By Kristy Dorsey

Sandy Kennedy, the chief executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland since its formation in 2014, is to stand down later this year as part of a planned succession that was delayed by the Covid pandemic.

In a briefing to stakeholders, Entrepreneurial Scotland chairman Colin Robertson said the group will be recruiting from within its senior team for a replacement. The aim is to have a new chief executive in post by this summer, with Mr Kennedy to leave after a three-month handover period.

The succession plan has been under discussion since 2019, but was put on hold through the pandemic “to enable 100 per cent focus on the organisation’s future”. An independent charity, the group runs a variety of programmes to promote entrepreneurial skills across business, government and higher education.

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“Today, I am pleased to share with you that we are beginning the process of recruiting a new chief executive to lead the organisation at this next important stage,” Mr Robertson said. “While Sandy will step down as an employee on 30 September, he will remain close to the organisation thereafter, albeit in a different capacity.”

The announcement follows the launch last month of a crowdfunding campaign to support the expansion of Entrepreneurial Scotland’s Saltire Scholars internship programme, and to create a new bursary scheme to help fund the organisation’s leadership programme. Mr Robertson said the #FundTheFuture drive, which runs until April 23, was “just one example” of how the group is tackling the challenges facing the economy.

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Prior to the formation of Entrepreneurial Scotland, Mr Kennedy was chief executive of the Saltire Foundation, which now operates as the charitable arm of Entrepreneurial Scotland. A qualified solicitor, he is also currently an advisory board member with Scottish EDGE, a board member of Social Investment Scotland, and a strategic advisor to CommunityLab.

Mr Robertson said Mr Kennedy had made an “enormous contribution” to Entrepreneurial Scotland and the wider business community.

“It is thanks to his vision and passion for helping Scotland to become a beacon of entrepreneurship that we are so well-placed to respond to the enormous challenges facing us as we transform our economy and society in response to the climate emergency and industry 4.0,” he added.