Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.
Charlotte Wright, HIE Chief Executive 


Picture Credit Malcolm McCurrach/HIE
Charlotte Wright, HIE Chief Executive Picture Credit Malcolm McCurrach/HIE

HIE “more relevant than ever,” says new chief executive

Brexit has made the role of north development quango Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) “more relevant than ever,” its newly appointed chief executive has said.

Charlotte Wright, whose appointment was announced yesterday, said the agency had a “critical” part to play in maintaining the region’s prosperity amid economic uncertainty caused by the UK’s decision to quit the EU.

Ms Wright, who joined HIE 20 years ago and held the chief executive’s post in an acting capacity since last August, emerged successful from from a field of more than 50 applicants for the £108,181-£118,480-a-year job.

Health board finance chief joins HIE

In the autumn the agency became embroiled in a furious political row after Deputy First Minister John Swinney suggested its local board would be scrapped and replaced by an “over-arching” Scotland-wide committee.

The proposal, branded “blatant centralisation,” by its critics, followed a review of Scotland’s enterprise and skills services announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.  But a rethink saw the 12-strong HIE board reprieved in March, with Economy Secretary Keith Brown announcing it would retain its powers, despite plans to press ahead with the new national oversight panel.

Ms Wright said HIE was focused on ensuring the region’s businesses and communities remained “resilient” through and beyond Brexit.

She said:  “The best thing we can do is make sure that we are supporting businesses, not just with money, but with advice and strategic thinking. We are looking at wider markets, but the rest of the UK is a major market and always has been.

“Our role has to be to try and support businesses and communities through a period that will be characterised by uncertainty.”

She added: “The role of HIE and other enterprise agencies, along with Skills Development Scotland is more relevant than ever.  It is really critical at this time.”

Ms Wright said morale in the agency had not been hit by the recent political row, because staff had always been confident that HIE had done a good job.

“With a track record of 50-plus years, I suppose we feel we have stood the test of time,” she said.

“But we also need to be about the future and not just about the past.  My message in that year was that the important thing was to be seen to be delivering on the ground  for businesses and communities.

“I have to say it was great to see that there was such an outpouring of support for a public agency.  We do appreciate the feedback we have had from people.”

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said:  “Charlotte has proven herself as an exceptional leader who is absolutely committed to making a difference in every part of the region, and I am certain she will be a highly effective and inspiring chief executive for years to come,” said Mr Ewing.”

HIE chairman Professor Lorne Crerar described Ms Wright as “the ideal person to lead HIE into a new chapter.”