Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is reorganising its responsibilities and will, in future, focus on three key objectives in order to deliver sustainable economic growth in the region.
From April 2008, HIE will concentrate on assisting high-growth businesses and sectors, improving regional competitiveness as well as strengthening communities.
Pursuing these priorities, says HIE chief executive Sandy Cumming, will enable the agency to help deliver the new Government Economic Strategy announced by Finance Secretary John Swinney in November of last year.
From April 2008 the organisation’s eight current operational groupings will be reduced to five.
These are: strengthening communities (director: John Watt); regional competitiveness (director: Alex Paterson); strategic planning (director:
Sandy Brady); corporate services and finance (director: Forbes Duthie and, operations (director: Douglas Yule).
Area teams, working under the generic HIE name, will be maintained in each of HIE’s current local enterprise company areas.
In order to assist closer working with local authorities in the Highlands and Islands, HIE operations will be managed by three regional directors, each reporting to operations director Douglas Yule.
These areas will be – Highland, to include the HIE offices in Thurso, Golspie, Portree, Fort William and the Inner Moray Firth; West, to include Stornoway, Lionacleit, and Lochgilphead, and East to include Lerwick, Kirkwall, Forres and Buckie. Charlotte Wright, currently area director of HIE Lochaber, will become regional director (Highland); Donnie Macaulay, currently area director for HIE Innse Gall will become regional director
(west) and Carroll Buxton, currently area director of HIE Caithness and Sutherland, will be regional director (east).
Ken Abernethy, currently area director of HIE Argyll and the Islands, takes on a new role as HIE special projects director, assisting the agency to intensify its focus on larger scale, high growth business development.
Robert Muir, currently area director of HIE Skye and Wester Ross will become area manager for Portree and Fort William area offices. New managers for HIE teams in Lochgilphead, Stornoway and Thurso will be recruited in the near future.
HIE will continue to seek to share premises and services with partner organisations. This includes pursuing opportunities to make its administrative provision available to other agencies, such as inviting partners to share the services provided by HIE’s data processing centre in Benbecula.
HIE chief executive Sandy Cumming said: “These management changes are absolutely the right ones to equip this agency with the best structure to take forward the Government economic strategy.
“The Scottish Government has made it clear that HIE should focus wholly on our areas of highest expertise – sustainable economic growth and strengthening communities.
“We are determined to promote these in the most effective way possible and I’m confident these proposals will enable us to fulfill this remit through some excellent results in the years ahead.
“HIE staff are highly skilled and committed to the success of this region and I know that we are all looking forward to being part of Scotland’s ambitious economic future.”