VENTURE capital and fund management sector veteran Willie Watt has been named as the inaugural chairman of the taxpayer-funded Scottish National Investment Bank.

Mr Watt, a veteran of private equity house 3i and Edinburgh-based fund manager Martin Currie, will receive up to £60,000 per annum for a time commitment of up to 48 days per year. His four-year appointment started this week and runs until November 10, 2023.

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The Scottish National Investment Bank will be operational next year. It will invest in businesses and communities across Scotland, and aim to tackle “key societal challenges”. Supporting the “transition to net zero” carbon dioxide emissions has already been identified as the primary mission of the bank, which will receive £2 billion of investment from the Scottish Government over 10 years. The Scottish Government believes this will enable the bank to be a “cornerstone institution in the Scottish economy”.

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Mr Watt said: “I look forward to building a highly skilled team to help shape the Scottish National Investment Bank and realise its full potential. I believe the bank has a unique opportunity to support ambitious companies and help to create a fairer and more inclusive economy.”

Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “I know that Willie’s background in investment and wealth of experience in building organisations with the right kind of culture and values will help to shape it as a trusted and credible financial institution now and for generations to come.”

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Mr Watt was chief executive of Martin Currie between 2001 and February this year. He is currently chairman of Martin Currie, a role from which he will step down next month.

Before joining Martin Currie, he spent 16 years with investment capital group 3i, latterly as managing director of its Scottish business. Mr Watt, who is a member of Scottish Equity Partners’ advisory board, ran specialist venture, buy-out and energy investment teams at 3i. He is a board member of the National Galleries of Scotland.