THE salary of Scottish Enterprise's chief executive is surely out of kilter: double that of the organisation's head of economic strategy and five times that of posts advertised in Edinburgh and Glasgow for manufacturing industry advisors at £37-40,000 ("Enterprise chief under fire over fee for 'moonlighting'", The Herald, June 14).
While Lena Wilson must take responsibility along with her board for the pay structure and location of most SE staff, the big differential between the salary of chief executive and other ranks is the legacy of decisions taken by boards appointed under previous political administrations.
Lena Wilson is entitled to receive exactly the same treatment as any other non-executive director of Intertek and if £50,000 is the going rate for turning up to 12 meetings a year, so be it ("Call for inquiry over Scottish Enterprise chief's new role", The Herald, June 12). Nice work if you can get it. I have no idea if she is worth the remuneration but, reading a profile of her published recently, she appears to have had quite a lot of early hands-on experience of taking industry start-ups through testing and accreditation procedures. This seems to be Intertek's main activity.
I would imagine that her overseas experience while working for the World Bank on a career development secondment means that her contributions to board meetings of a company that seems to operate in many overseas locations may be well informed. And who knows what reverse benefits such engagements may bring back to Scottish Enterprise and the wider Scottish economy given that "Chinese walls" have ears?
There is precedent for civil service secondments to boards of private companies. As a Scottish Office civil servant Muir Russell sat for a time in the 1990s on the board of Stagecoach – now one of Scotland's great success stories. As long as measures are in place to deal with any potential conflict of interest, that can be beneficial. Other SE board members drawn from industry and commerce do not participate in decisions where such conflicts may arise but having industrial experience round the table remains central to the agency's success.
Another great Scottish company (the Weir Group) would have gone under in the 1980s without such expertise on the SDA board when George Mathewson orchestrated a restructuring and boiler-makers had a trade union official representing them on that board.
A conflict of interest did arise during the Weir restructuring but Lord Weir withdrew from the court of the Bank of England for the duration of discussions between SDA and the bank, which was part of the "White Knight" consortium the old SDA then brokered. The company survived; and the trade union official who was then on the SDA board (Lord George Robertson, then of the General, Municipal and Boilermakers Union) is now a Weir Group director.
4 Glamis Terrace, Dundee.
IT seems very strange that the Scottish Government should support the proposal that Lena Wilson should take up additional employment with Intertek. She should have a singular focus on helping the recovery of the economy in Scotland and any time, no matter how modest, spent on dealing with business matters in her new part-time role must be a distraction. To suggest that this will make her better at her role with SE is quite fatuous.
I note also that Scottish Enterprise has awarded a grant of £15,000 to Intertek to assist the company with development of options for continuing with business space in Aberdeen ("Fresh concern over enterprise chief's new role", The Herald, June 13). This company is already located in the city and presumably decided to do so on sound commercial business rational. It has a reported stock market worth of £4.3 billion. Was the taxpayer's money truly required to support this company?
I cannot decide whether to move house or not. If I do I will create employment opportunities for an estate agent, a solicitor, a removal company and many others. Also, relevant taxes will require to be paid. A purchaser will likewise generate work opportunities and pay substantial stamp duty. Will Scottish Enterprise fund me to engage a consultant to help me decide? To whom do I inquire?
James G. Berry,
15 Westbourne Drive,
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.