Scottish Enterprise has named Steve Dunlop as its new chief executive.

Mr Dunlop replaces Lena Wilson, who stood down last year. He is currently chief executive of Scottish Canals.

When he joins the government’s economy development agency on May 21 he will receive a salary of £168,000, making him one of the highest paid civil servants in Scotland.

But this is less than Ms Wilson was paid. In her last year in the post, Ms Wilson's salary was £214,000.

Welcoming the appointment, economy minister Keith Brown said: “Steve is one of the most passionate and entrepreneurial leaders we have in Scotland and I am delighted he has accepted the role to lead Scottish Enterprise.”

Mr Dunlop has been the driving force that has transformed Scotland’s inland waterways, helping to make them a catalyst for economic and social regeneration.

Scottish Canals has had a hand in the development of Helix Park and the Kelpies in Falkirk, and in the revitalisation of North Glasgow where new jobs and homes are being created.

The high-profile role was held for eight years by Ms Wilson, who was dogged by controversy over holding a non-executive directorship at Intertek, which topped up her salary by £68,000. Since her departure from Scottish Enterprise Ms Wilson has joined the board of Royal Bank of Scotland.