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Scotland-backed bank boss comes clean on sudden departure

Eilidh Mactaggart, resigned suddenly from her role as executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) . She is pictured here in Edinburgh with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the bank's chairman, Willie Watt.
Eilidh Mactaggart, resigned suddenly from her role as executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) . She is pictured here in Edinburgh with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the bank's chairman, Willie Watt.

The boss of a government-funded bank in Scotland has said her sudden departure was a “difficult decision” but made for “personal reasons”.

Eilidh Mactaggart, who had been the chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) for 18 months, left her role abruptly last week with no reason given.

The resignation came just days after finance minister Kate Forbes unveiled the Scottish Government’s 10-year economic strategy.

The lack of any explanation caused the Scottish Government to come under increasing pressure to explain Ms Mactaggart’s reason for leaving.

Mystery deepens

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon rejected a claim that the head of the SNIB had resigned in relation to the new economic strategy.

Speaking at First Ministers questions, Ms Sturgeon refused to address the reasons for Ms Mactaggart’s resignation, citing her right to privacy.

She said it was “not a matter for Scottish Government ministers, it’s a matter for the board of the Scottish National Investment Bank” but admitted the government had been told in February Ms Mactaggart would be leaving the bank “imminently”.

Ms Sturgeon added it is for the Scottish Government to ensure that the “bank was performing well”.

She added: “And the bank is performing exceptionally well.”

Douglas Ross MP MSP, leader of the Scottish Conservatives

Conservative leader Douglas Ross had claimed the timing was “suspicious”, with the National Strategy for Economy Transformation being announced on Tuesday.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes had previously refused to answer questions from journalists and MSPs about the move earlier in the week.

Bank’s £2 billion green mission

The Scottish government has allocated £2bn over 10 years to help the bank support green jobs as Scotland makes a transition to a net zero economy.

The bank has already distributed £200 million to 13 projects and employs 50 staff.

Aberdeen Harbour Board recently announced it it had taken a £30m loan from the bank to bolster the finances of the South Harbour expansion.

Aberdeen South harbour expansion development at Nigg Bay. Picture by Kenny Elrick 28/10/2021

In a statement, Ms Mactaggart said: “My decision to resign from my position as chief executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately it was made for personal reasons.

“I am extremely proud of everything I achieved while I was the bank’s chief executive, including: launching a bank in the midst of a global pandemic while working remotely; setting its investment strategy; and, establishing its investment portfolio.

“I am of course, most proud of the incredible team of talented individuals that the bank now has in place, all bound by a common purpose to deliver investment to businesses and projects connected to Scotland to support the Bank’s missions.

“It was a privilege to be given the challenge of launching the Scottish National Investment Bank and being its inaugural chief executive and I wish the team I have built all the best for the future.

“I am considering a number of opportunities and looking forward to spending some more time with my young family in the meantime.”

Ms Mactaggart was chosen to lead the bank in April 2020, but resigned with immediate effect on 25 February.

Chief financial officer Sarah Roughead was announced as chief executive while the board looks for a permanent replacement.

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