MAGNUS Magnusson started in the chair and finished two terms.
Not Mastermind's rather functional looking piece of office furniture but the arguably hotter seat which is the chairmanship of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Now the Scottish Government is looking for somebody to follow the trail blazed by the celebrated Icelander. Andrew Thin is due to step down shortly, after seven years. He has completed two three-year terms and was asked to do half a third because of civil service reorganisation.
Mr Thin was only the third chairman since the body was created more than 20 years ago by the amalgamation of the Nature Conservancy Council and the Countryside Commission.
It was the second chairman, John Markland, who oversaw the most turbulent period in the agency's history This included the now discredited attempt to cull hedgehogs on the Uists, and the decision by the then Scottish Executive to relocate the SNH HQ from Edinburgh to Inverness.
Being sent up the A9 didn't please many staff but it would now appear to have been the right decision, given the nature of the agency's work.
The pay for the chairman's job is decent, currently more than £4200 a month for a commitment of around 12 days. But the downside is that the successful applicant will almost certainly have to take a public kicking every so often.
That's what governments of all parties expect from their leading quangoteers. They should offer advice on an issue. Then they should be prepared to be the target for the resulting outrage from the community/interest group most affected. This allows ministers to remain aloof and well-insulated until they finally announce a decision saying their hands were tied by the advice they received.
The problem for the SNH chairman is it is often the European Habitats Directive on which it has to advise ministers.
Certainly, a public perception of SNH persists that it is a collection of scientists hell-bent on preventing any job-creating development if it comes within half a mile of a rare fungus or a ground-nesting black throated warbler, not to mention a peat bog.
In the case of the Sound of Barra it was sandbanks and reefs which led it to being earmarked as a Special Area of Conservation outraging local fishermen.
A while ago a rumour gained currency that SNH was blocking the building of a golf course on Jura. To many it was all too credible, and some may still believe it. But in fact the agency had commended the golf plan .
So it probably would be as well if ministers didn't install an out-and-out boffin in the SNH chair. Indeed, Andrew Thin himself told The Herald he didn't think his successor had to be a scientist or even a nature conservationist.
Ministers also say they want as broad a field of applicants as possible. It remains to be seen whether it will be broad enough for them to correct the glaring gender imbalance on SNH's board, where currently there is one woman to eight men.
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