Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


HIE Chief Executive To Take On Green Energy Role

13th February 2010

Photograph of HIE Chief Executive To Take On Green Energy Role

Sandy Cumming CBE, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for the past nine and a half years, plans to leave the organisation next month and take on a new, national role.

Mr Cumming (57), is the Scottish Government's choice to help spearhead the development of renewable offshore energy across the public sector in Scotland.

The new post will involve working closely with Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, and liaising between the Government and relevant public sector bodies - including local authorities, enterprise agencies and the Crown Estate - to ensure effective collaboration on a range of offshore green energy projects.

It is a one-year secondment, lasting until spring 2011. Following this, Mr Cumming plans to pursue other opportunities in the public and voluntary sectors.

The process of recruiting a new Chief Executive for Highlands and Islands Enterprise will begin immediately.

Born in Dingwall, Ross-shire, raised on a farm in Strathconon and schooled at Dingwall Academy, Sandy Cumming has worked for HIE and its predecessor body for almost all of his career to date.

He joined the Highlands and Islands Development Board (HIDB) in 1973, after graduating from Edinburgh University with a BSc Honours degree in Agricultural Economics.

During his time with HIE and the HIDB, Mr Cumming has held a variety of key posts, including Head of Natural Resources, Director of Growing Businesses, and five years in charge of the local enterprise company serving Ross and Cromarty in the 1990s.

Taking on the new Government role will resolve a potential conflict of interest for the Chief Executive, whose home neighbours Beechwood Farm, Inverness, a 215-acre site which HIE owns and plans to develop over several years as an education and business park.

Mr Cumming himself declared his interest as soon as HIE began exploring the development of the Inverness Campus project in 2008. Because of this, he has played no part in any discussion or decision regarding the project to date.

However, that could not be a permanent solution, because, as HIE's statutory accountable officer, the Chief Executive is required to take a comprehensive overview of all of HIE's operations.

Both HIE and the Scottish Government made strenuous attempts to identify a suitable governance solution, before concluding that Mr Cumming could not continue in his present post while the risk of a conflict of interest remained.

"Offshore renewable energy presents Scotland with one of its greatest ever economic opportunities and I am delighted at the prospect of playing a part in developing the sector over the next 12 months," said Mr Cumming.

"The Highlands and Islands is a special place and it has been my great privilege to serve the area and its people for more than 35 years.

"I genuinely believe that being Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise is one of the best jobs in Scotland.

"The organisation has achieved a massive amount since it was established, and it still has a great deal to contribute to the success of this region and of Scotland.

"Whoever takes over as my successor can be sure they are inheriting a great organisation with a dedicated and ambitious workforce."

John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, said:"I want to put on record the thanks of the Scottish Government for the outstanding contribution Sandy Cumming has made to the economy of the Highlands and Islands over a substantial number of years.

"The proposal that will see Mr Cumming now spearheading the development of Scotland's vast off-shore renewables potential will ensure that he continues to play a significant role in the economic development of the Highlands and Islands and indeed the whole of Scotland. In that respect, I welcome this move as a positive outcome for all concerned.

"Although I have no doubt he will be greatly missed at HIE, I look forward to Mr Cumming joining this exciting push to harness the vast potential economic and environmental benefits of clean, green energy."

William Roe, Chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, described Mr Cumming as 'an exemplary leader' who would be greatly missed at HIE.

"Sandy has devoted his working life to the advancement of the Highlands and Islands," said Mr Roe.

"He joined HIE's predecessor in the early 1970s as a young man determined to make a positive difference to the region where he was born and raised, and he has never lost sight of that purpose in his journey to the very top of HIE.

"As Chief Executive, he has proved himself time and again to be an exemplary leader who is universally liked as well as respected by all those who have worked with him. That's a rare distinction indeed.

"The present circumstances which make it necessary for Sandy to stand down as HIE Chief Executive could not have been foreseen or prevented.

"It's a testament to his abilities, as well as the regard in which he is held that he has been chosen for such an important new role on the national stage.

"Sandy leaves with the best wishes of all the staff and Board members who have had the pleasure of working with him over the years."

HIE's present Acting Chief Executive, Sandy Brady, will remain in that position until a permanent replacement is appointed.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Highlands and Islands Enterprise Look To Hi-tech To Improve Fish IndustryThumbnail for article : Highlands and Islands Enterprise Look To Hi-tech To Improve Fish Industry
The transnational project, called ‘DisruptAqua', is worth €155,000 and is being supported by the European Union's Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA) 2014-2020.   As the demand for fish is increasing, the innovative use of existing and new technologies is required.  
Report Highlights Importance Of Social Enterprises To Scotland's Rural EconomyThumbnail for article : Report Highlights Importance Of Social Enterprises To Scotland's Rural Economy
Social enterprises are a critical part of the rural economy contributing £250m in the Highlands and Islands and South of Scotland areas.   This is according to new figures released by HIE and South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP).  
Wellness Tourism: A market you can't afford to miss!Thumbnail for article : Wellness Tourism:  A market you can't afford to miss!
Wellness Tourism is worth over £500bn worldwide, and has grown more than twice as fast as tourism overall.   Join us for the latest series of ‘TUNE INTO TOURISM', and explore how you can capitalise on this growing trend.  
£465k Digital And Innovation Support Programme Announced
Businesses in the Highlands and Islands looking to develop their use of digital technology and innovation are set to benefit from a new £465,000 support programme.   Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) announced the investment on Monday 30 September 2019 at a digital collaboration event to launch the refreshed #hellodigital facility in An Lochran, Inverness.  
EU delegation visit Highland social enterprises
Fourteen delegates from organisations across Europe that are tackling socio-economic challenges will visit the Highlands this week.   The visit is part of the next project meeting of the Support Network for Social Entrepreneurs (SuNSE) and will take place during 1-3 October in Inverness and Sutherland.  
Survey Finds Majority Of Highlands And Islands Businesses Use Fair Work Practices
The latest Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Business Panel Survey published today (10 September) shows that 89% of companies across the region are offering benefits such as competitive levels of pay, training and skills development, flexible working and paying the living wage.   Over a thousand businesses across the region took part in the latest survey conducted between 10 June and 8 July.  
Public Invited To Share Views On Satellite Launch Site Proposals
Plans to create a spaceport that will launch communications satellites into orbit from the Moine peninsula in Sutherland are set to be unveiled for discussion at public meetings over the next two months.   Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is backing the £17.3m project to design and build Space Hub Sutherland, has today (Wednesday 4 September) lodged a proposal of application notice with the Highland Council.  
Social business programme launches across the Highlands and Islands
People with a business idea that will benefit their local community or environment will soon have access to a new programme of support, being launched across the Highlands and Islands.   Known as the Social Start-Up School, the innovative programme will be delivering four locally focused initiatives.  
HIE Sells Centre For Health Science In InvernessThumbnail for article : HIE Sells Centre For Health Science In Inverness
Highlands and Islands Enterprise has sold the to the University of the Highlands and Islands in a deal worth £9.83m.   Funded by a loan from Scottish Funding Council, the sale will consolidate and help further develop the university's School of Health, Social Care and Life Sciences.  
Lease option agreed for Space Hub Sutherland
The owners of land earmarked for the Space Hub Sutherland development on the Moine Peninsula have agreed a lease option with developer, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).   Representatives of Melness Crofters Estate (MCE) and HIE signed the agreement yesterday (Wednesday 31 July).  

[Printer Friendly Version]