Stuart Black and his colleagues in Highlands and Islands Enterprise to ensure communities and businesses across the whole of this large and diverse region are supported to build resilience and achieve their full potential.”

Stuart Black said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as HIE’s chief executive at this key time for our region and the whole country. It will be a privilege to be able to lead HIE and its committed team of colleagues based across the Highlands and Islands.

“I aim to ensure that HIE and our partners enable all parts of the Highlands and Islands to recover swiftly from the economic impacts of COVID, focusing on net zero, fair work and ensuring that no part of the region is left behind.

“We are here to serve the communities and businesses of this region and I am very much looking forward to taking on this new role.”

The recruitment panel for the post of HIE chief executive comprised: chair of HIE Alistair Dodds; HIE board member Paddy Crerar; chair of the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board Nora Senior, and Scottish Government director of Covid-19 recovery Mary McAllan.