Scottish Enterprise names Robert Smith its new chair

Robert Smith

Veteran Scottish investment banker and business executive Robert Smith, Lord Smith of Kelvin, has been appointed chair of the board at Scottish Enterprise. 

Smith, 75, is currently chair of Dundee-based investment firm Alliance Trust plc and also chair of British Business Bank, IMI plc, Forth Ports Ltd and Clyde Gateway, as well as being Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.

He was chair of Weir Group until 2013 and chair of SSE until 2015. 

The Scottish Enterprise appointment is for three years. It commenced on August 1, 2019, and will end on July 31, 2022. 

The chair of the Scottish Enterprise board receives £44,520 per annum for a time commitment of up to 1.75 days per week.

The appointment is regulated by the UK’s Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay MSP, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Lord Smith of Kelvin into his new position as chair of the Board of Scottish Enterprise.

“Scottish Enterprise plays a vital role in helping to place Scotland’s economy on an upward trajectory, and I know that Lord Smith’s wealth of experience will help ensure the organisation continues to thrive as they embark on their new programme of transformational change.

“I look forward to working together on our shared vision to increase Scotland’s export success, attract more investment and talent, and build a more economically vibrant country.”

Smith said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed chair of Scottish Enterprise.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the organisation following the publication of its ambitious new Strategic Framework and I am confident that my experience, both in business and the public sector boardroom, will help the committed and talented workforce to deliver for Scotland.

“I believe Scottish Enterprise is uniquely positioned to drive a fairer and more inclusive economy, one that will really help families and communities across the length and breadth of the country. 

“I very much look forward to playing my part in helping to achieve that.”

Scottish Enterprise CEO Steve Dunlop said: “We are delighted to welcome Lord Smith of Kelvin as the new chair of Scottish Enterprise.

“Lord Smith’s appointment comes at a critical time not only for our organisation, but for the Scottish economy as we look to collaboratively drive a more inclusive economy that can deliver quality jobs for communities around the country. 

“As one of the UK’s most experienced chairs, Lord Smith will bring vast experience, talent and credibility, and without doubt will help us realise our ambitions – the team at Scottish Enterprise is very much looking forward to working with him …

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Willie Mackie whose leadership has been incredibly valuable in helping set our transformation agenda.”