THE state-backed Scottish National Investment Bank has unveiled its new chief executive – around 14 months after the abrupt departure of its inaugural boss.

Asset management veteran Al Denholm, who over 36 years has worked for major institutions in the UK, Europe, Asia, and the US, has been drafted in by the development bank to succeed Eilidh Mactaggart, who quit the role abruptly in February last year.

The appointment ends a recruitment process for one of Scotland’s highest-paid public jobs, which lasted more than one year.

Mr Denholm has been appointed on a salary of £240,000, which the bank said was in line with external benchmarking it carried out.

READ MORE: Sudden exit of boss raises questions about Scotland's investment bank

Ms Mactaggart, who been in post for less than two years, had been paid a base salary of £235,00.

The new boss was most recently chief information officer of the £100 billion Aviva Investment Solutions Business, and previously held senior leadership and investment roles with Prudential Portfolio Management Group, Blackrock, ING, Insight and Scottish Widows.

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Mr Denholm, who is originally from Edinburgh, said: “I’m incredibly excited to pick up and build upon what has been achieved so far.

“The bank is ambitious, and I want to help further establish it as one of the best impact investors in the industry.

“I believe we can generate great social and environmental impact and great returns for the people of Scotland.”

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The SNIB opened its doors in November 2020 with a £2 billion war chest from the Scottish Government to invest in Scottish companies engaged in three key “missions”: the drive to net zero, tackling “place-based” inequality, and harnessing innovation to help people flourish.

So far it has invested more than £1bn in Scottish companies by directly committing over £415m of its own capital and enabling more than £680m of capital from other lenders and investors.

However, the institution found itself under the spotlight last year after it failed to elaborate on the reasons for Ms Mactaggart's departure.

Ms Mactaggart eventually issued a statement several weeks later leaving in which she cited personal reasons. The episode sparked allegations of secrecy around the reasons for her departure.

SNIB chairman Willie Watt said today: “Al brings a wealth of experience to the role, and I am confident he can continue to develop and grow the bank on behalf of the people of Scotland. The bank has made excellent progress in a short period of time, and I’d like to thank interim CEO Sarah Roughead and her executive team for their commitment.

“I look forward to Al’s leadership and continuing investment that will have a transformative impact on the economy of Scotland.”