Scottish Enterprise (SE) said yesterday it was entering a “new phase” after chief executive Lena Wilson announced she was quitting the economic development quango.
Ms Wilson, who has led the organisation for nearly eight years, cited a desire to seek “a fresh set of challenges”.
SE was unable to confirm exactly when her actual departure will happen.
The outgoing CEO said: “It has been a real honour and privilege to work with so many talented people who want to make a positive difference for Scotland, but it is now time for me to embark on a fresh set of challenges.”
Chairman Bob Keiller – previously chief executive of Aberdeen-based Wood Group – said a transition plan, including the appointment of a successor, was under way.
He added: “Lena has done an outstanding job as CEO, driving a much more international mind-set across the whole organisation and overseeing record levels of innovation and growth among the companies SE works with as a result.
“I would like to thank her for her leadership and her service over many years.
“A plan to appoint a successor is being developed and details of this will be released in due course.”
Praising Ms Wilson for her contribution to the Scottish economy, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I would like to thank Lena for her leadership and dedicated service over many years, and for the significant difference she has made to Scottish Enterprise’s operations both in Scotland and on the international stage.
“She has been a committed leader for Scottish Enterprise and a champion for Scottish business, and I wish her the best in her future endeavours.”
Economy Secretary Keith Brown added: “As we look ahead to developing a new approach to delivering continued economic growth and business support, Lena’s decision to move on at this point will enable a new chief executive to be appointed to take the organisation into a new phase of its work.”
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “Lena Wilson brought a lot of experience and expertise to her role at Scottish Enterprise and her leadership qualities will be missed.
“An important part of her work in the last couple of years has been her leadership of the Energy Jobs Taskforce, which was set up by Scottish Government ministers in response to the oil and gas industry downturn, and where Lena Wilson has done the best she can in responding to a very difficult situation.
“It was disappointing that the Scottish Government took so long to acknowledge the depth of the downturn. Without Lena Wilson’s leadership, it is doubtful if it would have made much difference at all.
“It is critically important that SNP ministers give high priority to the future leadership of both Scottish Enterprise and the Energy jobs Taskforce, and I will be tabling parliamentary questions to seek assurances about their future plans.”